THERE was a spectacular, if highly unusual, start to this weekend’s Thurlow Nunn League fixtures.

It came in the first division south showdown between north Essex pair HOLLAND FC and HALSTEAD TOWN.

The sides started in fourth and third positions respectively but it was Holland who leapfrogged their visitors after a hard-earned 1-0 victory.

That only tells half the story, though, as the all-important winning goal was something of a collector’s item – coming as early as the 15th second and scored by none other than goalkeeper Nick Wilson.

The shot-stopper launched a long clearance upfield and the ball took a bounce that deceived Humbugs counterpart Jack Cherry.

Cherry got a hand to the ball but was powerless to prevent it spinning over his head into the net.

It was a remarkable incident and one that proved the defining moment of the night.

Elsewhere on Friday, STANWAY ROVERS ran out 4-0 winners in their premier division clash at home to Hadleigh United – their goals came from Remi Garrett, Jamie Shaw, Milo Grimes and Tom Holdstock - while Jamie Beecham’s goal proved only a consolation in LITTLE OAKLEY'S 4-1 first division south defeat at Frenford.

Attention then switched to Saturday’s fixtures and in-form FC CLACTON were hoping to make it six victories in a row, when they entertained Godmanchester Rovers.

Kyelan Marvell was making his 300th appearance and the celebratory mood continued when Mekhi McKenzie headed home Billy Wales’ corner.

However, Godmanchester notched twice at the start of the second half to go 2-1 ahead.

Charlie Thompson nodded home from close range to make it all-square but the visitors quickly scored again to go home with the points.

BRANTHAM ATHLETIC were on their travels to the side one place and one point above them - Mildenhall Town – but lost 4-0.

Back to division one south and WIVENHOE TOWN had a home date with basement boys Fire United.

The ruthless Dragons stormed to a 6-0 victory thanks to goals from Dean Merrett (two), David Lopez, Sam Mead, Jack Mead, from the penalty spot, and Angus Poole.

HARWICH AND PARKESTON were also at home, against Wormley Rovers, and triumphed 3-0 thanks to goals from Jordan Heath, Sean Bartlett and Joe Knight.

COGGESHALL UNITED entertained Barkingside and came from behind to win 4-2, thanks to goals from Chiagozie Emeh (two), Lewis Soraf and Oti Solo, but BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT RESERVES lost 3-1 at home to White Ensign.

So it was a weekend of success for Stanway, Wivenhoe, Harwich and Coggeshall.

However, our performance award this week goes to Holland – partly because of the bizarre circumstances surrounding their winning goal but mainly because it was such a significant, top-of-the-table success.

In addition to going third, it took them level on points with Oakley, with a game in hand on the second-placed Acorns.