UTTOXETER TOWN’S bright new era in the Staffordshir County Senior League started with a victory at Oldfields on Wednesday evening in front of an excellent crowd.
After months of preparations to get the club ready for Saturday league football the curtain was finally raised and Uttoxeter ground out a hard-foughtwin .
The margin of victory could have been a lot wider, but with a few nerves evident Town were pleased to get their first points on the board.
A scrappy opening few minutes soon burst into life when Tommy Smith chased down a Lee Bagley flick and stung the fingertips of the Hilton stopper from 16 yards and Rob Collins’ resultant corner just evaded Bagley and skipper Martin Gadsby at the back post.
There was not a great deal of rhythm to the game as Uttoxeter prodded and probed without creating any chances of note until substitute Rory Maxwell, on for the injured Liam Sowter, nicked a clever ball through to Smith.
The powerful forward shrugged off the attentions of the Hilton centre half before smashing the ball low into the far corner for Uttoxeter’s first goal on the football pyramid.
There were a few chances to extend the lead for the hosts as half-time approached, Collins lofting the ball just over the bar from Gadsbys through ball the pick of the opportunities.
The second half started with Town creating more clearcut chances without the visitors really threatening Langridge’s goal, Smith and Bagley both being denied by some fine goalkeeping before Kyle Esplin also saw his effort blocked by the Hilton stopper.
Town’s back looked relatively solid with Jason Beardsley and Chris Richards prompting a number of attacks from the back.
But when Langridge was called into action the stopper was in fine form and tipped two long-range efforts over the bar and as well as handling a string of crosses expertly.
With Hilton pressing a swift counter, saw the impressive Collins double the advantage with just under a quarter of the game remaining.
Bagley nicked the ball and fed the flying winger, who clipped the ball perfectly passed the onrushing goalkeeper from 40 yards.
It was no less than the hosts deserved for a period of dominance and had the resurgent Maxwell finished when well placed then the game would have been out of sight.
However, a terrific overhead kick with four minutes remaining from Hilton’s No 9 gave the hosts and watching 159 spectators a nervy last few minutes but in truth the result was not in doubt as Town began their new chapter with a hard fought victory.
Infinity IT man of the match: Rob Collins — great work ethic and took his goal brilliantly.
TOWN host Foley tonight (Wednesday), kick-off 6.30pm