Basildon United got their Essex Senior League season off to the best possible start as they secured a 2-0 win over Clapton on the opening day of the campaign.

Goals from Tommy Barton and Marcus Bowers either side of half time allowed the Bees to claim all three points in Marc Harrison’s first game in charge.

And Harrison was delighted to get his reign off to a flying start.

Harrison, who was in charge of Basildon Town last term, said: "Everyone knew how tough the opening day would be.

"Their fans can be so powerful but credit has to go to the lads because we overpowered them.

"But we have to get used to that because that is how we are going to be.

"We're going to make it as difficult as possible against us for everyone."

Basildon’s first meaningful attack saw Charlie Kendall slip the ball behind the Clapton defence and the onrushing home right back Jamie Selby-Knight put a dangerous cross into the penalty box, but Chris Charlery could not direct his header on target.

The breakthrough came midway through the first half, with Basildon taking a deserved lead.

Kendall’s corner was headed home by the unmarked Barton.

Moments later, Kendall was desperately unlucky not to double the hosts’ lead.

A long ball was played over the top of the visitors’ defence and, with the Clapton goalkeeper rushing from his goal line, Kendall attempted a chip from 30 yards.

The winger’s effort looked destined for the back of the net, but Kendall struck the crossbar and the rebound was easily saved. Seven minutes after the restart, Charlery came within inches of meeting a deep cross from Selby-Knight at the back post, but the winger’s outstretched leg could not connect with the ball with the goal at his mercy.

But just two minutes later, Basildon doubled their lead as Barton’s header across the face of goal was blasted into the roof of the net by Bowers.

Clapton, who were runners-up in the Essex Senior League last term, struggled to fashion clear-cut opportunities.

When the visitors did have a clear sight of goal, they could not find a way past Bees goalkeeper Connor Wheatley and the Bees were able to get the Harrison era off to a winning start.


Celebrate - Aaron Russell is congratulated by his team-mates after doubling Great Wakering Rovers' lead against Stansted Picture: SUSAN WATTS

Meanwhile, Great Wakering Rovers claimed their first win of 2017 as they saw off Stanstead thanks to strikes from Bradley Nobbs and Aaron Russell in a 2-0 win.

Hullbridge Sports played out a 2-2 draw against Waltham Forest.

Luca Frankis put Hullbridge into a seventh minute lead, but the visitors equalised two minutes later.

Frankis bagged his second five minutes after the break but Waltham Forest got back on level terms quickly again to take a share of the spoils.

>See Monday's Echo for full reaction from the opening day of the Essex Senior League season.