Full non-league round-up: opening day action from the Southern League and Isthmian League
- Credit: Archant
The Isthmian League and Southern League kicked off their new seasons this afternoon, with Suffolk’s leading clubs Leiston, Needham Market, Lowestoft, Bury, Sudbury and Felixstowe & Walton United all in action.
FELIXSTOWE & WALTON UNITED began their Isthmian League North campaign with a goalless draw away at Great Wakering Rovers in South Essex this afternoon.
Chances were at a premium during a sun-kissed but windswept first half, although the Seasiders did come close to breaking the deadlock inside the first minute when a looping header by Miles Powell was cleared off the goal-line.
Seasiders keeper Callum Robinson safely smothered a 12th minute shot by Martin Tuohy down at his near post, as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy.
Felixstowe’s other best two first-half opportunities came with 60 seconds of each other.
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Good work by teenager Tyger Smalls, down the left flank, teed up Miles Powell in a central position in front of goal, but he scuffed his shot straight at James Scammell.
Shortly afterwards, Jamal Wiggins scooped over the bar from close range.
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A defensive lapse almost cost the visitors dear in the 55th minute, but Robinson came to the rescue with a smart low save from Tuohy’s goalbound snap shot.
At the other end, Powell failed to get enough power into a long-range shot, with Scammell easily saving in the 69th minute, while Ollie Canfer was only a whisker away from diverting home a free-kick by substitute Henry Barley from point blank range.
Rovers spurned the best chance of the afternoon, on 80 minutes. Jake Gordon burst beyond the Seasiders defence, but ballooned his shot over the bar with just keeper Robinson to beat.
Felixstowe stepped up a gear late on and peppered the target, Canfer heading straight at Scammell from close-in after substitute Nick Ingram had nodded on a corner.
Centre-half Sam Nunn could also only direct a header straight at keeper Scammell, in the 88th minute, so Felixstowe had to make do with a 0-0 draw and a battling point.
GREAT WAKERING ROVERS: Scammell, Hay, Pitty (sub Stephenson, 62), Cox, Gnandi, Martin, Gordon, Jaggs (sub Apenteng, 75), Tuohy (sub Odukoya, 79), Wiggins, Sotoyinbo. Unused subs: Hernandez, Hurford.
FELIXSTOWE & WALTON: Robinson, Bennett, Jopling, Wiggins, Kerridge, Nunn, Smalls (sub Howell, 81), Matthews, Canfer, Powell (sub Ingram, 75), Schaar (sub Barley, 62). Unused subs: Henry, Palmer.
Elsewhere, AFC SUDBURY celebrated a 2-1 win at home to Coggeshall Town in the Isthmian League North.
It was an entertaining match featuring a well-drilled AFC Sudbury. who scored early with a brilliant volley by Kane Munday on eight minutes.
Mathew Price had earlier struck the post for Coggeshall, while for Sudbury both Billy Holland and Joe Whight hit the woodwork.
Sudbury added to their lead after the break when Joe Grimwood headed home in the 47th minute.
Nnamdi Nwachhuku gave Coggeshall hope by halving the deficit in the 69th minute, but the home side showed late resistance to protect the three points.
AFC SUDBURY: Walker, Girling, Munday, Holland, Grimwood, Whight, Hunter (sub O’Malley, 90), Mayhew, Temple (sub Harris, 79), Maycock, Skubich (sub Marks, 68). Unused subs: Cooke, Holland.
Also in the Isthmian League North, BURY TOWN started off their league campaign with an impressive win on the road, winning 1-0 at Basildon United.
Cruise Nyadzayo broke ther deadlock for the Blues in the 26th minute, while Basildon were reduced to 10 men just before the break with Jamie Marsh sent off on 44 minutes for a quickfire second bookable offence.
BURY TOWN: Rose, Hood, Gardner, Edwards, Altintop, Hastings, Chambers-Shaw, Snaith (sub Jolland, 87, sub Cook, 90), Hughes, Ramadan, Nyadzayo (sub Maughn, 55). Unused subs: Hammett, Browne.
In the Southern League Premier Central, NEEDHAM MARKET shared a 1-1 draw with hosts Redditch United.
A smart save by the home keeper Boucher denied Josh Pollard, whose header was kept out on nine minutes, but it was Redditch who took the lead through an unmarked Clement, who swept home from 10 yards out on 17 minutes.
Ben Fowkes nearly netted a quick equaliser, only for the keeper the save from six yards out, while Billy Hunt’s half-volley was also parried midway through the first half.
