Northwich Victoria and Witton Albion are both fancied to do well in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League's First Division South after their summer switches south, writes Steve Whitney.
However, Vics dropped two home points to Basford United on Saturday after Fabian Smith grabbed a last-gasp equaliser. Earlier, Yaw Gyimah had put Vics in front six minutes into the second half, only for Kyle Dixon to level six minutes later. Alex Byrne`s 80th minute second for the home side looked to have won it until Smith levelled.
Witton won 3-1 at relegated Stamford AFC`s Zeeco Stadium with Rob Hopley bagging a brace in the 3rd and 34th minutes.
Ryan Robbins reduced the arrears 10 minutes after the break but Karl Noon made sure with a third for the visitors nine minutes from time.
Bedworth United, who came down from the EVO-STIK League Southern Premier and were then switched to the NPL again, shared a 2-2 draw at the Oval with Spalding United.
Bradley Wells gave them a 2-0 lead in the 19th and 33rd minutes before Dan Creaney on 65 minutes and then Luke Rowe seven minutes from the end pulled the Greenbacks back on level terms.
Another switched club, much-fancied AFC Rushden & Diamonds, began with a 1-0 defeat at the Lyme Valley Stadium against Newcastle Town, for whom Jacob Lovatt netted the winner two minutes from time.
Another fancied side, Shaw Lane AFC, began well, winning 3-1 at Chasetown with Gavin Allott bagging a brace either side of Jonathan Wafula`s 40th minute effort – Jack Langston replying for the Scholars right on half-time.
Dexter Walters' 39th minute goal proved enough for Romulus at Sheffield FC, while Jonathan Williams with two and Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, saw Belper Town to a 3-1 win at Kidsgrove Athletic, for whom Anthony Malbon replied from the spot.
Will Whieldon was another to bag a brace on the opening day for Market Drayton Town in a 3-1 home success against Stocksbridge Park Steels.
He scored twice in the second half after Paul McMullen had given the home side a 45th minute lead – Joe Lumsden replying four minutes from time.
Saturday's other opening day games ended all-square. Matt Cotton gave Lincoln United the lead just before the break at Ashby Avenue against Leek Town, whose Jordan Johnson levelled just past the hour-mark.
When Andy Gooding put Rugby Town 2-0 up in the 81st minute following David Kolodynski`s 48th minute opener, there seemed to be no way back for hosts Gresley FC. And Courtney Meade`s 89th minute reply looked like a consolation, until Pearson Mwanyongo grabbed an equaliser from the spot in stoppage time.
There was also late drama at Carlton Town against Loughborough Dynamo, who trailed at half-time to a Niall Davie effort.
Ben Wallace levelled on 58 minutes and then Matt Gardner gave Dynamo a 68th minute lead. Danny Gordon pulled the home side back on terms on 81 minutes and then the sides swapped injury-time goals – Josh Rae for the home side and Luke Day for the visitors.