Swindon Spitfires made an impressive start to their Swindon & District Premier Division Campaign, hammering North Swindon WMC 10-2 at South Marston Rec, writes Josh Bird.
Phillip Legace was arguably the star of the show for the Spitfires but boss Barry Winslow was quick to praise several of his players after Saturday’s comfortable win.
“Overall I’ve got to be happy because of the score line,” Winslow said.
“Two of my players (impressed), Phil Legace who scored four, and Stephen Hughes who scored one but had an outstanding game.
“But I think the best all round performance was Nolan Paul, he played in the middle and got himself a goal but he was pretty much at the heart of everything we did in attack.”
After last year’s Division One title, Winslow was quick to take the pressure off of his side repeating the feat in the Premier Division.
“We’re a long way off yet,” Winslow warned. “I know there’s good teams out there like Deers Leap, I know they’re going to be a hard team to beat and we’ve got them next week.
“Obviously Tawny Owl are going to be equally just as hard to beat so I’m going to wait until I see how we go against them first.”
Along with the goals from Legace and Hughes there was a brace for Samuel Long and one goal apiece for Nolan Paul, Joshua Archer and a penalty converted Peter Cox.
Reigning champions Tawny Owl made an ideal start to their defence, winning 3-1 at home against Deers Leap.
Dave Slattery put the home side ahead with his set-piece which opened the scoring before netting a penalty for the second. Kenny Hawkins was on hand to grab the third goal which put the game to bed and manager Ajay Sahota was pleased to start on a high.
“It was a good start to the season for us picking up where we left off from last season,” Sahota said.
“We knew it was always going to be tough playing the team who we see as our main rivals for the league but it was important that we took all three points to put us in the driving seat for this season.
“Deers Leap are a very good side and we knew they would make it tough but with the quality we have throughout our team we knew we would always make chances.
“We never really looked like losing the game and our defence was resolute as well as our midfield being on top in both halves.”
And Sahota was very clear in the high expectations he has for his side this year.
“The goal for the season is very much the same as the last four or five years, to win the treble,” he said.
“We have a good squad and top bunch of lads so we will be rotating things throughout the season to make sure everyone is involved.”
But Sahota quickly reserved praise for someone at the club not on the pitch.
“The team would not run if it was not for hard work Debbie Howse (Tawny Owl secretary) does,” he said.
“Every year we seem to thank her at the end of the season but this year I would like to give her a special mention at the start.
“Football clubs at this level do not run successfully unless you have someone as committed as Debs is off the pitch.”
Ramsbury also got off to a winning start on Saturday with a 5-2 win over Village Inn at Hilldrop Lane.
A brace from Max Derrick, one from Ash Bowes and James Underwood and a goal for substitute Pete Wheeler secured a comfortable win for Ramsbury and boss Sean Evill was delighted with the start.
“A very pleasing result for the first game of the season and I couldn’t have asked for more from my players,” Evill said.
“There were some great performances from all of the team.
“Pre-season training made sure our fitness was good although there is still more to do.”
Evill also spoke about his desire to consolidate their Premier Division status with a strong season in wake of last season’s promotion.
“Our expectation this year is probably mid-table having been promoted from Division One and we are developing a young team.”
Bassett Bulldogs made an impressive debut in the Premier Division, winning comfortably 7-2 at Sportz Central.
Captain Craig Hunt put the visitors in front but the Bulldogs had to rely on a penalty from Colin Cochrane to haul them level before half time.
But the second half was dominated by the away side, a hat-trick from Riccardo Serratore added to a goal apiece for Josh Dimond and Nick Harrison secured all three points
In Division One, Wroughton Reserves manager James Moxham was delighted his newly-formed team were able to hit the ground running with a 9-2 thrashing of Chiseldon.
Ben Leonard bagged a hat-trick, opening the scoring with a fabulous volley from outside the box, but it was the all-round team performance that pleased Moxham the most.
“It went very well considering it’s the first time we’ve ever played together,” Moxham said.
“The boys played extremely good football considering the conditions, the conditions were atrocious, but they moved the ball very well.
“It’s a new team, we’ve only had one training session together, but I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from the whole team.
“Everybody from the back four to the front two (impressed), they chased and harried and made sure they did what they were asked to do.
“There was no man of the match performance because it was more of an all-round team performance.”
Despite it being a new team, Moxham has set impressive targets for his side.
“We set the target before the game on Saturday of a top-three finish,” he said.
“We are building a good, strong squad and it’s all about togetherness because we are a new team.”
Also getting on the scoresheet for Wroughton was Tom Miller who netted twice, Morgan Watts, Chris Sloley and Nick Entwistle all got themselves a goal as well as an own goal.
Elsewhere in Division One, Lower Stratton recorded a thumping 11-3 home victory over New Town All Stars to kick off their season in style in difficult conditions.
Goals from Adam Blakeman, Jamie Bain and Dan Harmer were not enough to prevent a heavy defeat on the opening day of the season for the visitors as Lower Stratton bounced back immediately from last year’s relegation.
A Jack Stanley hat-trick helped to get Stratton Juniors off to a comfortable start, winning 8-0 away at Swindon AFC whilst Core Construction also made a positive start to the campaign with a 3-1 win away at Moredon.