IT proved a memorable start to the new Thurlow Nunn League season for premier division trio STANWAY ROVERS, BRANTHAM ATHLETIC and FC CLACTON.

Both Stanway and Brantham kicked-off with victories against fancied opponents - Newmarket Town and Mildenhall Town.

Meanwhile, over at the newly-named Austin Arena, the Seasiders claimed a hard-earned point against the side many people are tipping for the title - Stowmarket Town.

So it was a day to remember for the Gazette's top-flight trio and things could barely have started better for Danny Slatter's Stanway.

There were only six minutes on the clock when the hosts were awarded a penalty and duly took full advantage, thanks to Jordan Blackwell.

Ben Robinson levelled for the Jockeys just after the half-hour mark but Rovers grabbed their winner in the latter stages through Jamie Shaw.

It was an excellent result for The Hawthorns outfit and one they will be hoping to build on at Hadleigh United on Tuesday night.

Also tasting victory on the opening day were Michael Brothers' Brantham - 1-0 conquerors of Mildenhall.

Karl Andrade, a summer signing, grabbed a late winner on his competitive debut after a defence-splitting pass from skipper Ed Nobbs.

However, that only told half the story on an eventful afternoon at the Leisure Centre.

The Imps had been reduced to ten men just before the break after a red card for George Mutimer.

The keeper was controversially dismissed for handball outside the box and with no shot-stopper on the bench, teenage defender Alfie Owen-Jones deputised between the posts, helping his side to a hard-earned clean sheet.

It was similarly entertaining over at Clacton, where the hosts led twice before drawing 2-2 with Stowmarket.

Austin's side had an early penalty saved but Brad Westley gave them an interval lead with a goal in the 43rd minute.

Christy Finch levelled on the hour-mark but Mekhi Mckenzie put Clacton ahead again with his first competitive goal since arriving on a season-long loan from AFC Sudbury.

Stowmarket were then awarded a penalty of their own and it was converted by former Brightlingsea Regent striker Josh Mayhew, to make the final score 2-2.

Given the talent and depth of the Suffolk side's squad, it was an excellent result for Clacton.

They will hope to follow it up with a positive result at Whitton United on Tuesday while Brantham, ironically, travel to Stowmarket.