Joe Furness earns Godmanchester Rovers a point in season opener at Woodbridge Town

GODMANCHESTER Rovers began life in the Premier Division of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League with a 1-1 draw at Woodbridge Town on Saturday.

Joint manager Nev Nania had warned fans of missing players in last week’s Hunts Post - so was more than happy with the point against a team he considers one of the best in the division.

It was Joe Furness who got the goal, an equaliser in the second half, after Woodbridge’s James Searman’s had scored the home side’s first half opener.

“It was a valuable and well deserved point,” said Nania. “Fast flowing football was evident from both sides as the game opened up into a feast of passing.”

Goddy, last season’s ECL Division One champions, were without the holidaying Mike Hyem and Aaron Mackay, and the injured trio of Dan Chillingworth, Chris Hyem and Paul Bass. Suspended midfielder Stephen Hurst was also forced to miss the trip to Suffolk.

The Woodpeckers went ahead in the 25th minute when Searman slid the ball home after latching on to a long pass through the middle.

Goddy nearly responded straight away when James Hall found Scott Fielding who was bundled over inside the six-yard box as he was preparing to shoot.

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Early in the second half the hard-working former St Ives Town striker Fielding, who was playing up front on his own, was replaced by Cambridge City loanee Ben Sawer as Nania and David Hurst shuffled their pack for a more attacking formation.

Brothers Jason and Adam King combined well soon after but the move had broken down by the time the ball ended up with Furness on the edge of the area. The midfielder took one touch and unleashed a brilliant rising shot which flew past the Woodbridge goalkeeper.

There were further chances - for Furness again, James Hall twice, Jason King, and Tom Evans - but the game remained equal.

Nania told The Hunts Post: “The Woodbridge management team were very gracious and said we would surprise quite a few sides in the Premier Division this season with the style of football we play. The future bodes well.

“We have quality players who weren’t available for selection. The depth and strength of the squad this season is outstanding. All credit to the team, they did the club proud.”

Tonight (Wednesday) Goddy have their second ECL game, away at Cambridge Regional College, who play at Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium. On Saturday they begin their 2012-13 FA Cup campaign with a home game against Thetford Town in the extra preliminary round.

Godmanchester Rovers: Rob Mackney, Tom Evans, Jon Hall, Adam King, Nick Hurst, Tom Moran, Carl Foreman (Jordan Brocket), Jason King, Scott Fielding (Ben Sawer), James Hall, Joe Furness. Sub not used: Mark Ling.