Claudio Rannieri’s debut as Leciester City manager got off to a flying start against Sunderland. Leciester were 3-0 up in 25 minutes in a blistering start. Jamie Vardy opened the scoring with a header before Algerian striker Riyad Mahrez got two, one with a header and the second from the penalty spot. Jermain Defoe got one back on the hour for the Black Cats on his debut but Marc Albrighton put the game beyond doubt with a fourth. A late consolation for Sunerland from Stephen Fletcher was too little too late.
Goodison Park saw an entertaining opener between Everton and newly promoted Watford. Watford’s Mexican import Miguel Layon pounced on some poor Everton defending to the give the Hornet’s the lead that they held on to until 14 miniutes to go when Ross Barclay scored with a wonderful strike from distance. Undeterred, Watford grabbed a second through Odion Ighalu with 7 minutes to go. Everton were not to be beaten on opening day however, an angled finish from Kone on 86 minutes ensured the points were shared and Watford could not hold on to what would have been a priceless away win.
Derby county failed to take advantage of having the last few minutes against 10 men after Bolton’s Jay Spearing was sent off. To lose would have been harsh on Bolton who hit the woodwork three times in the second half and will feel they should have won it themselves. A 0-0 draw to start the season for the Rams.
Nottingham Forest had already opened the show on the televised Friday night game with a difficult trip to Brighton. Kazenga Lualua got the only goal for the hosts, Forest came close to an equaliser when Henry Lansbury hit the post but Brighton dominated most of the game and were good value for their win. Forest will need to improve away from home to challenge for a Play-Off spot this season.
After a couple of dreadful seasons Blackpool are looking to re-build after relegation to league 1. They got a point at Colchester on opening day thanks to a brace from Mark Cullen. An Alex Gilbey volley and a second half equaliser on his debut for Darren Ambrose ensured a share of the spoils for Colchester in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
After relegation to League 2 Notts County got off to a positive start at Stevenage making it a bad day for Stevenage’s new manager Teddy Sheringham. Curtis Thompson finished off a sweeping counter attacking move to give the Magpies the lead and the win was completed with 2 minutes to go when Mawouna Amevor tapped in the rebound after Jon Stead’s inital shot was parried. Notts look a decent bet for a good promotion run.
Mansfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw on opening day by Carlisle at Field Mill. Malvind Benning got the Stags off to a great start with a free kick, but Jabo Ibehre equalised just before half-time to send the sides in level. Chris Clements and Adi Yussuf came closest to giving Mansfield the win but in the end they had to settle for a point.
Newport County and new manager Terry Butcher suffered a heavy defeat to a confident looking Cambridge Untied side. Two goals from the impressive Barry Core and a third from Robbie Simpson helped Cambridge to a comfortable home win. Keeper Sam Beasant, son of former England keeper Dave Beasant, also saved a Newport penalty.
The National league is the new name for the conference and Tranmere Rovers got off to a winning start as they aim to get out of it at the first attempt. Jay Harris strike from just outside the area was enough to give the side from the Wirral the three points. Chester also opened with three points thanks to a fine goal from wing-back Jonny Hunt, beating to Braintree defenders before dispatching the ball into the corner to get the only goal of the game
Southport were comfortably beaten by Eastleigh. Jai Reason gave Eastleigh the lead. early in the second half Andrai Jones was sent off for Southport after a two footed challenge was deemed dangerous play. Eastleigh took advantage with further goals from Jamie Turley, a penalty from Ben Strevens. James Constable added a fourth in the final minute to cap off an easy victory for the Hampshire side.
Three first half goals from Queen of The South was enough to see of a spirited Alloa Athletic challenge in Dumfries. Derek Lyle gave Queen’s the lead after five minuted and two goals later in the half from Iain Russell gave the home side a comfortable advantage at the break. The visitors gave it a real go in the second half and Iain Flanagan did pull one back, but in the end the Doonhammers were too strong for Alloa.
MOON OF LIBERTY SOCCER SCOREBOARD
Leicester City (3) 4 (Vardy, Mahrez 2, Albrighton) Sunderland (0) 2 (Defoe, Fletcher) – At The King Power Stadium, Leicester
Everton (0) 2 (Barclay, Kone) Watford (1) 2 (Layon, Ighalu) – At Goodison Park, Liverpool
Bolton Wanderers (0) 0 Derby County (0) 0 – At The Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Brighton (1) 1 (Lualua) Nottingham Forest (0) 0 – At The AMEX Stadium, Brighton
Colchester United (1) 2 (Gilbey, Ambrose) Blackpool (1) 2 (Cullen 2) – At The Weston Homes Community Stadium, Colchester
Stevenage (0) 0 Notts County (1) 2 (Thompson, Amevor) – At Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Mansfield Town (1) 1 (Benning) Carlisle United (1) 1 (Ibehre) – At Field Mill, Mansfield
Cambridge United (2) 3 (Core 2, Simpson) Newport County (0) 0 – At The Abbey Stadium, Cambridge
Tranmere Rovers (0) 1 (Harris) Woking (0) 0 – At Prenton Park, Birkenhead
Chester City (1) 1 (Hunt) Braintree Town (0) 0 – At The Deva Stadium, Chester
Southport (0) 0 Eastleigh (1) 4 (Reason, Turley, Strevens, Constable) – At Haig Avenue, Southport
Queen Of The South (3) 3 (Lyle, Russell 2) Alloa Athletic (0) 1 (Flanagan) – At Palmerstone Park, Dumfires