Heybridge Swifts 2 Soham Town Rangers 0
Soham started the season with a 2-0 defeat away to Heybridge Swifts, who scored twice in the second half to claim the win.
In a repeat of the final game if last season which Swifts won 2-1, the Greens handed debuts to Ryan Auger and Manuel Ramirez, however were missing three players due to unavailability and suspension.
It was a fairly even opening to the game before Soham were dealt an early blow with Marcus Hall limping off injured after only eleven minutes to be replaced Rob Mason, with the player-manager having a shot, from Auger’s ball, deflected wide of goal moments later. Gardner and Harris both placed wide before Mason had the first real opportunity to open the scoring with seven minutes remaining, however from distance, had a low shot come back off the foot of the post. The ball was quickly played up-field where Pope made a fine save to deny Price. Both sides had further efforts in first half stoppage time, but Bantick headed wide whilst Kaye fired at Sambridge from an Auger layoff.
The hosts made the better start to the second half however it was the visitors that created the first meaningful effort at goal with Auger placing just wide from outside the area in the 59th minute. However a minute later, it was Swifts that scored the first goal of the season when the ball was quickly played up-field, where Pope came off his line to deny the advancing Price, with Sam Bantick following up to knock the loose ball wide of the keeper into the bottom corner. Soham pushed forward looking to get back into the game as Mason just failed to connect with Ramirez’s ball across the face of goal, before the hosts introduced Luke Callandar with thirteen minutes remaining, with the striker doubling the advantage two minutes later with only his first touch of the ball, as he found time and space to receive Kouassi’s forward ball, to curl an unstoppable shot wide of Pope into the top corner. Swifts had the ball in the net again with three minutes remaining, however this time it was disallowed as Evans Kouassi was adjudged to be in an offside position, with Gardner and Mason both having late opportunities for a consolation, however both placed over from the edge of the area.
Soham Town Rangers
J. Pope, J. Mochalski, H. Norman (W. Gardner 84), A. Connor, L. Chaffey, L. Endacott, J. Kaye, R. Auger, M. Hall (R. Mason 11), M. Ramirez, A. Conway
Unused: P. Turner, J. Carden
D. Sambridge, G. Ramon, J. Siva, A. Abdulla, R. Henshaw, A. Njie, R. Harris (E. Kouassi 45+1), E. Siligato, M. Price (L. Callandar 77), J. Gardner, S. Bantick (H. Chatting 84)
Unused: N. Brown, R. Conway
Score: (0-0) 2-0
HSFC: S. Bantick (60), L. Callandar (79)
STRFC: A. Connor (57), H. Norman (81), J. Mochalski (89)
HSFC: E. Siligato (66), R. Henshaw (73), A. Njie (90+6)