By JOHN CHUBB
This weekend we saw the 2021/22 Football season finally underway in full, with the first round of fixtures in the National League.
And it proved to be a good day for both of our local sides in the fifth tier of English Football.
Southend United – facing up to life in the National League after back-to-back relegations saw them drop out of the Football League after 101 years – got off to a victorious start in Norfolk, where a large following of their supporters saw debutant Sam Dalby score the only goal of the game for Phil Brown’s side at King’s Lynn Town.
And there was a superb opening day win for Dagenham & Redbridge, who travelled to Stockport County and stunned a crowd of over 5000 by winning 3-1. Will Wright, Josh Walker and Matt Robinson were all on target for the Daggers.
In the EFL League Two, Leyton Orient came back from a goal down to earn a point from their long trip to Carlisle United, as Harry Smith’s first O’s goal earned them a 1-1 draw.
Our featured non-League game was in the National League South at New Lodge, where our reporter Andy Gardener saw Billericay Town take an early second-half lead, but visitors Eastbourne Borough ended up winning 5-2.
There was also disappointment in the NLS for Chelmsford City, who suffered a 2-1 reversal against Maidstone United in their opening home fixture.
But Braintree Town enjoyed an excellent 3-0 win away to Hemel Hempstead Town, and Concord Rangers picked up a point in a 3-3 draw at Oxford City.
The FA Cup Preliminary Round saw a number of our local sides go through, including Brentwood Town for whom Daniel Ogunleye scored his first senior goal 10 minutes before half-time, which proved enough to beat visitors Leighton Town of the Spartan South Midlands League.
But local FA Cup performance of the day came from Brentwood’s Isthmian North rivals Tilbury, who travelled to Middlesex to take on Combined Counties League outfit North Greenford United and scored seven goals without reply to seal their place in the First Qualifying Round.
In Cricket, we saw the climax of the inaugural Hundred tournaments at Lords on Saturday, with Oval Invincibles Women and Southern Brave Men the winners.
And locally, Chelmsford remain in pole position in the Essex League First XI Premier Division after they beat their hosts Hadleigh & Thundersley by 30 runs.
This week’s playlist:
Gap Band – Oops Upside Your Head
Jack Savoretti feat Nile Rodgers – Who’s Hurting Who
Beabadoobee – Cologne
Roger Taylor Feat KT Tunstall – Just Trying To Get By
Rolling Stones – Miss You
Duran Duran feat Chai – More Joy
Diana Ross – Thank You
Moloko – The Time Is Now
Coldplay – Higher Power
Thin Lizzy – Waiting For An Alibi
Michelle Ward – Dolly Daydreaming
Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
Natalie Imbruglia – Build It Better
Billy Joel – My Life
Jody Watley – Looking For A New Love
Freakpower – Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out
Soul II Soul – Keep On Movin’
Kate Bush – Cloudbusting
Gordon Taggart – Footsteps
Chairman Of The Board – Give Me Just A Little More Time
Narada Michael Walden – I Shoulda Loved Ya