Eccleshill United 1-1 Thackley
The spoils were shared on an entertaining opening day of the season at the Mitton Group Stadium.
Eccleshill United was forced to fight from a goal behind to earn the clubs first point of its return to the NCEL Premier Division with a goal from new signing Jazz Alali which saw the spoils shared on derby day.
A goal against the run of play saw Thackley take a lead in the first half whilst the Eagles struggled to put away their chances with a mixture of excellent goalkeeping and a lack of composure costing Sean Regan's men who certainly looked the brighter of the two teams.
The first chance came through a corner with skipper, Sam Bradley almost guiding a header into the back of the net with Thackley's defender heading the ball up onto the crossbar, almost finding the back of his own net had it not been for some luck.
Eccleshill continued to put the pressure on when new signing Steve Hollingworth forced two very good saves from the Thackley goalkeeper, the first being at the near post after a good Khurram Shazad through ball, and the second seeing Hollingworth force an incredible fingertip save.
Despite the excellent early signs, it would be the Dennyboys who struck first, taking their chance clinically with their frontman turning on the edge of the box to slide in a clever pass which was well finished.
Even though the Eagles trailed, Regan's men continued to show the heart and character that helped the club earn promotion last season coming out of the gates strong. A huge chance then fell to Chris Lever after a brilliant cross from Rhys Thomas, but the big man failed to guide the ball on target.
After a couple of changes, the Eagles kicked it up into another gear with Alali and young winger, Jake Thompson bringing some pace and energy into the side, immediately causing issues.
The persistence from Eccleshill eventually paid off following a goalmouth scramble where Alali was able to slide the loose ball into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club, bringing the game even once again.
From then on the pace of the game kicked up another notch with both teams desperately searching for the winner that would secure the bragging rights and three crucial points. Last seasons Player Of The Year, Jonny Irving was then introduced and he immediately linked up well with Thompson down the left wing who caused major problems with his pace throughout his appearance.
The visitors were equally as positive though and had several half chances with shots going high and wide of the target, however, a brilliant opportunity was carved out after some quick passing play, but Dom Smith pulled out an excellent save to deny the goalbound strike.
There was time for one more opportunity for the Eagles as a counterattack caught Thackley napping as the ball fell to Irving at the back post, but just as Smith had done previously, the Thackley 'keeper was then the hero, smothering the chance up.
In the end, a point was a fair result for both sides who worked hard with an entertaining opening fixture being played at a high tempo. For Regan the positives were clear to see with some brilliant, quick passing football being shown and with several key players still to return from injury, there is plenty to be happy about as far as Eccleshill United is concerned as the attention now shifts to the Emirates F.A. Cup next weekend.