The League returned to competitive action last Sunday for the first time since 15th March when grassroots football was closed down by the Football Association due to the current health pandemic.
This Season has seen 9 new teams enter the League, adding to 48 of the 49 teams that completed the Season last time around.
The League has carried last Season’s 4 domestic Cup Finals over to be played during the 2020/2021 Season, if at all possible. With all finalists now determined, the League hopes to be able to get each Competition Final played as soon as possible, but for obvious reasons this is not possible to arrange at present as a suitable venue, under floodlights, needs to be agreed once group gatherings of more than the current six, determined by the Government, is allowed. The Cup Final arrangements will be discussed by the League Management Committee when they next meet at the beginning of October.
Returning to the action on the pitch from last Sunday, the Premier Division, now restored to 9 teams, opened up with 4 scheduled games.
AFC Saxilby returned to this Division after one Season out and they got off to winning ways by defeating Welton FC 3-1 at Mill Lane. Goals from Bowden, Ward, and Coo, inflicting the damage on the visitors.
Another side returning to the top Division again, after one Season out, were Metheringham FC. They didn’t fair as well as AFC Saxilby as they went down 1-3 at home to AFC Golden Eagle for whom Davies recorded a hat-trick.
Welton Sports AFC were also returning to the Division and they shared the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw at home to Rustons United. Crowther netting for the home side, the visiting scorer is not known.
The remaining scheduled game unfortunately had to be postponed at the last minute.
This Division sees two sides promoted from Division Three after their outstanding performances and results over the last couple of Seasons.
First up are Bottle & Glass FC and thanks to two goals from Forrester they shared a 2-2 draw at home to Bassingham Bugle Horn FC. The visitors had Shaw and Walker on hand to ensure they went home with a share of the spoils.
North Scarle FC went down 1-4 at home to Cherry Willingham FC. Leedle was the man to hit the target for the home team but four goals against dashed their hopes of starting the Season with a positive result.
Swanpool FC are the other team promoted up two Divisions and they got off to a flying start at home to St Helens FC courtesy of a couple of “Liams” in their team. Liam Wright hit four goals with Liam Bentley getting the other. For good measure Liam Bentley also created a couple of assists in his excellent personal performance. Aaron Smith got the consolation goal for St Helens.
A Thomas Chalk goal was enough to secure all three points for Horncastle Town in a close affair at The Wong when they entertained Waddington United in their opening League encounter of the Season. Ironically this was the same score line as in the previous fixture last Season.
Morning Star FC had no problems in regularly finding the net in their game away at Old Boys United. Daniel Reynolds hit a brace and further goals from Mayhall, Will Drury, and a Smith penalty, completed a comprehensive 5-0 win for The Star.
A single goal was enough for Saxilby Athletic to secure maximum points against The Ferryboat FC.
Heighington FC went down 0-2 at home to Plough Swinderby FC after goals from Munro and Wallace sealed their fate.
Luke Shipman scored two goals and further goals Newell and Rudd earned Lincoln Green FC maximum points following their 4-2 win away at Wragby FC. Wragby’s goals coming from Boyd and Richards.
AFC Lincoln Imp got their Season off in fine style when goals from Smith, Leeming, and Barber, secured the points in a 3-0 home win against Londesborough Arms FC Metheringham.
HBW United registered an impressive home victory when they entertained newly promoted Helpringham Rovers on Sunday. They secured a 3-1 win thanks to an impressive hat-trick from Bradley Heuso. Smyth notched the consolation goal for the visitors.
Lincoln Athletic played their first game of the Season at a new “home” when they entertained Queen Athletic, having just moved to King George V playing field. It wasn’t the happiest of starts for them, in what was also a new Division for them, when they went down to a single goal scored by Martin Waplington.
Railway Inn United have high hopes of a successful Season this time round and they underlined this with a resounding 5-0 home win against Broadley FC. Heydon Topley lead the way with two goals and further goals from Kyle Paul, Morrison, and Bray, completed the scoring.
