Captain’s hat-trick helps Budleigh AFC net opening day win over Chudleigh Athletic

Budleigh Salterton Football Club first-team captain Simon Withers scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 Scott Richards Solictors Devon League North and East win over Chudleigh Athletic, writes Alan Beer.

The Robins had gone into their opening game at Greenway Lane after a good pre-season in which they had drawn with Kingsteignton Athletic and beaten Exmouth Spartans.

All teams aspire to ‘hit the ground running’ at the start of a new campaign, but surely even the most ardent of Budleigh supporters would have been able to imagine their side being two goals up three minutes into the new campaign.

Chudleigh kicked off and played the ball into the Budleigh half where it eventually landed at the feet of Jack England.

The Robins’ glovesman then put his foot through the ball for it to sail over the last defender for Simon Withers to run onto and tuck it beyond the Chudleigh goalkeeper.

Just two minutes later and Withers had his second. The Budleigh AFC club captain, seeing the goalkeeper off his line, sent the sweetest of shots up and over him and into the net.

It was 3-0 on 20 minutes with a fine left-wing raid led by Ryan Daffin ending with him crossing for Will White to turn the ball home.

Just past the half-hour, Chudleigh got a goal back when, from a corner, the ball fell invitingly for Ben Stevenson who drilled the ball through a crowd of legs and into the net.

Four minutes into the second half, England made a fine save to deny Dillon Wilson and a minute later, at the other end of the pitch, after good approach play from Jacob Tinsley, Jake Chudley saw his shot deflected wide of the mark by a defender’s leg.

Withers was a whisker away from a hat-trick in the 55th minute when his 25-yard free-kick cannoned back off the crossbar.

Just a minute later the frame of the goal again came to the aid of the visitors as Will White saw his effort turned onto the post by a fully stretched Tobias Harvey in the Chudleigh goal.

Ten minutes from time Withers bagged his third to complete an opening day hat-trick and seal a terrific 4-1 win.

Budleigh are back in action on Wednesday (September 9) with a home game against University that kicks-off at 7.30pm.

On Saturday (September 12), the Robins make the short trip to Clyst Valley (3pm).

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