It was a day of mixed fortunes for the region’s Hellenic League Premier Division clubs with TJ Bohane and Royal Wootton Bassett Town stealing the headlines as they hit six past Tuffley Rovers.
While Sam Collier’s new-look Bassett side cruised past Tuffley Rovers 6-1, newly-promoted Shrivenham faced a rude awakening as they we beaten 5-1 at home against Reading City.
Jody Bevan’s Fairford Town meanwhile suffered late heartbreak as they conceded a 91st minute goal against Wantage having earlier led 2-0.
A dominant first-half display saw Royal Wootton Bassett Town lead 4-0 at the break courtesy of goals from Steve Yeardley, TJ Bohane (2), Brad Pagliaroli.
Yeardley was on hand to head home on just 10 minutes when he stooped to nod in Gio Wrona’s cross – his 76th goal for Bassett.
Bassett doubled their lead on the half hour when Bohane scored his first goal for the club, as he followed up his own blocked shot to make it 2-0.
Josh Shama almost made it three eight minutes before half time as he latched onto Pagliaroli’s through ball, but his weighted tight angle shot found the inside of the post.
Four minutes later Pagliaroli scored the goal of the day. Receiving a Wrona pass on the right, he cut inside, taking on his man before arrowing a precise left foot drive into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box.
A fourth quickly followed, with Shama again serving as creator. After another surging run down the wing he squared for Wrona, whose effort was blocked. However, the loose ball fell perfectly for Bohane who tapped home.
Bohane completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half when he dispatched a penalty to cap a perfect debut performance.
Bassett made it six when Bohane steered a ball in behind the Tuffley defence that substitute Jason Milhench raced onto, and after cutting in from the right he rolled a pass across the six-yard box which Pagliaroli steered in from close range.
Tuffley pulled a goal back when Alex Bowers capitalised on a mix-up in the Bassett defence but it was the home side’s day and one that delighted boss Sam Collier.
“It was a perfect start to a new season,” said Collier. “I was very pleased with the result and the way we played in spells.
“This is a new side and out of the starting 11 we only had three from last season. We had a spell in the first half where we looked very good going forward and caused them real problems.
“I was disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet but would of certainly taken that result before.
“TJ (Bohane) will grab the headlines and rightly so, he not only grabbed a hat-trick, he worked so hard for the team and held he ball up.
“However there were five or six very good displays. Danny Cole and Danny Hatch were excellent in defence and midfield on their debut too.
“Tuesday will be a big test for us (against Fairford Town) and Jody has got together a really good group and I am fully expecting a hard game.”
Former Wootton Bassett striker Steve Robertson stunned Fairford Town as he scored two second-half goals to steal victory for his Wantage Town side.
Fairford boss Jody Bevan handed full debuts to five summer signings as the home side turned in a determined effort on a searing afternoon.
The hosts broke the deadlock with six minutes on the clock as new signing Josh Thomas saw his initial effort saved by Curtis Meare before making sure with the follow up.
Josh Jones, a summer addition from Highworth Town, was shown a straight red card two minutes later for a high challenge as the Gloucestershire side faced an uphill battle with 82 minutes of the game remaining.
However, Fairford stood their ground and frustrated the much-fancied visitors, who forced several saves out of Ben Mitchell in the home goal before the half-time whistle blew.
Fairford continued to work hard after the interval and were rewarded with their second goal of the day as Thomas turned his man and smashed home a superb effort from 25-yards with 65 minutes played.
Wantage captain Chris Jackson then slotted home a 71st minute penalty following a push from Lee Smith inside the area as the visitors got a foothold on the game.
Robertson struck his first to level the scores in controversial circumstances on 72 minutes. His turn and shot from close range crossed the line before emerging from the back of the net onto the advertising boards behind the goal to make it 2-2 following consultation with linesman Gordon Varey. Despite the freak occurrence, none of the officials deemed it applicable to check the goal nets much to the bemusement of the watching home support.
Robertson then grabbed the winner on 91 minutes to seal the points as he capitalised on a loose ball to hammer home his second of the game and the final and crucial goal of the day.
Gareth Davies’ Shrivenham endured a nightmare first-half performance against Reading City as they conceded four quick goals to trail 4-0 at the break.
A double from Mitch Parker and singles from Adam Cashin-Murray and Matt Hancock gave Reading a commanding lead at the break.
Shrivenham though rallied in the second half and pulled a goal back courtesy of Nathan Blackford’s penalty.
The hosts missed several chances to reduce the deficit further before Reading struck again with Parker grabbing his hat-trick.
Shrivenham return to action on Tuesday night when they travel to Windsor, who also lost on the opening day against Brimscombe & Thrupp.