This Beds FA initiative is designed to attract the younger players to adult football, giving the opportunity to players aged 16 to 21 years to play for a ‘young adult’ club in its own separate league countywide. The Under 21 league has ten clubs, and all played this weekend.
Hitchin Town’s 11-0 victory against Brickhill Wanderers ‘B’ stands out as a little one-sided, but the other games appear to have been more closely matched. Barton Rovers and Shefford Saints drew two apiece, and appear to be potentially strong sides.
Brickhill Wanderers ‘A’ beat Sacred Heart 4-2 and Luton Central defeated Kempston Eagles 5-1. Watling Youth lost 3-0 to Leighton Corinthian after a deluge nearly of monsoon proportions at Leagrave Park.
Nothing much can be made of Premier Division results on the first day of a new season, but Lawson Park Rangers and Meltis Mexicans both got off to a good start, hammering seven goals in their respective games against Constant & Co and Esquires. Charlie Betts scored a hat-trick for Lawson Park with Mark Reed notching two. Dean Bawden and Robbie Daltilia scored the others.
Sundeep Gill scored Meltis’ first of the season but this was cancelled out when the Meltis defence were caught square and paid the price. However, Callum Davenport made it 2-1 to Meltis and this was followed by a close range header from James Allen and another Gill goal by half time.
Davenport scored his second after the break with Simons and Ingerson rounding off the scoring for Meltis while keeper Holmes saved a penalty late-on.
There was only one other winner in the division, Oakley beating Queensmen 4-1, whilst Atletico Europa versus Caldecote Young Boys, and London Road Supreme versus Haynes resulted in draws.
Atletico were 2-0 up and comfortable in their game against Caldecote, with goals from Junior Ivy and Kane Alexander, but the game turned on a disputed penalty decision and the loss of a Europa player. It was backs to the wall for the Atletico defence especially during a spell when an injury reduced Atletico to nine men. Caldecote equalised with 15 minutes to go but solid defence with Brian Day and Ishmael George starring steered Atletico to a sharing of the points.
Sharnbrook Casuals made a good start in Division One against the team formed by the marriage of 21st Century and last season’s Fifth Division newboys GNG Tigers. Sharnbrook missed a host of chances to score in the first half which ended goalless.
A sweet Jamie Cross half volley put the Casuals en route to a 3-1 win, with Jack Hoogstraten heading in number two from a cross by Danny Wallinger. Hoogstraten was then involved in the third goal which came after Shaun Barnett just had to tap the cross in from all of two yards. Century’s consolation goal was gifted to them by Casual’s John Steele. Man of the match was home player Robbie Alder.
Dunton Sunday would have wanted a better first result against Harrold & Carlton to stop their downwards spiral from the Premier last season, but it is early days yet and the score was only 2-0 to the promoted Harrold team.
The name Bird in Hand has survived the disappearance of the well-known Brickhill watering-hole, the football team beginning their season with a 2-0 home defeat to Old Hastingsburians. Stewartby got off to a solid start with a 2-0 win against Newtown Rangers.
Renhold produced a good result in Division Two by beating Eagle Heating 4-2 in St Neots. Mowsbury Athletic are expected to do well this season, and going by their first result the omens look good for them. Ath began sluggishly and rode their luck in the first 20 minutes against Caldecote Young Boys Reserves. Caldecote hit the woodwork and had two other good chances to open the scoring but Andy Klein soothed the nerves by scoring from the edge of the area. He then netted again four minutes later.
Matt Barnes popped another and Klein made it 4-0. Just before the break Mowsbury were reduced to ten men, but that didn’t upset their play and Klein scored his fourth in the second half. Caldecote pulled one back from the penalty spot but Arran Wright’s header from a corner completed the 6-1 scoreline.
Bumblebee Flitwick shared the points and eight goals with Houghton Conquest while Wootton Wanderers got their season off to a good start with a 3-2 win against Marston Reds.
There were two good, eye-catching games in Division Three. Promoted Gardeners Arms could only draw with Bedford Allsters and M&DH Clapham had a good win at home to Grafton Celtics. The newly-named Mile Road Casuals got off to a flying start beating Wells Stars 8-2 at Jubilee Park. Meltis Rangers were away to Old Boys and won 6-2.
Goldington Rangers topped the goal tally in Division Four by belting in nine goals at home to Bellini’s. BMC scored five away to Bedford Albion. Oakley Reserves and Shillington Pirates drew 3-3.
Rose Biggleswade are usually difficult to beat at Stratton Park but they couldn’t stop Fox & Hounds Clapham from winning 3-1.
Division Five is always worth a visit as there is usually an interesting contrast between teams playing their first game in the league.
Westoning Gijon are new to the league and promptly set out their stall with a 12-2 demolition of Salento. AF Mato – formed from last season’s AC Atletico side – got off to a poor start going down 1-0 at home to Bedford Old Boys.
Blackbirds Flitwick handed out a 2-0 defeat to AFC Kempston whilst Sandy Titans got five of the eight goals scored at Oakley Wanderers. Newcomers Oakley started poorly and found themselves two down as a result but Jay Mead pulled one back only for the Titans to make it 3-1 at half-time. An own goal and a Dan Cotton strike pulled Oakley level but Sandy produced two late goals. Oakley missed a penalty in the last minute to make it a gloomy morning’s work.
Sir William Peel Sandy lost at home to Alfa Oakley 4-1. The Peelers took the lead but Alfa’s Pasq Grasso got fouled in the Sandy box and Marco Catrambone stroked in the penalty. Jack Goodacre rifled in a towering header for Alfa’s second and a stunning strike from Catrambone came just before half-time. Alfa continued to dominate proceedings and cleaned up with a Pasq Grasso goal. Kian Marashi was nominated as Oakley’s man of the match.