After a six month gap and the longest pre-season in living memory, the Central Midlands League finally returned to life with 26 matches spread across the five divisions.
In the Premier North division, Clay Cross Town celebrated their return back up north by putting seven past newly-promoted Boynton Sports. Lewis Macaskill led the way with four, making him the day’s top individual scorer, the others coming from Montelle Kamara, Josh Scully and Callam Lytham. Retford United needed two late goals to squeeze past the new look Thorne Colliery 2-1. Jack Cross gave Thorne a 48th minute lead which they held until the closing stages, Retford taking the points with a Mark West penalty on 83 minutes and a Tom Brooks goal two minutes later. AFC Bentley got off to a winning start with a 2-1 defeat of Collingham. Brad Sykes put the home side ahead on 29 minutes, Joe Smith doubling the lead on 38. Jake Morrison pulled one back two minutes before the break to complete the scoring. It was the same score as Renishaw made their league debut, going down to a narrow defeat at the hands of Harworth Colliery. Renishaw took a first half lead thanks to an own goal, but second half strikes from Callum Brooks and Harvey Walker proved enough for the visitors. The other two matches finished all square. AFC Phoenix and Newark Town drew 2-2 at Brinsworth. Phoenix went ahead on 24 minutes from an Adam Houghton free kick, Mak Faflik replying with another free kick in the 39th minute. Marlon Grundy put Newark in front a minute after the break, Houghton getting his second with a 53rd minute penalty. St Joseph’s Rockware shared the points with Sutton Rovers in another 2-2 draw. The home side went into an early lead, Alex Boyd netting in the 7th minute, Ben Brown adding number two with18 minutes gone. Sutton recovered, Danny Parkes reducing the arrears on 32 minutes before Ryan Walker secured a point in the 73rd minute.
Rowsley 86 are the first day leaders of the Premier South division following a 5-0 win over South Normanton Athletic, playing their first game in the league since 2014. Noah Evans scored twice with Aaron O’Neill, Declan Gregory and Tim Baker also on target. Pinxton edged a seven goal thriller at Ashland Rovers thanks to a last minute winner from Daniel Minto. Three times the Derbyshire side went ahead, Ashland fighting back each time. Pinxton’s other scorers were Rob Fretwell, Jay Cooper, and Joe Fox with Ashland’s goals coming from Billy Bradley, Liam Black and Robbie Savage. Another match where the goals flowed was at Church Lane where Linby Colliery and Mickleover Reserves fought out a 4-4 draw. Mickleover led at the interval with goals from Tom Eccleshall and Surf Tefera, Brad Newby replying for Linby. Tefera increase the lead for the visitors before a double from James Hallam levelled the scores. Tefera’s hat-trick goal looked to be the decider, before Danny Tring’s last minute equaliser for Linby. Mansfield Hosiery Mills made a winning start with a 2-0 win against Holbrook Sports, a Luke Beastall penalty and a late Thomas Hunt goal taking the points. Underwood Villa also started the season with a victory, Max Jones and Troy Carty the scorers as they saw off Sherwood Colliery Reserves 2-0. Rob Bulmer double and one for Chris Smith proved enough to give Hilton Harriers a 3-2 win over Nottingham FC who replied through Sanousi Ali Ibrahim and Calrick Dunkley. Darren Cartwright and Mani Freeman were Holbrook St Michaels’ matchwinners in their two goal win over Arnold Town while a single goal from Blidworth Welfare’s Paul Revuelta was enough togive his side a winning start against Teversal Reserves.
The new look Division One, now in three divisions, saw several newcomers take the field. The North division got underway with three matches, all of which featured new teams. Scunthorpe based 780 JLC opened against Glapwell, going down by two goals to one, Solly Limb and Joel Searson the scorers for the visitors with Oliver Bradbury recording the only goal for the hosts. Doncaster side Bessacarr were on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline against Thorne Colliery’s Development team. Liam Cooper and Jonathan Mirfin were the scorers for Bessacarr with Lewis Dale replying for Thorne. Ollerton Town Reserves had a baptism of fire, as they were on the wrong end of an 8-2 defeat at Harworth Colliery Reserves. Tom Collier led the way for Harworth with a hat trick, Marley Alder scored twice and there were also goals for Michael Wibberley, Ben Temporal and Ben Bradley. Tyrone Macaskill and Jamie Tryner got consolation goals for the visitors.
In the Central division Bakewell Town hammered nine past Ashland Rovers Development without reply. 17 year old Miles Grigoriu got a hat trick, Jonathan Hutchinson added a double with Rob Littlewood, Aaron Maunde, Matt Kelcey and birthday boy Stu Baker getting one apiece. Kilburn registered a win in their first game, returning from South Normanton with a 4-0 win with Stuart O’Toole (2), Lee Davey and Jordan Mighty the scorers. Woodhouse Colts won 5-2 at Pinxton Reserves thanks to Ryan Clarke who scored twice, Kyle Chadburn, Baillie Hajman and Charlie Simpkins. William Burton got both goals for Pinxton. Wirksworth Ivanhoe also hit five as they won 5-1 at Holbrook Sports Reserves. Jack Higton grabbed a hat trick, Matt Leask and Ryan Marchington also on target, Holbrook’s scorer was Jason Ambrose-Jones. Two first half strikes from Dec Jenkins and Toby Howard gave Cromford & Wirksworth Town an opening day win against Holbrook St Michaels Development.
Melbourne Dynamo’s move from the Midland Regional Alliance paid instant dividends as they overwhelmed Heanor Town Reserves 9-1 at Cockshut Lane. Jack Goodband’s hat trick was backed up with goals from Jack Bodill. Jake Peverley, Masen Robinson and James Smith with Heanor contributing to their downfall with two own goals, their reply coming from Reece Faulkner. Selston Reserves beat their counterparts at Clifton All Whites 2-1 with goals from Jake wright and Gareth Mason, Sam Rothwell with Clifton’s goal. James Gale’ s treble helped Long Eaton Community recover from 3-1 down to win 4-3 at Ripley Town. Matthew Langton got Long Eaton’s other goal with Danny O’Donnell, Michael Dunne, and Joe Crossley with Ripley’s goals. Finally PMG Academy and Linby Colliery Reserves drew 3-3, with Daniel Adiefeh (2) and Musa Jawara scoring for PMG and Travis Shooter getting two and Tom Coupe one for Linby.