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Herne Bay manager Ben Smith delighted to have Tom Carlton back at the club

Tom Carlton is back with Herne Bay and boss Ben Smith was thrilled to have seen off higher-ranked teams to capture his signature.

Bay were forced to let Carlton go during their recent financial troubles but have managed to re-sign the midfielder from Hythe Town for an undisclosed fee.

Carlton went straight into the Bay team for their Isthmian League match against Ashford United on Saturday, helping the side to create plenty of chances that on another day would have clinched a win.

Herne Bay's Tom Carlton
Herne Bay's Tom Carlton

Bay drew the South East division tussle 2-2.

Speaking about his latest capture, Smith said: “There was a lot of interest in him from teams above. He fits the mould of what we are looking for.

“Tom for me is a box to box midfielder and he has real quality on the ball. He is technically very good and he will help us scoring goals.

“Very rarely do we see him waste the ball. He has quality in the final third and he is exactly what we need in tight games. We’re delighted to have him.”

Ashford cancelled out first half goals from Tushaun-Tyreese Walters and Zak Ansah at the weekend but were indebted to their keeper Sam Mott to ensuring the game stayed level.

Smith said: “We’ve been on a long run of Saturday-Tuesday games and I think that took its toll late on. I was gutted that we didn’t win because we had chances and a lot of them.

“I was pleased that we showed that we can challenge with the better side in this league.”

Walters was sent off for a late challenge having already been cautioned for kicking the ball away.

It comes off the back of a dismissal for Bradley Stevenson, as frustration got the better of him last weekend.

Smith accepts his youngsters will make mistakes and hopes they learn from them.

He said: “TT got booked for kicking the ball away, just seconds after the whistle. The referee wasn’t going to give it but listened to his linesman. We couldn’t argue with the second yellow card.”

Smith was pleased to see Stevenson bounce back with a goal and a great performance in their 4-1 midweek win over Whitstable Town in the Velocity Trophy.

Smith said: “Brad wears his emotions on his sleeve and that is something he has to learn from. I said (last) Tuesday that he owed us a performance.

“He scored a fantastic goal and showed why he should be around a league football club. It’s a learning curve for these players.”

Bay completed their Velocity Trophy commitments with 1-0 defeat at Ramsgate on Tuesday night.

They are without a game on Saturday and Smith has mixed emotions about it.

While some of his players will welcome a rest, the manager had been looking forward to facing second from top Hastings United, who are instead in FA Trophy action.

Smith said: “The long run of games has taken its toll on the squad but I was looking forward to being tested.

“It could have been a good barometer of how far we have come or not.”

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