Defeat for Braintree but Sudbury win
BRAINTREE Town suffered their first defeat of the new Blue Square South season on Saturday while there were draws for both Chelmsford City and Heybrdige Swifts in the Ryman League Premier Division.
BRAINTREE Town suffered their first defeat of the new Blue Square South season on Saturday while there were draws for both Chelmsford City and Heybrdige Swifts in the Ryman League Premier Division. Sudbury were the only winners on the opening day in Division One North, with Bury Town and Maldon Town drawing and Witham Town and Wivenhoe Town both tasting defeat.
BLUE SQUARE SOUTH
Braintree Town 0 Eastleigh 2
BRAINTREE suffered their first defeat of the new season against Eastleigh on Saturday.
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Eastleigh enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and took a deserved lead after 20 minutes, Danny Smith firing in a great shot from wide on the right.
The visitors extended their lead after 29 minutes, Steve Watts scoring from a free kick.
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Braintree looked more lively in the second half but couldn't break down a solid Eastleigh defence.
RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Margate 1 Chelmsford City 1
CHELMSFORD City snatched a point from a testing opening-day fixture at Margate thanks to a late leveller from young substitute Ricky Holmes.
Having gone a goal down midway through the half due to defender Luke Coleman's debut strike, manager Jeff King introduced the tricky forward to the match and was thrilled when it paid off.
Margate started brightly and also finished the first half strongly. Immediately after the resumption the home team's Jimmy Jackson thumped a post with a drive that bounced agonisingly across the face of goal.
Lee Protheroe's free-kick struck the crossbar for Chelmsford, before the hosts' Robin Trott had his nodded effort cleared off the line.
Margate took a deserved lead after 68 minutes when James Haworth appeared to be pulled down for a possible penalty but, in the resulting confusion, defender Luke Coleman found the net.
Poor defending allowed the Essex side to level the scores with three minutes left, when the ball fell kindly for Holmes who drilled home low and hard from the edge of the area.
Meanwhile Glenn Pennyfather has promised no wholesale changes will be made to the starting line-up as City encounter their first home league game of the season against Boreham Wood tonight, kick-off 7.45pm at Melbourne.
Heybridge Swifts 0 Hendon 0
A MUCH-CHANGED Heybridge Swifts side were left disappointed with a point after they missed a penalty and had a goal controversially disallowed.
Swifts enjoyed the majority of possession in a first half which saw Hendon's Ben Hudell hit an upright and Heybridge's Matthew Batt's free-kick deflected just wide.
After the break Heybridge again looked the more likely to score but when a super header from Sean Marks flew into the net a controversial linesman's flag interrupted the celebrations.
Heybridge substitutes Daniel Tenkerong and Danny Gabriel then combined well for Gabriel to surge into the penalty area only to be brought down for a penalty kick, but it wasn't to be Heybridge's day as Hendon custodian Richard Wilmot dived low to his left to save Craig Hughes' spot-kick.
RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH
Witham Town 2 Enfield Town 4
WITHAM Town lost this season opener at the Spicer MaColl Stadium as the game finished with 19 players on the pitch.
The lively hosts took the lead after just five minutes when David Hawes ran through and was brought down in the box. Kevin Hawes stepped up and slotted the penalty home.
It wasn't long before Enfield were level though as a neat passing move saw Kevin Stephens waltz through the Witham defence and fire past Daley to equalise.
Enfield then took the lead when Brian Hammett followed up a parried shot to put the visitors ahead.
Witham got back on level terms after 23 minutes when Darren Hawes floated a ball over the Enfield defence and Jamie Ricks nipped in behind them to slot the ball past John.
After a spell of home pressure once again, the ball found its way up to the Witham end and from an Enfield corner Simon Tickner headed home another soft goal.
With half-time approaching the referee sent off Enfield's Kevin Stephens for something he had said.
Witham were on top at the start of the second half but could not make their pressure count and, against the run of play, Brian Hammett cut in from the left to loop in his side's fourth.
Witham's challenge was finished off when both Kevin and David Hawes said something to the referee and both were sent off.
Waltham Abbey 2 Wivenhoe Town 0
A NEW-LOOK Wivenhoe Town side went down by two goals to Waltham Abbey.
After a promising start by the visitors, Dragons' debutant keeper Dean Neil had to produce three fine saves to keep his side on level terms.
In the 35th minute Abbey finally took the lead when the visitors failed to clear a cross, Neil was unable to hold a strong shot and Holland was on hand to slot the rebound home.
The second period saw an improvement from the visitors and there were several promising moments with Proske featuring in most of them.
Wivenhoe were rocked in the 80th minute though when they were caught on the break and James Elmes sealed the points with an angled shot.
AFC Sudbury 3 Aveley 0
THREE goals in a 10-minute second- half spell gave AFC Sudbury a winning start to their season.
Despite dominating the first half Sudbury were denied by a string of excellent saves by Aveley keeper Worster.
The hosts deservedly went ahead after 62 minutes when Rowe sent over the perfect cross from the by-line for Bacon to head past Worster at the far post.
Three minutes later Tracey increased the lead with a powerful header from Boardley's inch-perfect free kick and the goal tally was made complete from another Boardley free-kick, Worster fumbled the ball to Simon Head who scored from close range.
Dartford Town 2 Maldon Town 2
ROSS Parmenter rescued a point for Maldon at the new Community Stadium against the 10 men of Dartford.
Maldon took the lead in the ninth minute when Ollie Berquez lobbed the keeper from the edge of the area, but Dartford went into the interval level courtesy of a 20th-minute Jay May goal.
Brendan Cass broke away to put Dartford ahead after 65 minutes and soon Alex O'Brien was dismissed for a head butt. Maldon took advantage of their greater numbers when Parmenter scored in a goalmouth melee.
Wingate & Finchley 1 Bury Town 1
BURY came away from their first match of the season with a hard-fought point after playing for more than an hour with 10 men.
Already weakened by injuries and unavailability, the Suffolk side found themselves a goal down after only five minutes when Daniel Clarke headed home unmarked.
Bury fought back strongly and equalised after 12 minutes when Steve Bugg's low cross was converted at the far post by Scott Chaplin.
Bury were reduced to 10 men after 27 minutes when Dean Greygoose was alleged to have handled the ball outside the area and was duly showed a red card. His son Sean took over in goal and the unfortunate Scott Chaplin was sacrificed and the Bury defence bravely held firm.