A star is born as hammett shines

CELEBRATION TIME: Bradley Barber is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring one of two goals at Ram Meadow
CELEBRATION TIME: Bradley Barber is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring one of two goals at Ram Meadow
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FA TROPHY FIRST

QUALIFYING ROUND

Bury Town 2 Kings Langley 0

Bradley Barber scored twice in the second half to continue his hot season in front of goal and cap a dream Bury debut for teenager Daniel Hammett.

Barber drilled in his 11th goal since his summer step up from lower league Felixstowe & Walton United in the 57th minute, before his half-volley, following a free-kick, sealed his side’s progress in non-League’s biggest cup competition in the 83rd minute.

With a bit of an injury and availability crisis going into the match — Ollie Canfer, Ollie Hughes and Justin Miller among those not available — Bury Town manager Ben Chenery registered Team Bury attacking midfielder Hammett, not 18 until February, to come in for his first senior appearance.

And it was to be a move that paid off, with the Suffolk Sports Academy second year student, based at West Suffolk College with teacher Chenery, having the home crowd sounding their appreciation for his exciting direct running when he was substituted towards the end of the game.

“It was a bit crazy,” he said. “I got a text from a team-mate from the reserves, Matty Collins, who was also on the bench today, saying Chenners wanted my number, so then I knew it was going to be my time.

“I have been waiting to play for the first-team for ages and today couldn’t have gone any better.

“Obviously I was very nervous, which is how I get before I play anyway, but I think my first touch was good in the game and it set the tone for my first half and I played well.

“It was a dream debut and was everything I would have wished for before today.

“Second half was more physical and I didn’t get on the ball as much and I tired and my intensity dropped but I still enjoyed it and we got two goals in the second half.”

He added: “I will never forget the round of applause I got when I came off.”

The former King Edward VI School pupil took his big chance with both hands, with one first half mazy run down the left channel seeing him cut in and skip past three players before slipping a clever ball into Barber, whose weak shot was comfortably saved.

Before that, the pocket sized teenage talent had flashed a shot wide of Ant Ladyman’s far post, with the Southern Football League Division One Central outfit, who play at the same level as Bury after their back-to-back promotions, finding themselves second best in the opening stages.

Hammett had his third shot at goal, sending his strike into the goalkeeper’s arms, before Kings registered their first on target after an early chance had been lashed over. Striker Michael Weiss’ effort was never troubling Blues custodian Neil O’Sullivan though.

Bury threatened to take the lead in a largely forgettable first half, Hammett’s participation aside, when Barber’s whipped in free-kick found its way to Noel Aitkens, but he hooked it round the far post.

Kings Langely almost stole their way into a half-time lead when Weiss broke through only for O’Sullivan to fly off his line and make a good block.

It was the visitors who started the second period the brightest with their captain Stuart Deaton heading over while Aitkens had to eventually come to the rescue to dispossess Ryan Plowright, who had been allowed to run from halfway to the 18 yard box.

But the Blues were celebrating the opening goal shortly before the hour mark, a neat move down the right seeing Tevan Allen play Noel Aitkens through and his smart pull-back found Barber on the edge of the area who arrowed it into the top right-hand corner.

Both sides made changes with Bury bringing on 16-year-old Cameron Nicholls, like Hammatt, for his senior bow.

Aitkens should have done better with a glancing header while there were half-hearted appeals from the visitors for a penalty as Weiss stumbled in the box hen trying to convert a cross with Darcy De’ath behind him, though it looked like Football League assistant and National League referee Mike George had got the decision right.

At the other end, Nicholls robbed a defender in the 18-yard box only to see him block his shot, while O’Sullivan had to come to his side’s aid twice as the clock ticked towards the final 10 minutes, making a routine low save from Dean Hitchcock and then saving at the feet of sub Tom Carter.

But Barber made the tie safe for the hosts with eight minutes of normal time remaining when he steered his half-volley beyond Ladyman after his own headed flick-on had only been cleared back to him, following De’ath’s throw.

After the assistant referee’s mistake in signalling five minutes instead of four was rectified, the Blues were able to celebrate their place in the next round, which saw them drawn at home to Herne Bay, who play at the same level, on November 14 (3pm).

Bury: O’Sullivan 7, Allen 6, Paterson 6, Kennedy 7, De’ath 6, Weavers (c) 7, Garrett 5 (Nurse 46 6), Aitkens 7, Reed 6, Nicholls 63) 6, BARBER 8, Hammett 7 (Collins 87, 6 ). Att: 272