Non-league football round-up: Plenty of opening day goals for the likes of Newmarket Town, Ipswich Wanderers, Ely City, Soham Town Rangers and Whitton United
A total of 30 goals were scored on an incident-packed opening weekend of Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division action.
Six of those goals came at the Tristel Stadium, where a spirited Ipswich Wanderers side collected a 3-3 draw in their clash with Newmarket Town after having their goalkeeper Craig Brand sent off in the early exchanges before Lewis Kincaid saw red in the second half, leaving them to see out the remainder of the contest with just nine men.
Lewis Whitehead gave the hosting Jockeys the lead inside the opening five minutes, followed shortly after by Brand being dismissed for a challenge on the Newmarket striker.
Defender Adam Dunnage donned the goalkeeper gloves, and yet Wanderers duly raced into a 3-1 lead before the break courtesy of goals from Matt Blake (2) and Teon Leggett. The duo scored more than 60 goals between during the promotion-winning campaign and are now already both off the mark in 2022/23.
The drama continued in the second half with Ben Robinson pulling a goal back for Newmarket before Dunnage showed off his goalkeeping skills with a penalty save. However, the pressure from the home side eventually told as new signing Joe Asensi marked his debut with the equalising goal.
Also impressing on debut was Lawrence Hammond, who found the back of the net twice in Ely City's 3-2 home victory at the expense of Hadleigh United.
The visitors got off to the dream start when in the second minute Liam Wales swung in a corner which was converted by his brother Harry.
But two goals from Hammond and one from Josh Townshend earned the Robins all three points despite Joel Glover having drawn the away team level early in the second half.
It proved to be a common scoreline across the division as Soham Town Rangers and Whitton United also both triumphed 3-2.
Midfielder Jon Kaye scored twice for Soham in their triumph over Walsham-le-Willows, who took the lead in the second minute via Cameron Nicholls. Ollie Ward also notched alongside Kaye's brace to put the hosting Greens in command, although Nicholls ensured there would be a nervy finish to proceedings at Julius Martin Lane with his second goal of the contest.
Meanwhile, Whitton celebrated getting the better of visiting Lakenheath. Lewis Gillings, Louie Bloom and Kieran Turner all found the back of the net to put hosts 3-0 up and while Shaun Avis and Kaine Manels pulled goals back for Lakenheath, Whitton held out to secure all three points.
Also scoring a trio of goals was Long Melford, with new boss Dave Hennessey kicking off his tenure by winning 3-1 at Fakenham Town.
Captain Jacob Brown, Hassan Ally and substitute Perry Newman were all on target for Melford, who were granted a summer reprieve from relegation after finishing in the bottom two last term.
Elsewhere, Harleston Town's first ever match at Step 5 proved to be a memorable one as they recovered from being a goal down to win 2-1 on the road at Brantham Athletic.
Thomas Watkins' goal had Brantham in front at the break but Nathan Page and Oliver Ebbage – the latter scoring in the last minute – earned Danny Crow's men the victory.
Also getting their season under way with all three points was Thetford Town as they ran out 1-0 winners from their long trip to Kirkley & Pakefield.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes at Walmer Road, Michael Campbell's effort was enough for Matt Morton's charges to come out on top.
It was the same outcome at Notcutts Park where hosting Woodbridge Town saw off Haverhill Rovers.
Former Bury Town winger Remi Garrett scored the only goal of the game for the Woodpeckers, who this season are managed by ex-Ipswich Town midfielder Luke Hyam.
The only game in the division that featured no goals was Mildenhall Town's home clash with Norwich United. Both sides are fancied to be battling it out towards the top end of the table this term but neither could break the deadlock at The Riverside Stadium.
In the Essex Senior League, Halstead Town suffered a 3-2 defeat at Barking in what was their first Step 5 fixture since 2007.
Alfie Cleal and Ben Heath were both on target in the second half for the Humbugs, who were promoted via the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South play-offs last season.
Midweek fixtures (KO 7.45pm unless otherwise stated)
Tuesday, August 2
Fakenham Town v Ely City
Thetford Town v Norwich United
Walsham-le-Willows v Mildenhall Town – follow @liamapicella on Twitter for updates
Woodbridge Town v Whitton United
Wednesday, August 3
Long Melford v Hadleigh United