ALL the hope and excitement of the start of a new season evaporated after just 15 seconds for St Ives Town on Saturday.

UCL Premier Division

St Ives Town 0-4 Long Buckby

ALL the hope and excitement of the start of a new season evaporated after just 15 seconds for St Ives Town on Saturday.

That's how long it took for UCL Premier Division title contenders Long Buckby to go ahead.

Home stopper Niall Conroy-Owen dawdled over a passback for the opener, and they added three more on what turned into a long afternoon for the Saints.

Even the return of St Ives Town favourite ­Junior McDougald - a man who came through the ­Tottenham Hotspur youth ranks and has more than 200 Football League matches under his belt - could not put a shine on a disappointing day for the ­Westwood Road faithful.

Co-manager Jez Hall said it had been "just one of those days" after seeing his team gift Buckby the lead, concede a dubious penalty and have chances cleared off the line and rebound from the woodwork.

"It was a combination of shocking individual errors, facing a top team and getting two stinking decisions. They are a good, strong, direct team and we realised pretty quickly that it wasn't going to be our day."

Richard Bunting, who dispossessed Conroy-Owen to score the opener, added a second from the penalty spot on 40 minutes, after Dan Newman was adjudged to have fouled him. Rob Foster completed a miserable afternoon for Saints with goals after 54 and 71 minutes.

Hall and co-manager Warren Everdell were left to search for positives, of which McDougald's return was one.

"He was probably our only highlight. He held the ball up all day but we just didn't support him.

"It's great to have him back at the club, as he has had good times here before and has won trophies. We always keep in touch anyway, and he will be an important player for us this season."

Despite the stumbling start, Hall has his eye on a top-eight league finish and success in the cup competitions.

He said: "We have a few players out at the moment but when they're back we will be stronger. I think after King's Lynn and Long Buckby - who I'm sure will be the top two - there are probably another eight teams fighting over the places below."