Hurst Green made it three wins out of three with a fine 3-1 victory against newly-relegated Crookland Casuals.
It was Casuals’ first visit to Smithy Row, and the hosts made sure the hospitality was put aside the minute the referee blew his whistle to commence proceedings.
With only two minutes on the clock, William Nolan raced into the box, only to be unfairly sandwiched by two defenders.
Tom Divver despatched the resultant penalty into the top right corner.
The Green continued in the ascendancy, and a deserved second goal came on 21 minutes when a smart through ball from Matt Gummerson split the defence and Tom Reede was there to fire home from 18 yards.
Green played with high energy and constantly troubled the Casuals defence.
The evergreen Sam Hayes proved a constant threat, showing his strength and skill in holding the ball and creating chance after chance.
The Green had goalkeeper Jack Lawrence to thank for heading into the break with a two-goal lead.
On the stroke of half-time, a free-kick found an unmarked player in the six-yard box, but Lawrence saved instinctively from point-blank range.
Casuals proved more of a threat in the second half, with the home team perhaps showing some signs of early season fatigue – unsurprisingly given the tremendous tempo at which they played the first half.
Danny Mort was introduced soon into the second half when he was moved into the central striker role.
Hayes’ consequent move out wide appeared a master stroke as he provided the perfect outlet with Casuals threatening more and more.
On 75 minutes, Hayes’ strong run and shot could only be palmed by the keeper to the feet of the onrushing Mort, and despite a bobble, the ball hit the roof of the net.
The visitors continued to push forward, hoping to capitalise on tired legs.
They managed a deserved consolation five minutes from time when Kieran Clarke was first to a parry from Lawrence.