The main focus of attention as the newly-named Bostik League Premier got underway today was on big-spending Billericay Town.
However, in front of a crowd of 1,141, visiting Kingstonian obviously hadn`t read the script as they won the match with a last-minute Lewis Taylor strike.
It was an outstanding backs-to-the-wall performance by K’s against the star-studded hosts, who included Jermaine Pennant, Kevin Foley and Paul Konchesky in the line-up.
But they finished with ten-man after Joe Elull was sent-off with 9 minutes to go after a foul on K`s Tom Derry.
— Kingstonian FC (@KingstonianFC) August 12, 2017
Of the newly-promoted teams, only Tooting & Mitcham United and Brightlingsea Regent managed to avoid opening day defeats – and that`s because they played each other and shared a 1-1 draw in which Tom Richardson`s 26th minute opener for the Essex visitors was cancelled out by the Terrors` Billy Dunn 3 minutes after half-time.
Mark Stimson`s Thurrock lost 1-0 at home to Margate, relegated from the Vanarama National League South and expected to challenge to go straight back up again under Steve Watt.
Frannie Collin`s goal 2 minutes into the second half proved enough for Gate.
Dorking Wanderers also went down 1-0, away to a Leiston outfit who challenged for the top five last term.
Kyle Hammond scored the only goal for the Suffolk side immediately after half-time.
Merstham, the league`s Emirates FA Cup heroes of 2016/17, were the day`s biggest winners, inflicting a 4-1 defeat on Wingate & Finchley at Moatside.
Substitute Alex Addai bagged a brace after 37 and 44 minutes to put the hosts 2-0 up at the break.
Former Crystal Palace winger Ryan Hall added a third from the penalty spot just past the hour-mark and, after Afolabi Obafemi had reduced the arrears in the 73rd minute, another sub, Youssef Bamba, made it 4-1 just 5 minutes later.
Jim Cooper`s Metropolitan Police were 3-1 winners at Imber Court against Worthing.
Lloyd Macklin gave the Met a great start with the opening goal inside the first minute.
It was 2-0 with only 8 minutes gone through Ryan James and when Macklin grabbed his second and the Met`s third with only half-an-hour gone, they threatened to run riot.
But Worthing stopped the flow and `won` the second half, courtesy of a 58th minute Zack Newton effort.
Jack Midson bagged a brace to help Leatherhead to an opening day win at Fetcham Grove against Lowestoft Town.
Midson scored the first after just 6 minutes and eventually doubled that 12 minutes from time, with Travis Cole netting a last-gasp consolation for the Trawlerboys.
Anthony O`Connor was another two-goal hero as Harrow Borough opened up with a win at Earlsmead against Harlow Town.
Alex Read had put the Hawks in front after 33 minutes, but O`Connor`s first cancelled that out just 2 minutes later and he grabbed the winner with less than 7 minutes remaining.
Nathan Elder scored the only goal at Longmead as Tonbridge Angels began the new season with a 1-0 win over Hendon.
Elder`s breakthrough goal came 13 minutes from time in front of just under 500.
The other three matches all ended one apiece.
Callum Harrison gave Needham Market the lead right on half-time at Leylands Park against Burgess Hill Town.
Substitute Matt Nezval grabbed the Hillians` equaliser 14 minutes from time.
— Burgess Hill Town FC (@Official_BHTFC) August 12, 2017
Drew Roberts gave Andy Leese`s Enfield Town the lead straight after half-time at the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium against Folkestone Invicta.
But Adam Yusuff equalised 15 minutes from time.
Fancied Dulwich Hamlet got off to a flier at Champion Hill in front of 1,096 against Staines Town when Nathan Green gave them the lead after just 4 minutes.
But Lewis Driver grabbed a point for Johnson Hippolyte`s side with 63 minutes gone on the clock.