Long Eaton Sunday League
AFC Melbourne 0
AFC Kimberley 3
AFC Kimberley could not have asked for a better start to the new season after a convincing 3-0 victory over AFC Melbourne, with goalkeeper Richard Kelley untested all game.
New signings Reilly Marshall and James Else did the damage, with Marshall scoring twice either side of a sensational James Else strike.
The game started out a little scrappy with both sides looking to try and get a foothold within the game, but it was AFC Kimberley who eventually broke the deadlock after a Darren Barber throw was skilfully hooked at the near post back towards the on rushing Marshall to head home from eight yards.
Kimberley created more chances before the end of the half but some good fortune and a couple of good saves from the Melbourne keeper kept the score at 1-0 at the break.
Into the second-half and the message to the players was more of the same and the goals would come, and sure enough the Dragons dominated the rest of the game.
It wasn’t long before AFC extended their lead and it came from new signing Else who, after winning the ball in the midfield, spotted the keeper off his line and drove the ball from more than 25 yards out over the back-pedalling keeper and going in off the inside of the far post.
The Dragons were now dominating the game and midfielders Else and man-of-the-match Sam Groves were bossing the middle of the park, with the wingers getting lots of room down the flanks.
Captain Ant Harwood was asked to deputise at centre back with both Chris Ryan and Mike Jones unavailable, and Harwood along with the rest of the line-up was faultless.
Kimberley were now creating opportunities quite freely and if it was not for the AFC Melbourne goalkeeper or with a little more luck the score could have got bigger,
Stuart Saunders was introduced in the 80th minute to replace Barber on the left wing and immediately sent Gary Pickering through with a lovely ball on the outside of his right foot but again the Dragons were denied.
On 86 minutes, however, Kimberley’s persistence paid off.
A corner was not dealt with by the Melbourne defence and Marshall smashed the ball home from six yards to round off the win.