Tom Richardson and Louie Johnson score hat-tricks as Bishop's Stortford begin 2020-21 pre-season campaign with 10-1 win over Enfield
Bishop's Storford began pre-season with a 10-1 thrashing of tenants Enfield at the ProKit UK Stadium on Saturday.
After last season was curtailed and expunged due to the pandemic, the Blues had been waiting 151 days to return to action.
And hat-tricks from new signing Tom Richardson and Louie Johnson either side of half time ensured they began their behind-closed-doors preparations for the 2020-21 campaign with a bang.
Former Stortford man Olly Miles scored the consolation goal for Enfield, who also included ex-Blues Jamie Cureton, Billy Mycroft-Edwards and Alfie Mason.
Joe Boachie had the first effort for the hosts with a shot from outside of the box that was blocked well by a defender, before Richardson ran in behind the defence and was denied by onrushing goalkeeper Jack Wilmott.
It didn't take long for the ex-East Thurrock United striker to beat Wilmott, however, as he fired low across the goal after Callum Ibe had worked it well down the right wing and cut the ball back.
Aaron Greene made a similar run from the next attack, this time from the left, beating his full-back and feeding Richardson who tapped home from close range. Richardson completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Greene had been fouled
Cureton, who moved from Hornchurch to Enfield in the off-season, had a chance to reduce the deficit when he rounded Jack Giddens, but Ryan Henshaw was backing up well and cleared off the line.
Stortford's fourth goal came just before the cooling break when Greene brought the ball down well from a right-wing cross and some quick feet allowed him to beat his man and fire home.
Henshaw had the ball in the net from a free kick, but the goal was disallowed for a foul while jumping for the ball. Miles then pulled one back for the visitors before half time with a low finish from a tight angle.
After a mass change in personnel at half time, Johnson stung the palms of Wilmott with a powerful strike from outside the box and Ross Debrick's header was off target from Darren Foxley's corner.
Foxley, who had a previous spell with the Blues before playing for St Albans City and East Thurrock, had a sight of goal from a free kick but he couldn't find the target.
Frankie Merrifield, who played mostly in midfield during his previous spell with the club before scoring 17 goals in a more advanced role at East Thurrock last season, got on the score sheet thanks to some neat footwork inside the box having been found by Johnson.
Johnson was also involved in the next Stortford goal as his low cross from the byline wasn't cleared in a defensive mix-up, allowing Foxley to prod home.
Johnson then found the back of the net himself with a superb curling effort before adding his second just minutes later, bringing the ball down on his chest and firing home on the half-volley.
Foxley turned provider for the next goal, with great centre-forward movement from Merrifield getting him in front of the defender at the near post to apply the finishing touch to the cross. Coach Luke Callander was required to make up the numbers when one of the trialists pulled up injured and couldn't carry on, and the man who scored the Blues' first competitive goal of last season found Foxley with an inch-perfect through ball who in turn unselfishly picked out Johnson at the far post for him to complete his hat-trick and round off a performance the fans would have loved to witness.
Blues: Giddens, Trialist, Warman, Henshaw, Marlow, Richardson, Greene, Baker, Boachie, Mvemba, Ibe. Substitutes: Foxley, Debrick, Merrifield, Robbins, Haines, Trialist, Trialist, Callander, Trialist, Johnson, Smith, Thomas.
Enfield: Wilmott, Johnson, Taylor, Johnston, Cousins, Mycroft-Edwards, Vukaj, Cureton, Miles, Mason, Bradbury. Substitutes: Pattison, Merrells, Ledwidth, Chambers, Sykes.