However, Hunt did bag the equaliser with a stunning effort from 25 yards out in the 38th minute, which gave keeper Boucher little chance.
Needham had chances to win it in the second half. Fowkes, who scored a hat-trick in midweek against Stowmarket Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup, went close on several occasions, as did Byron Lawrence and Callum Page.
NEEDHAM: Garnham, Dye, Sturgess, Lawrence, Pollard, Heath, Ingram, Collard, Hunt (sub Fitzgerald, 87), Page (sub Mills, 75), Fowkes. Unused subs: Santa, Munson.
LEISTON conceded a later goal to lose 1-0 at home to Rushall Olympic in a Southern League Premier Central clash at Victory Road.
The winner arrived in the 79th minute. A superb cross from the byline in open play from Riccardo Calder enabled Sam Whittall to plant a header firmly into the back of the net.
But in the same division there was a great start to the season for LOWESTOFT TOWN, who won 2-1 away at Barwell.
Jacek Zielonka converted two penalties to win it for the Trawlerboys.
Hickey put Barwell ahead from the penalty spot on the half-hour, but Zielonka equalised with a penalty in first-half stoppage time and then bagged the winner from the spot on 79 minutes.
Meanwhile, several Suffolk sides from the Thurlow Nunn League were in action in the FA Vase this afternoon.
IPSWICH WANDERERS caught the eye with a fanatstic 5-3 home victory over Suffolk rivals BRANTHAM ATHLETIC.
Brantham scored two early goals, through Jack Madley’s penalty and then Marshall, before Wanderers responded with three unanswered goals, all of them scored by Matt Blake, to lead 3-2 at half-time.
Blake’s second goal was from Thrower’s good pass, while the hat-trick goal came from the penalty spot after he had been brought down in the box.
A free-kick by Brothers made it 3-3, but Connor Field restored Wanderers’ advantage before Blake netted his fourth and the hosts’ fifth. Craig Brand had earlier saved a first-half penalty.
HADLEIGH UNTIED went down 2-0 at Hadley, but MILDENHALL TOWN were 2-0 winners away at Huntingdon Town.
LONG MELFORD lost a high-scoring encounter at Ilford, going down 5-3. A brace from Dion Lewis-Kirwen, plus goals from Bailey Hossack, Adelanyi and Dimi Christou secured a comfortable win for Ilford.
Melford had scored first, through an own goal, and it was 1-1 at half-time. Michaels netted the visitors’ third.
WHITTON UNITED drew 3-3 away at Saffron Walden Town, but then won a penalty shoot-out 4-1 to progress into the next round.
Three times Whitton rallied from a goal down. Saffron Walden wwntr ahead in the 14th minute, but Tom Bradlaugh equalised just before half-time.
Reece Dobson hit the target to make it 2-2 in the 75th minute, and George Day bagged the third equaliser of the afternoon in the 90th minute. Whitton then won the penalty shoot-out 4-1.
NEWMARKET TOWN were beaten 2-0 away at Sheringham.
In the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, KIRKLEY & PAKEFIELD continued their good start to the season with a 2-0 away win at Swaffham Town to make it four wins on the spin. Cameron Russell and Ben George were the marksmen.
There was also a 2-0 win on the road for STOWMARKET TOWN, at Thetford Town. Stow scored twice early on in the second half, through an own goal and then Jack Ainsley, to make it 34 league games unbeaten for Rick Andrews’ men.
WOODBRIDGE TOWN were beaten 4-3 at HAVERHILL ROVERS, surrendering a 3-0 lead into the bargain.
Goals from Kyron Andrews, Andrew Crowe and Mark Ray put the Woodpeckers in complete control, but Rovers, from looking dead and buried with a quarter of the game to go, then scored four goals to snatch all three points.
In the weekly predictions battle, between pundits and colleagues MIKE BACON and CARL MARSTON, it was a first victory of the season for Mike Bacon on the third weekend of the campaign.
Carl Marston had led 17-13 after the first two weekends, but the pendulum has swung in the other direction.
Helped by predicting the correct scoreline of the game (for three points) between Redditch and Needham Market (1-1), Mike also got the correct result (for one point) of 10 of the other 17 fixtures chosen for a grand total of 13 points.
Carl could only muster a total of 11 points, despite calling the correct scorelines in two matches, between Thetford and Stowmarket (0-2), plus Barwell v Lowestoft Town (1-2). But he only got five other results right.
A recount will no doubt take place over the coming days, but unofficially Mike won the most recent weekend by 13-11, to reduce Carl’s overall lead to 28-26.
So it’s all to play going into week four.