Great Wakering Rovers 1 Norwich United 3 – History-making Planters get season off to a flying start
Norwich United could hardly have wished for a better start to the new campaign as they kicked off with a win at Great Wakering Rovers.
Last season's Eastern Counties (Thurlow Nunn) League Premier Division champions were braced for a step up in class in Ryman League Division One North, where they have joined Wroxham and Dereham Town.
The Planters have brought in new players, including the highly-rated Remy Gordon, who made his debut on Saturday, and their hard work over the summer reaped instant rewards.
The signs were good early on when Joe Jackson had an effort cleared off the line.
Jackson was replaced by Jamie Speller nine minutes into the second half, and it was Speller who set the ball rolling, just five minutes after stepping on to the pitch.
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It looked like Speller was going to be the opening-day hero for United, but Wakering got themselves back into the game with just six minutes left when Liam Nash equalised. But just as it looked like the Planters would have to settle for a draw, up popped Shaun Wones to put them ahead again, with just a minute of normal time left.
There was another twist as well, with Adam Hipperson adding a third against a Wakering side reduced to 10 men by the 90th-minute sending off of Adedalberto Pinto.
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Great Wakering Rovers: Belcher, Gardner, Spillane, Hilder, Sparrow, Pugsley, Newby (Johnson, 76), Pinto, Nash (Jacobs, 67), Nash, Gordon. Substitutes not used: Worrell, Skelton, Toussaint.
Norwich United: Wilton, Shipley, Brown, Mason, Eastaugh, Watts, Hipperson, Wones, J Jackson (Speller, 54), Henery (Bennett, 79), Gordon (L Jackson, 72). Substitutes not used: Jones, Machaya.