Reece Jones scored a brace as Hanley Town came from behind to beat Shifnal Town 3-1 in their Midlands Premier Division opener on Saturday.
Jones’ first goal came just before the hour mark to give Hanley a 2-1 lead, when substitute Brian Barton played the ball across goal for him to tap home.
He then raced through on goal in the 84th minute and calmy slotted his effort past the ‘keeper at his near post to wrap up the game.
Hanley fell a goal down on 27 minutes through a smart finish from Tom Hill, but Louis Dodds fired the hosts level on the brink of half time.
Pacy winger Jones caused the Shifnal defence problems all game and could have opened the scoring in the 16th minute after being played through by Dodds, but he was denied by the ‘keeper.
Chris Dagnall also had a close effort in the 49th minute with the score at 1-1, his header was well kept out down to the ‘keeper’s left.
Moments later Hanley nearly went behind for a second time, only for Jayden Cotterill to perform a brilliant goal-saving diving header and guide it over the bar.
Hanley did well to hold onto their win as they finished the game with nine men; first Aaron Cole received a sin bin for the remainder of the match after he reacted to a poor foul from Shifnal.
Charlie Walford was then given a second yellow card in the final moments, he also reacted to being fouled as he was cynically dragged down during a counterattack.
Jones received the Man of the Match award at full-time, and he told the Club’s media team that he was delighted to kick the season off in this manner.
He said: “I’m buzzing to get off the mark in the first game. This will give me confidence when going further into the season. It’s not just about my goals, though, it’s about getting three points for the team which is what we did today.”
Hanley are next in action on Tuesday night, as they welcome Haughmond FC to the Payaro Stadium.
By Jack Danby