The new season in the Central Midlands got underway with two matches under the lights on Friday night. Retford United, last season’s runners up in the Premier North division, began their bid to go one better with a 2-0 win over newly promoted Bakewell Town. In front of a crowd of 205, Retford went ahead on 32 minutes through Mason Barlow, but the visitors pushed them all the way, the decisive goal not coming until the final minute when Mark West struck Retford’s second. Meanwhile in the Premier South division Mickleover Reserves beat a vastly improved Mansfield Hosiery Mills 2-1 at the Fieldings in a tight game. Ben Horleston gave Mickleover a 6th minute lead before the Millers levelled through Elliot Nunn five minutes into the second half before a 74th minute penalty by George Atwal won it for the visitors.
One of last season’s title contenders in the Black Dragon North division hit the ground running, Thorne Colliery beating Hatfield Town 5-1. Jimmy Walker opened their account on 14 minutes , Morgan Brown adding a second two minutes later, Shay Evans Booth and Callum Nicell put the match beyond the visitors who pulled a goal back through Bartek Grzywa, Harry Brown rounding off Thorne’s win in the last minute. Dearne & District are a team to watch out for, they put six past SJR Worksop without reply. Carlton Carty scored two with Mark Guest, Enzo Guarini, Tom Davage and Jack Arundel also finding the net. Two goals for Aaron Moxam and one from George Hobson made it a winning start for Dinnington Town at Collingham. Harworth Colliery were 4-0 winners at Brinsworth against AFC Phoenix. Bayley Lowe struck in the 16th and 22nd minutes to set the visitors on the way, the other goals coming in the second half from Rio Allen on 75 minutes and Harry Dunbar five minutes later. Glapwell beat AFC Bentley 4-1 at Hall Corner with the reliable Ben Copestake opening the scoring in the 16th minute. Sam Brooks then hit two on his debut before Brad Sykes got one back for Bentley on 82 minutes, Charlie Reeves restoring Glapwell’s three goal lead four minutes from time. Yorkshire Main eased themselves back into the CML, a single goal from Ben Clark giving them all three points at Kiveton Miners Welfare.
In the Black Dragon South Division, Clay Cross got off to a good start in their new surroundings as they travelled to Ashland Rovers and returned home with a 4-0 win thanks to two Callam Lytham goals and one each from Josh Scully and Liam Riley. Nottingham and Cromford and Wirksworth Town served up a feast of goals with the match ending 4-4. Christopher Okoye put the home side ahead in the 16th minute, Cromford equalising on the half hour through Scott Taylor. Okoye got his second in the 38th minute before two goals in two minutes from Graham Whysall turned the game around for the visitors. Okoye completed his hat trick to level the scores on the hour but Cromford were back in front five minutes later, Dec Jenkins with the goal. Okoye was not to be outdone and rescued a point, taking his tally to four with an 86th minute penalty. Newly promoted Derby Singh Brothers were also among the goals as they continued last season’s form, beating South Normanton 4-2. Scorers for Singh Brothers were Tyler Johal, Tirhys Davidson, Daniel James and Khaleeq Shafique with Henry Brooks and Luke Smithson. The other two matches ended goalless, a rare event in the CML. Hard fought games between Linby Colliery and Wirksworth Ivanhoe and Pinxton and Arnold Town saw the sides share the points.
Two of the new sides in action in the Macron Store Nottingham
Division One North both had successful starts. Worksop Town won 2-0 at Crowle , Ali Mofrad and Toby Gregory the scorers while Doncaster Elite were 2-1 winners against Bottesford Town. Travis Gordon and Naz Demissie’s goals proved decisive, Rio Jacomb with one for the visitors. A Jordan Wilkinson hat trick gave Bessacarr a 3-0 win at Hatfield Town, while the Bassetlaw derby ended 6-1 in favour of Retford FC as they took on Harworth Colliery. Retford led 2-1 at the break Arron Blakey opening the scoring after 36 minutes and Liam Cross on the stroke of half time, Michael Wibberley scoring for Harworth. The hosts ran away with it in the second half, Billy Stafford’s double being added to by Sam Clarke and Ellis Nicholson.
Three matches only in Division One East with Long Bennington having a perfect baptism as they beat Teversal Reserves 6-2. Two goals in the first 20 minutes from Max Hardy followed by one from Owen Rowley after half an hour left the newcomers well placed and although Craig Newton got one back from the penalty spot straight after the break , two goals from Leo Kovac and another for Jacob Baker made up the half dozen with Cameron Pinnick getting a second for Tevie a couple of minutes from time. Another new club, AFC Normanton, also had an opening day success, beating Woodhouse Colts 3-1. Woodhouse scored first through Kirtis Chadburn’s 29th minute goal but the home side were in front by half time, Jak Lightly and Todd Warner scoring in a four minute spell, Brandon Hunt ensuring the win with an 87th minute penalty. Blidworth Welfare beat neighbours Clipstone 2-0, with early goals from Andrew Tsolakis on six minutes and Toby Birch after 15.
In Division One West the Holbrook derby went the way of the Angels who were 2-1 winners against St Michaels Reserves. Ewan Barnes and Jay Williams scoring for the home side and Morgan Holloway for St Michaels. Rowsley 86 travelled to South Normanton, returning 3-0 winners. Two goals in the first 17 minutes from Logan Toplis and Noah Evans set them up, Toplis getting his second on 51 minutes. Kilburn and Mayfield drew 1-1, Baz Malloy’s goal for Kilburn wiped out by Mayfield’s Oscar Robinson. Castle Donington edged out Belper United 3-2, their goalscorers were Scott Bucknall, Kieron Bucknall and Isaac Nkrumah, Belper’s reply coming from Brad Sadler and Lucas Jackson.