Non-league football: Rivals make winning starts to season

Barking, Sporting Bengal United, Woodford Town and Athletic Newham all won their opening Essex Senior League fixtures on Saturday.

And Thurlow Nunn League rivals Hackney Wick and Hutton also had reason to cheer following success in their first Division One South outings, as Clapton Community battled to a goalless draw at Wormley Rovers.

But Ilford suffered a 3-1 home loss against Halstead Town in the Essex Senior League, as Frenford fell to a 2-0 defeat on their step five debut at Little Oakley.

Christian Adu-Gyamfi bundled the ball home from an injury-time corner to earn Barking a 1-0 win over Buckhurst Hill at the Lawtech Stadium.

And Sporting Bengal also left it late as they came from behind to beat Great Wakering 2-1 thanks to a stoppage-time penalty.

The hosts were awarded a spot-kick in the first minute, but Sidi Haidara produced a stunning save to deny Jake Gordon and kept out a second effort from Ben Search early in the second half.

Wakering opened the scoring on the hour through Gordon’s stunning free-kick, but Bengal substitute Sheri Artmeladze cancelled that out with a superb solo effort on 79 minutes.

And Artmeladze then stepped up to win it from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of injury time.

Woodford scored three times in the last 15 minutes to run out 3-0 winners at Takeley.

Debutant Nathan Sollosi made the breakthrough with a curling shot from 12 yards on 75 minutes and George Thompson doubled the advantage with a bullet header from a pinpoint cross.

And James Runham capped a fine first day with a 25-yard free-kick late on to the delight of boss Shane Baptiste.

Richard Kone put Athletic Newham in front after just three minutes at Tilbury and made it 2-0 just before the hour mark.

The prolific striker then completed his hat-trick on 78 minutes to seal all three points.

Ilford fell behind inside the opening half-hour against Halstead and saw Joe Lilly’s penalty saved before the interval.

Josh Boxall levelled with a fine strike early in the second half, but the Foxes fell behind again when conceding possession in midfield and saw the visitors strike again in the closing stages.

Frenford fell behind two minutes before half-time at Little Oakley and conceded again midway through the second half.

Solaiman Rechia was the matchwinner for Hackney Wick as they beat Brimsdown 1-0 at Witham Town’s Spa Road ground.

The former under-18 captain fired home a free-kick to seal the points for Ernest Eghan’s side, as Ben Lewis Gold took their Wingstop man of the match award.

And Hutton produced a five-star display on their league debut, with Stephen Judge and Sean O’Callaghan netting braces and Jude Keeling also on target in a 5-1 win at Harlow Town, in front of a crowd of 429.

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