NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Chris is the talk of the Town after stunning winner for Huntingdon in season-opener
- Credit: Archant
A big occasion was settled by a brilliant goal as Huntingdon Town kicked off the new season in winning style last Sunday.
Town triumphed 2-1 at newly-promoted Whittlesey Athletic in a United Counties League Division One opener played at an unusual time and in unseasonal weather.
The 5.15pm scheduling could be easily explained as the match formed the final part of an annual groundhop event staged in this area and attracted a terrific attendance of 340 despite the driving rain and swirling wind which proved troublesome for players and spectators alike.
The many present were treated to a decent contest - taking into account the harsh conditions - which featured three goals in the closing 20 minutes and came complete with a decisive moment of genius.
That was provided by Chris Jones who hit a spectacular 84th minute winner from 25 yards after being allowed time and space to shoot with ruthless accuracy by a tiring Whittlesey defence.
Jones, on as a substitute in the first half for injured Ruben Rey, also played a key role when Huntingdon previously hit the front in the 70th minute.
His low free-kick was fumbled by home keeper James Pullen which allowed Town debutant Sean Roberts to pounce only moments after being introduced from the bench.
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But the advantage proved to be short-lived as Whittlesey levelled within a minute through Matt Ilsley to deny Town goalkeeper Sarunas Snitkas a debut clean sheet which would have been very much deserved.
New number one Snitkas had been their most impressive performer in the first half when making a series of smart saves to keep out Whittlesey as Town were distinctly second-best.
They rarely threatened as an attacking force in that opening period but the effects of a half-time roasting from boss Jimmy Brattan were clear to see in the second half with Huntingdon upping the ante.
Rosser had a header cleared off the line before Adam Richardson's low drive was deflected inches wide with Athletic keeper Pullen stranded.
Roberts eventually provided a breakthrough which was swiftly cancelled out, but Huntingdon looked the likelier side to snatch victory.
Kingston should have restored the lead when firing wide of the near post after excellent work by Roberts, but Jones still had a spectacular strike up his sleeve to earn maximum points.
Town return to friendly action when hosting neighbours Godmanchester Rovers on Wednesday (7.45pm) for the Mayor's Cup.
Their next league outing is also at Jubilee Park when Leicester side St Andrews visit on Saturday, 3pm.