GAS Recreation defeated Tiptree Heath in the Essex and Suffolk Border League's season opener for the AV Lee Cup.

The final took place at Brantham Athletic and it was a case of ‘villain turned hero’ as Gas keeper Glen Morrison settled an absorbing final with the champions prevailing after extra-time and penalties.

Gas were leading 2-0 just before the interval but that advantage was halved after their keeper conceded a penalty.

This gave impetus to Tiptree’s improved second-half performance and they deservedly took the game into extra time.

However, a further 30 minutes could not separate the sides, the match finishing 2-2 with Aston Firkins and an own goal on target for Gas while James Chesney and Charlie Green replied for Tiptree.

Enter the mighty Morrison, who brilliantly saved the opening two Tiptree spot-kicks.

For good measure, he then powered home the third kick for Gas, meaning they won the penalty shoot-out 4-2.

The league programme commenced on Saturday.

In the premier division, Little Oakley Reserves made a great start at Hatfield Peverel, winning 4-0 with two goals from Ross Brazitis and one each from Josh Caudill and Robert Pratt.

Great Bentley also started well, with Jack Murray’s side defeating West Bergholt 4-1.

It was a goal apiece at half-time but the home side ran out easy winners with goals from Joseph Hurd and Dale Brown.

Earls Colne made an encouraging start to their campaign, taking a point on the road against Alresford Colne Rangers at Ford Lane.

In a 1-1 draw, Brett Bellamy got Rangers' goal while Ronnie Edwards ensured a point for the visitors.

Gas followed up their midweek cup success with a 1-0 victory at promoted Tiptree Engine, thanks to a goal from Jack Gregory.

There were six goals shared at School Lane, where Lawford Lads were held by White Notley in a 3-3 draw.

Oliver Mann hit two while Nicholas Bolingbroke added the third.

The visitors' goals came from Lee Ifield, Sean Radley and substitute Robert King.

In division one, promoted Gosfield United opened their account with a 2-2 draw at Church Road against visiting Bell Vue Social.

Dean and Jake Gilder were the home scorers and Josh Grimes replied with a brace.

Cressing United impressed with a 4-1 home win against Little Oakley A, with goals from Craig Copas, Daniel Miller, Robert Olding and substitute Daniel French.

Gary Stanford scored the consolation goal.

Stanway Rovers Reserves, new to the league, were given a shooting lesson at the Hawthorns from visiting Colne Athletic, who rattled up four first-half goals and finally won 6-2.

Their goals came from Ryan Ellis, Luke Goldie-McSorley, Luke Rogers, Josh Vaughan and a Scott Yearling brace.

Rovers replied through Charlie Davis and Christian Walsh.

There was a goal feast at Brundon Lane, where Sudbury Sports beat visiting FC Clacton Reserves 9-3.

In another high-scoring match, Bures United beat Mersea Island 7-1.

In division two, the highlight was a convincing performance from Elmden Rovers against Rowhedge, winning 7-1.

There was a fine display from Ben Justice, who hit the net four times.

However, not to be outdone, Lennard Tulloch-Marsh weighed in with a hat-trick to give the Little Clacton-based side a near perfect start to their campaign.