Partridge and Pipe provide flying start
Premier Division: New boys Diss Town got off to an impressive winning start with a 2-0 win at CRC.
James Pipe and Danny Partridge scored the goals which gave Diss all three points, much to the delight of manager Rob Taylor, who was happy with the way his young side coped with the experience of playing at Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium.
'It was a bit of a mixed bag from us really,' said Taylor. 'There were a few nerves among the young boys – it was the opening day and most of them would have been playing at a big professional ground like that for the first time.
'But we defended well as a team – our keeper only had two saves to make in the game. We knew they would pass it around and keep possession – a bit like the Norwich City Academy, they pass and move and we just sat in really. We scored from two set-pieces – they were scrappy goals but they were the two goals that needed.'
Taylor admitted that while happy with the points, he expected a little more from his team.
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'I wanted a bit better performance than we put on,' he said. 'We didn't play very well – in patches we did, but we didn't keep the ball very well, which we are normally good at. But if you don't play to your potential and you still get three points at a place like that it's good.'
Meanwhile, two of Norfolk's title favourites also got their campaigns off to winning start.
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Dereham Town were 2-1 winners over Walsham-le-Willows while Wroxham gave manager David Batch his first-ever opening day win with a 3-1 victory at Felixstowe.
For Wroxham it was a combination of an old head and a new boy that did the trick at Felixstowe, where experienced centre-half Josh Carus gave the Yachtsmen – missing Scott Howie, Graham Challen and Ben Thompson through suspension and injury – the lead in the ninth minute when he leapt highest to head home from Shaun Howes' corner.
The hosts levelled through Jamie Cole before the interval, but then new boy Jordan Rocastle went to work. He and Matt Daniels both had efforts disallowed before the summer signing from Diss bravely dived to head home a loose ball 20 minutes from time, quickly adding another with a splendid turn and finish.
'I knew he was capable of the second – he has a great turn and shot – but I didn't know he was able to do what he did for the first,' said Batch, for whom opening day wins while in charge of Cambridge United youths, Downham and Wroxham have been elusive. 'To be fair, with Cambridge the fixtures were done alphabetically so we usually got Arsenal,' he said. 'But I'm pleased to get the season off to a good start.'
Dereham needed a last-minute goal from 16-year-old sub Sam Pledger to clinch a 2-1 win a home to Walsham.
The winner was due in large part to a fine solo run by Scott Roberts, who had put the Magpies ahead in the 28th minute, only for the visitors to level on 65 minutes.
'Their goal was a bit of a kick up the backside,' said manager Matty Henman. 'We had 90pc of the possession in the first half, but we stopped passing it for a while in the sceond half and their goal probably helped us lift again. I'm happy with some parts of the performance, but I think we can get a lot better.'
Norwich United were made to rue missed first-half chances, going down 3-1 at home to Stanway.
Andrew Claydon opened the scoring after just seven minutes, but Michael Cheek levelled. The Planters had a goal chalked off for offside and penalty appeals turned down when a Ross King cross was handled and a minute later Newson hit the winner.
Yarmouth lost 2-1 at Hadleigh, who took the points with a scrappy goal in added time after Glen Spooner's late equaliser.
Kirkley & Pakefield's hopes of springing a first day surprise came to nothing when they went down to a 3-0 defeat at Mildenhall, all the goals coming in the second half.
Kirkley had the better of the opening exchanges with Kyle Baker forcing keeper Josh Pope into a smart stop from a tight angle. But the second half was a different story.
Just six minutes after the restart, Andrew Wood broke through and slipped the ball past Dave Attridge for the opener. John Sands pounced on a mistake in midfield to make it 2-0 and Wood evaded several challenges to complete the scoring.