By JOHN CHUBB
East Thurrock United put the disappointment of last season’s relegation from the National League South behind them, as their first Isthmian Premier League game since 2016 resulted in a 4-1 win over Cheshunt at Rookery Hill.
New signing from Canvey Island Frankie Merrifield helped himself to two of the goals, the Rocks’ other marksmen being Alex Clark and Ben Marlow.
Brian Moses scored for the visiting side, but the scoreline was sufficient to leave John Coventry’s team at the top of the table after one game.
Another club to get off to a winning start were Hornchurch, who came back from behind to win 2-1 at Merstham.
Ellis Brown gave the hosts a 20th minute lead, before second half goals from Lewwis Spence (66 minutes) and Daniel Uchechi (81 minutes) meant the Urchins were rewarded with all three points.
Last season’s Isthmian North champions Bowers & Pitsea played their first ever Premier Division match at home to Wingate & Finchley, which resulted in a 1-1 draw.
A superb 30-yard strike on 36 minutes from Olumide Oluwatimilehin put the visitors in front, before Bowers’ David Knight levelled with 21 minutes remaining.
My full report on this match can be seen here.