They left it late, but Nelson Suburbs have opened their season with a win.
The first round of Nelson Bays Football first division saw a stalemate on the cards at Saxton, both Suburbs and Nelson College playing cautious football in the opening spell.
But with just on five minutes remaining, Josh Smith netted for the hosts to take a 1-0 lead.
The closing stages saw a desperate college team throw everything at Suburbs, but some strong defence saw Suburbs take the hard-earned victory.
Suburbs coach Jaap Van de Geest says he is absolutely delighted with the win.
“It’s very important we start the season with a clean sheet and to win against a quality college side is just fantastic.”
Jaap says his side have a lot of ground to make up for after last year’s poor season.
“Their effort was 110 per cent today, so I can’t complain.”
He says during the last ten minutes, the heart-rate was quite elevated but Jaap had a lot of faith in his troops. “They have been training very well in the pre-season, they’re fit and that’s what won it for us.”
Jaap was also impressed with the composure his team displayed. “We were put under a lot of pressure, but we didn’t crack.”
In other results, defending champions FC Nelson also registered a win in their opening encounter against Tahuna FC at Victory Square.
Goals to Mateo Barrau and Wesley Olea saw Nelson 2-0 up at half time.
Daniel Grimshaw scored a late consolation goal for the visitors but it wasn’t enough as FC Nelson took the win 2-1.
In the weekend’s other division one fixture, the returning Rangers demolished Richmond Athletic 5-0.
In the women’s division one the Richmond Swans were upset by FC Nelson 4-1 in a one-sided affair at Jubilee Park.
Nelson College for Girls thrashed Suburbs 6-1 at Little Wembley while defending champions Richmond Foxes lost to Waimea College 2-0.