Debut hat-trick from Meechan, but St Neots Town led lead slip in opening day draw

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Tom Meechan hit a hat-trick on his St Neots Town debut, but a late collapse cost them the chance of a season-opening Southern League Premier Division success.

The promotion favourites had to settle for a 4-4 draw at Bideford after conceding three times in the final 10 minutes – including a stoppage-time leveller.

That had earlier looked a highly unlikely outcome as Meechan put Saints in command with a quickfire early brace before turning provider for fellow summer recruit Remy Gordon to extend their advantage three minutes after half-time.

The hosts struck with 20 minutes to go, but that was soon cancelled out as Meechan completed his treble, but it wasn’t enough to earn victory.

St Ives overcame the dismissal of captain Luke Knight to launch their Southern League Division One (Central) campaign with a 1-1 draw.

Knight was dismissed after picking up two cautions in as many minutes midway through the first half of their visit to newly-promoted Kings Langley.

Saints trailed to an early goal but levelled thanks to a stunning strike from summer signing Phil Draycott on the hour.

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Matt Clements’ reign as Godmanchester Rovers manager began with a defeat. The locals lost 1-0 at Brantham Athletic in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

There was a happier start to the United Counties League Premier Division season for Eynesbury Rovers thanks to a flurry of second-half goals.

Martin Field’s men thumped Harborough 4-0 at Hall Road. Two goals in the space of as many minutes from Tom Coles and Shane Fox set them on the way to victory.

Ben Colmer nodded a third on his return to the club before youngster Rhys Thorpe hit a clincher in stoppage time.

Huntingdon were beaten 3-0 at promoted side Rothwell Corinthians while St Neots Town Saints suffered a second successive heavy defeat in Division One.

Lydia Bedford’s side went down 6-2 at the hands of Long Buckby. Dan Lewis and Alfie Ball hit consolation goals in the second half.