Champions held

CROWN FIRE CENTRAL AND SOUTH NORFOLK LEAGUE: The new league season got underway with 20 matches across the four divisions. The defending league champions Toftwood Rangers were held to a 4-4 home draw by Rockland United.

THE new league season got underway with 20 matches across the four divisions.

The defending league champions Toftwood Rangers were held to a 4-4 home draw by Rockland United. Dereham Posties probably scored the quickest goal of the day with one after just 20 seconds of their match at Bridgham United and that put them on track for a 4-2 win. Gressenhall got off to an impressive start with a 5-0 success at Dereham Town A, Mulbarton Wanderers won 2-0 at home to Hingham Athletic and North Elmham won by the odd goal of three at Yaxham in a very close game which was well refereed by Paul Daniels.

In Division Two the promoted teams had mixed fortunes. Cockers were the only winners, beating Wymondham Town A 3-2. Hingham Athletic Reserves were soundly beaten 6-0 by Tacolneston and Watton United A went down by the odd goal of three at home to Morley Village Reserves. The relegated team Swaffham Town A lost 3-1 at Dickleburgh.

The equal highest score of the day was in Division Three where West End netted eight against Rockland United Reserves without reply. Of the promoted teams, Shropham United were the only winners in beating Gressenhall Reserves 5-2. Bradenham Wanderers Reserves lost 4-2 at Bawdeswell, Great Cressingham drew 0-0 at home to Foulsham Reserves and Sporle also drew, sharing six goals with Swanton Morley in a well-contested and entertaining match where they had led 3-0 up to the hour mark.

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In Division Four, the league newcomers also had mixed fortunes. On the plus side, Fakenham Town A beat another new team Breckland Wanderers 5-3, while Hethersett Athletic got the better of Northwold S and SC after a close match and won 3-1. Castle Acre Swifts took a point from their visit to Colkirk with a 1-1 draw. On the debit side, Shropham United Reserves were well beaten 8-0 on their visit to Hindolveston and Methwold Rovers fared little better, going down 7-1 at Thurton and Ashby.

Crown Fire Division Two

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MORLEY VILLAGE opened the new season with a tough looking trip away to newly promoted Watton. Morley were straight out of the blocks with wide men Fraser and Butler causing plenty of problems for the opposition. It was Butler who opened the scoring midway through the first half when he swerved past two defenders and slotted the ball home for a neat finish. Watton attempted to get a foothold in the match but fine work by the Morley defence and goalkeeper Sturman kept them at bay. After the break Morley were slow to start and this allowed Watton to grab an early equaliser and for a short time press hard for the lead, however Morley re-established their supremacy when a fine run and cross by Chris Fraser was finished off by Farrow. Watton worked hard for an equaliser, but the Morley defence of Chalu, Burrows, and the Hendrie brothers kept the door firmly shut.

t FAKENHAM TOWN A kicked off their league campaign with a 5-3 victory over Breckland Wanderers at Clipbush Park on Saturday. Having changed leagues, the team were unsure what to expect in Division Four, but this gave them the ideal start. Fakenham scorers were Chris Amphlett, Dan Williamson, Dean Williamson and a brace for the veteran Dudley Beckles. The club thank Kinnertons Confectionery who have provided new shirts and training tops for the squad.

HINDOLVESTON started the new season with a resounding victory against Shropham Reserves. They carried the game to their opponents, and it took only five minutes for new signing Chris Thurston to open his account with a well-taken shot on the turn. He repeated the act within five minutes, and when Ollie Bamforth superbly volleyed in a pin-point Mark Day cross the home side were three up inside a quarter hour. Another two goals followed in quick succession, Bamforth's shot deflecting over the keeper, then Thurston completing a 20-minute hat-trick, coolly slotting home when put through. Bamforth completed his own hat-trick before half-time with a well-angled drive into the corner. In the second half, despite dominating, Hindolveston were restricted to two more goals, An excellent display by the whole side ended in an 8-0 victory for Hindolveston.

t COCKERS FC had a good pre-season with wins over Gressenhall, Yaxham and Shipdham. In the Chris Thorne Invitation Shield, Cockers played Colkirk in the semi-finals, winning 2-0, and went on to win the final against Splitz 5-3 to hold the Shield for another year.

t COCKERS FC were at home to Wymondham Town A in the first match of the season and found themselves a goal down from Wymondham's first attack. Cockers equalised through Rick Tribe. Near half-time, Garry Evans gave Cockers a 2-1 lead.

In the second half, Jack McDonnell hit the bar from a corner kick and Rob Barnes hit the post with a super strike. Wymondham kept up the pressure and scored a second goal. Cockers' man-of-the-match Rick Tribe scored again to give Cockers their first-ever points in Division Two of the Crown Fire League. Next Cockers are away to Attleborough Town A in the Cup.

t TOFTWOOD RANGERS started their league campaign with a home game against Rockland United in a very entertaining and goal-packed game. The visitors took the lead after 10 minutes when a harmless looking shot from the edge of the box flew straight into Darren Bailey's arms, but somehow squirmed out and dropped in over the goal line. Rangers equalised on two minutes through Shaun Kidd. United regained the lead but determined Rangers again equalised, through Ricardo Silva.

In the second half, United scored twice more to take a 4-2 lead but with a new found grit and fight, Rangers came back to score two more. Kidd scored his second and in the 90th minute new signing Will O'Reilly crashed the ball home from six yards through a crowded area to earn a deserved share of the points. Man-of-the-match was Carl Gardiner with another outstanding defensive display. A great team display. The next game is Saturday away to Yaxham, 3pm ko, meet Yaxham 2pm.

t FOULSHAM FC went top of their division thanks to two hat-tricks. A first-half treble by striker Simon Prior and a second half hat-trick by left back James Woodhouse gave Foulsham a 6-3 win over AFC Norwich Reserves. With a 2-2 draw against Wells Reserves in the first game of the season and a 2-0 win against Mattishall midweek, Foulsham found themselves sitting top of Division Four of the Anglian Combination with seven points. The referee was Nathan Kennedy of Kings Lynn. Photos are on foulshamfc/

t SWANTON MORLEY'S first game of the season was away to newly promoted Sporle who took the lead through an own goal. Morley upped the tempo with good breaks down both flanks and good approach work but with no end product. Luke Dagg produced a easy save from the keeper with a well struck free-kick from 25 yards. Sporle's long-ball game put the Morley back three under pressure and a good flick-on led to a good finish to make it 2-0. Swanton Morley's sporadic attacks were snuffed out. The start of the second half saw, the Sporle strikers walk through Morley's back line for 3-0. Swanton Morley kicked into life and started to dominate with a lot more quality in passing and movement. Some good work down the left and a good through ball let in Matt Roley to slot in past the keeper for 3-1. Then a 60-yard pass from Dean Vann took out the Sporle back line and found Graham Mudd in the box who showed neat control but put the ball wide. An almost identical route led to the second when good approach work led to Roley's second of the game with and identical finish to his first. The equaliser came one minute from the end when a good shot was parried by the keeper for Mudd to make it 3-3.

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