Another side hoping to have a strong Season are Witham FC and they got off to the perfect of starts when goals by Declan Searle (2), Joshua Searle, and Durant, secured a 4-0 win when they visited Shakespeare Imps, another side playing from a new home at Bath Road, Bracebridge Heath this Season.
Jolly Scotchman FC have found themselves “promoted” into this Division after finishing last Season in a lowly position in the Division below. This is because they have been very successful in growing their Club and have been able to enter a reserve team this time round. Congratulations must go to them for this excellent work. Their first team went down 2-5 at home to AFC Bailgate. Scotchman’s scorer was David Walkington who scored two, but strikes from opposition players Josh Schofield, who was on as a substitute whilst helping himself to two goals, Gray, Shepherd, and Wallis, saw them start the Season with a defeat.
Active Arena were playing their first game in Division Four and if their result was anything to go by may find life a little more enjoyable this time round. An impressive 7-0 win at home to Hykeham Tigers was their reward after a hat-trick from Steve Marshall, and goals from Captain Paul Herrod, Josh Russell, Paul Crampton, and Nathan Shukla, gave them much to celebrate, socially distancing in the process of course!
FVA Jerusalem Reserves went down 1-4 at home to AFC West End. Piper netted for the hosts but goals by Page, Jewitt, Clamp, and Gray, proved too strong for them and it was the visitors who claimed the points.
Nosey FC enjoyed a good Season last year and they opened their account by taking all three points from their encounter at home to Welton FC Reserves. All four goals were scored by Shaun Edward Carr who saw them to a 4-2 victory. The visitor’s replies came courtesy of Small and Pasco.
This Division is not to be interpreted as the lowest Division. Anyone thinking it is may change their minds after seeing the opening days results. It is the Division in which all of the new teams joining the League have been placed in and has been added into the League as an extra Division for this Season and will be reviewed at the Season’s conclusion. It will, without doubt, provide very differing levels of playing strengths and teams will be placed in Divisions to suit their playing strengths next Season after this Season has been evaluated. The League must stress to all that when a new team enters the League the League has no idea of how strong that team will be, hence the use of this extra Division this term.
Although teams may ask to join the League at a certain level experience has shown that it is not uncommon for teams to be placed at their request and then find that players that have promised to sign for them do not, and then they find themselves playing in a Division too high for their actual playing strength. Indeed this happened last year and we nearly lost a couple of new teams before the Season actually got under underway. That said the games played on Sunday produced the following score lines:
Top of the tree were Lincoln High Street when they smashed 19 goals past Cranwell FC in a 19-1 demolition at Sudbrooke Drive. Lincoln High Street were returning to the League having resigned from it mid-term last Season. Unfortunately neither team has informed the League of their scorers, at least it saves space on reporting the scorers I guess!
Witham FC Reserves are another team who have grown from the excellent work being carried out by those involved in the management of the Club. Their reserves opened their campaign with a tough looking fixture at home against a very good looking Cherry United team. The score line of 0-10 underlines the challenge they faced. The visitors claimed the points courtesy of goals from Kieran Helsdown (4), Jordan Curtis (3), Harry Ormsby, Joshua Toynbee, and Callum Dye.
Hykeham Memorial FC are a team returning after a couple of Season’s absence and it is great to welcome them back into the League fold too. Their opening fixture produced a healthy 6-0 win away at Engine FC thanks to goals from William Wright, Alex Bowkett, Chris Barnes, Joshua King, and someone called Jordan Clarke. Clarke also claims to have had a hand in two more of the goals by way of assists. Could this be a wind up Jordan? Obviously not and congratulations to you and your team on this result.
I must conclude by saying “Well done” and thanks to all who participated on Sunday and to all involved with getting the games on. It is recognised that this is a considerable achievement by all due to the very substantial restrictions placed on all our Clubs with Covid compliance required. It will be challenging for all but with the commitment that we see from our Clubs week in and week out throughout the Seasons, and the commitment of all involved in the Management of the League, we will all make the best of playing our League and Cup football wherever and whenever we are able to do so.