Oakham United got off to the best possible start to the new PDFL Premier Division league season with a surprise 5-2 away win at heavily fancied Coates Athletics.
The match was played in front of a bumper crowd of 401 at Whittlesey on Sunday thanks to being part of the league’s GroundhopUK weekend.
Groundhop is a national programme to promote non-league football. This weekend seven games from the UCL and PDFL were played at staggered times meaning fans could get to each match.
The programme was a huge success with hundreds of people watching games around the area.
Oakham unleashed a stunning five goal performance to lay down a marker for the rest of the season.
The victory is particularly of note because in the off season PDFL outfits Coates Athletic and Whittlesey United merged to become a ‘super club.’
The new club will initially play under the Coates banner due to ongoing funding applications before being renamed as Whittlesey Athletic in the future.
Jamie Forbes opened the scoring for United in the 15th minute before the hosts levelled a minute later through Dan Drane.
But the scores were even for only a matter of minutes with new signing Adam Rothery notching his first competitive goal for the club in the 18th minute.
Richard Nelson added a third before the break.
After half time another of the club’s new signings Tom Caldicott extended the lead before Coates pulled one back to make it 4-2.
Michael Nelson put the icing on the cake with a fifth goal with just eight minutes left to play.
Rutland neighbours Uppingham were also involved in Groundhop weekend, playing on Saturday afternoon but they had a less successful start to the new season, losing 3-1 to Riverside on Sunday.
Uppingham’s match was played in front of a crowd of 257 at Queen’s Park in Yaxley.
Oakham’s high-scoring exploits see them sitting top-of-the-league in the PDFL Premier, however most clubs have yet to start their season.
The league starts in earnest this weekend when 14 of the 17 teams in the league will be in action.