Abbey Hulton United made a winning start to their inaugural campaign in the Hallmark Security League with a hard fought 2-1 win at Daisy Hill.
A goal from skipper Joshua Tune clinched victory nine minutes from time clinched victory for the Staffordshire side, although they were made to work hard for the win by a determined Daisy Hill outfit who played for over an hour with ten men after the dismissal of right back Josh Fairhurst for a professional foul.
Fairhurst was dismissed on the half hour after the referee ruled he had denied a clear goalscoring opportunity when brought down Abbey’s Joshua Graham as he homed in on goal, and it was the big centre forward who set the opening goal seven minutes from half time.
Graham found space down the inside left channel before driving a croos low across the face of goal where Keeylin Thomas (pictured below) was on hand to fire the ball high into the net, and write his name in the club history books as the scorer of their first ever goal in the League.
However, the lead lasted only 90 seconds before Daisy were level, with the referee awarding a penalty after Michael Gervin was tripped on the edge of the box, and Jordan Donnelly tucked away the resulting spot kick low into the bottom corner of the net.
in the second half Abbey Hulton enjoyed plenty of possession and territory but failed to break through a determined Daisy rearguard until nine minutes from time, when Joshua Graham slipped a ball through to his captain Joshua Tune whose angled drive beat the outstretched hand of Daisy keeper Craig Haynes and crept over the line for what proved to be the winner.
Abbey Hulton United manager David Riley was naturally delighted after the game to get off to a winning start.
“We’ve come up as champions, but in a new league no one know anything about us and we know nothing about them. There were a few nerves and excitement, and to come here on the opening day of the season and get three points is just absolutely fantastic.
“It was a bit of a dog fight as they tried to make the pitch as narrow as possible, and we tried to get the ball out wide, but it wasn’t going to plan at all and they battled really well with ten men.
“It looked like it was going to be a 1-1, but luckily we got the winner in the end.
“We’ve got nothing to lose. Everyone has been telling us just to get in and find out feet, but we don’t want to just make the numbers up in the league. We have come in with intent, looking to finish as high as possible and challenge for the top spots.
“We were buzzing on the way up, and now we have got the 2-1 win the atmosphere on the bus will booming on the way back home and rightly so. I want to enjoy the moment tonight and hopefully the lads will too”.