Oakham United kicked off their first ever season with a convincing 2-0 win over local rivals Uppingham Town on Wednesday night.
United, who formed this year when Rutland Rangers merged with Oakham Imps, were keen to get going in the Peterborough and District Premier Division after a solid pre-season.
And they were delighted to take all three points in Wednesday’s clash at home at Catmose College.
United joint manager Pat Johnson, who runs the first team with Andy Saddington, said it was good to start playing proper competitive matches
He praised his side’s all round performance.
“It’s definitely a good way to start the season.
“It was good to get going and get rid of that friendlies mentality where it doesn’t matter if you win or lose and start playing proper competitive matches.
“It’s good to get out of the blocks and get going with a win.”
United dominated possession in the first half and went ahead on 20 minutes thanks to a goal from William Lee.
Eddie McDonald made it two before half-time.
In the second half Uppingham rallied and put pressure on United as they played deeper and defended the lead.
Johnson said: “It was a bit scrappier from us in the second half and we let them play too much and we were trying to hit long balls on the break and just giving the ball away.
“Overall it was a good performance. I couldn’t single anyone out, they played well as a team.”
United could have made it three in the final minutes but a shot from Stuart Lambie, who signed from Blackstones, went just over the bar.
Uppingham club captain Paul Sheehan says defensive mistakes cost them the game in the first half.
“We let in two bad goals, one from a corner which came in and found Eddie McDonald unmarked on the six-yard line and then their first goal was from just a sloppy piece of play from us.
“In the second half we played a lot better and had three or four chances, but when you’re 2-0 down it’s a bit of a mountain to climb.
“Overall the defence was not all bad but we just switched off for a couple of seconds and they scored. And when we had our chances we didn’t take them. It was disappointing but we’ll fight on.”
United’s game against Parson Drove on Saturday has been called off so they now face Pinchbeck United next Saturday.
Meanwhile Uppingham continue on their tough start to the season. They lost 3-2 to Coates Athletic on Saturday.
They face Moulton Harrox tomorrow and then King’s Cliffe on Wednesday.
They are still missing several players, but hope to be back to full strength by the end of the month.