Mixed results for new Thurlow Nunn League sides
Despite being many people's strong favourites for the title after making some big name signings over the summer, Stowmarket Town were made to work hard for their opening day three points in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division in a 2-1 win against Thetford Town.
With last season's 56-goal record-breaking scorer Josh Mayhew away, Rick Andrews named six new signings in his starting XI in goalkeeper Callum Robinson (Brantham Athletic), Matt Paine (Billericay Town), Sam Nunn (Needham Market), Max Melanson (Thetford Town, Scott Chaplin (Felixstowe & Walton United) and Robbie Sweeney (Wroxham), with two of them going on to bag debut goals.
Thetford, on the other hand, were short of around eight regular players through a combination of holidays and injury, but handed a debut to 6ft 7in midfielder Telmo Rocha, brother of striker Valta.
A tight affair saw Thetford have the ball in the net first, only for Alex Steed's slide in at the far post after a quarter-of-an-hour to be ruled out for offside, following a great low ball across the face of goal from captain Ross Bailey.
But Stow, who enjoyed the lion's share of possession, did have their noses in front at the break courtesy of Robbie Sweeney's drilled effort from inside the penalty box in the 35th minute, after Remi Garrett had found him.
The second half saw Thetford go within a lick of paint to an equaliser with Ian Fancett's free-kick spinning up off the top of the crossbar before Paine clipped the outside of the post up the other end.
Stow's second came via a breakaway in the 64th minute which saw Sweeney pick up the ball, to calls for offside, before releasing Chaplin who cooly slotted into the bottom left-hand corner.
Thetford Town manager Danny White later said the player had been offside before checking back on his run from an active position, saying 'I've seen them given both ways'.
In front of a big crowd of 251 Stow could not put the game to bed before a mistake from Paine let in Valta Rocha who provided a calm finish into the corner to give the visitors hope with nine minutes of the 90 left.
But it was not to be for a dogged Thetford side, who saw Rocha lash a half volley wide late on in an eye-catching performance up front.
Elsewhere in the Premier, new-boys Framlingham Town will have to wait for their first points at Step 5 after suffering a 3-1 defeat at Ely City.
After a goalless first half at the Unwin Ground, the hosts broke the deadlock in the 51st minute with Deakan Napier volleying home a cross at the far post.
Ant Johnson got The Castlemen back on level terms with a header in the 69th minute, but the visitors conceded a penalty four minutes from time that Lee Reed coolly converted before the same player slid in a third just before the end.
Newmarket Town were 4-2 winners at home to Great Yarmouth Town to give Michael Shinn's side the perfect start ahead of their derby at Ely City on Tuesday (7.45pm - follow @liamapicella for live updates on Twitter).
Joe Bennett, a summer signing from Soham Town Rangers, sent the Jockeys into the interval with a 1-0 lead with a close-range finish after good work from Shaun Avis.
A header from Rhys Thorpe doubled the home side's advantage before Avis' header made it 3-0.
Yarmouth threatened a comeback with the next two goals but Newmarket worries were put to bed almost instantly with Avis finishing from a move following the re-start.
Long Melford will see the point in a 2-2 home draw with Gorleston as two dropped after leading until deep into injury time.
In a game which was overshadowed by a head injury to home striker Will Wingfield, which required an ambulance to be called, the Villagers led 1-0 at half-time via a David Lopez penalty.
Gorleston equalised before the injury stoppage before a rare Anthony Waugh goal restored Melford's lead.
But there was late drama to come in injury-time as Ross Gilfedder came up with a leveller in the 95th minute.
On Friday night, Hadleigh United, only saved from relegation last season after Haverhill Borough's ground grading issues, recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over FC Clacton at the Millfield.
It was the Essex side who had taken the lead, via new signing Karl Andrade from Halstead Town, but Hadleigh new boy Jack Severy, who joined from Debenham LC, had the Brettsiders level at the break.
A glut of goals followed for the home side after the break as Kyle Cassell bagged two either side of goals from new signings Danny Thrower and Marko Makris.
It was not such a good night for Haverhill Rovers who opened up with a 4-0 defeat at Histon.
It was a winning start for life at Step 6 for Lakenheath in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, as they overcame hosts Debenham LC 3-2.
Aaron Turner gave Heath a 1-0 lead at the break before two goals from new signing Kelvin Enaro was enough for three points, with the Hornets' strikes coming via Jack Seecombe and Brendon Heath.
There was also a debut double over at Diss Town as the Tangerines were thankful to new recruit Steve Holder (Newmarket Town) for two of their three goals in a 3-2 home win over Leiston Reserves.
The other goal came from Charlie Lambe, with the game having been locked at 1-1 on the hour mark, before the home side pulled clear.
Harleston Town began life at Step 6, following promotion from the Anglian Combination with a 3-1 defeat at home to Swaffham Town 1 - 3 Swaffham Town.
The visitors had raced into a fourth minute lead but the home support at The Rec only had to wait another four minutes to see an historic moment in their club's history as Connor Delaney curled an effort into the top corner, following a short corner routine.
A second half penalty was saved to deny Harleston taking the lead before Swaffham punished it with two goals inside the last 20 minutes.
Elsewhere in the division, AFC Sudbury Reserves drew 0-0 at newly promoted Mulbarton Wanderers while Needham Market Reserves claimed a point at Wisbech St Mary in a 2-2 draw and Cornard United lost 3-1 at Norwich CBS.
Over in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South, Halstead Town looked good for an opening day three points at 2-0 up against May & Baker, but went on to concede twice to only take a point.
Jake Brown had given the Humbugs the lead on his 100th appearance for the club, with Jordan Pavett adding a second soon after the re-start.
But Mark McLean's side began to undo all their good work after coceding a penalty which was converted before an equaliser followed for the newly-promoted side.
* For a round-up of the midweek action, reaction to the weekend and a preview to the FA Cup matches and opening of the Bostik League and Southern League season, see next week's papers.