After a busy pre-season following promotion to the Bostik League North, it was a mixed opening day for the new boys, Hertford Town, Mildenhall Town and Barking.
Spartan South Midlands League promotees Hertford were the only one of the trio to pick up a point – drawing 2-2 at Brentwood Town.
Matt Price gave the hosts an early 5th minute lead that Harrison Georgiou doubled 5 minutes before the break.
But credit Hertford, who battled back to earn a share of the spoils with two goals in 3 minutes midway through the second half from Charlie Edwards and defender Ollie Sharman – Brentwood ending up with ten-men after Georgiou received a second yellow card in stoppage time.
Thurlow Nunn League champions Mildenhall found themselves a goal behind at Scraley Road against Heybridge Swifts in the 17th minute through Reece Grant.
Grant then added his and the home side`s second 10 minutes later, and although Chris Bacon reduced the deficit 13 minutes from time, Hall were unable to find a leveller and had full-back Jake Kerins sent-off for a second booking late on.
Essex Senior League winners Barking marked their return to the league with a best-of-five defeat at Mayesbrook against former rivals Waltham Abbey.
Billy Holland put the visitors in front after 10 minutes, but that was cancelled out by Ben O`Brien 6 minutes later.
Darelle Russell then restored the Abbots` lead 15 minutes from time and Chris Assobolonga added a third 5 minutes from time.
Billy Jones pulled a second back for the Blues from the penalty spot, but the hosts held on.
Two of the relegated sides, AFC Sudbury and Canvey Island, met at the Wardale Williams Stadium and shared a 1-1 draw.
The first half was short on chances, but it was the visitors who took the lead just before the interval through the returning George Sykes.
The second period saw the hosts a little more in the game and they were finally reward on 88 minutes when Adam Mills fired in a free-kick low past Conor Gough.
The other side who came down from the Premier, Grays Athletic, won the derby against Tilbury at Chadfields.
Kieran Bishop gave the visiting Blues a 53rd minute breakthrough.
Emiel Aiken looked to have earned the Dockers a point when he levelled 6 minutes from time, but a Bishop penalty in stoppage time sealed victory for Jamie Stuart`s side.
A crowd of 354 at Aveley`s new Parkside ground saw Terry Spillane`s fancied hosts lose 3-1 to Bowers & Pitsea.
Fahad Nyanja broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half to give the visitors the lead.
Lewis Manor doubled that 10 minutes later and, after Jordan Peart had pulled one back on 70 minutes, Manor`s second 9 minutes from time, won it for the visitors.
Potters Bar Town, switched from the Evo-Stik League South East, began life in the Bostik North with a 2-1 success at Witham Town.
It was 0-0 at the break, but just 4 minutes into the second period, Usman Adeniji gave the hosts the lead.
Less than a minute later though, Eoin Casey equalised and almost straight from the restart, George Nicholas made it 2-1 to the Scholars, which is how the scoreline remained.
AFC Hornchurch are one of the favourites for promotion and started well with a 3-0 Bridge Road success against Soham Town Rangers with goals from Brad Warner after 6 minutes, George Purcell after 72 minutes and Ross Wall 6 minutes from time.
Kevin Horlock`s Maldon & Tiptree are also tipped to go up this season and won 1-0 at Wodson Park against Ware, courtesy of a goal 4 minutes before the break from Chris Millar.
Haringey Borough and Dereham Town were the day`s other winners.
Boro were 2-0 winners at Plantation Park against Norwich United, thanks to a 6th minute Andy Eastaugh own goal and one from Michael Ademayui 2 minutes from time, while a goal from former Lowestoft Town favourite Jamie Forshaw just past the hour-mark proved enough for Dereham at home to Cheshunt.
Bury Town and Romford shared a 1-1 Ram Meadow draw in the opening day`s other game.
All the goals came late, with Jonathan Nzenga putting the visitors ahead 18 minutes from the end and Cemal Ramadan levelling 9 minutes from time.