The veterans started the season with a win and a repeat of the scoreline from the last time the two sides met towards the end of last season at Highfields. On that occasion, Hardly Athletic took the lead and Calverton took a while to get in to their stride; not so this time as the Veterans quickly got in to their side and created plenty of chances, despite fielding a side that showed a few changes from the end of last season.
With regular goalkeeper Mark Armstrong nursing a hand injury, Mark Corcoran took the gloves, and with several regulars unavailable, it was a different Calverton team and formation. But the Vets started well and looked in control of the game from the early stages, the returning duo of Keith Harrison amd Carl Wall looking solid at the back in fromt of Corcoran, who had little to do in the opening 15 minutes.
After enjoying some good possesion early on, Calverton took the lead after 15 minutes; Paul Mapplebeck showing he's still full of running, latching on to a through ball before beating the keeper from just inside the penalty area with the aid of a slight defelction.
And it should have been 2-0 moments later as Steve Beresford took advantage of a defensive mix up to run clear and find himself one-on-one with the 'keeper, but made a complete mess and failed to get a shot away, eventually being crowded out by the 'keeper and defenders who had time to get back and cover.
This proved to be a costly miss as Hardly equalised with their first pressure on the Calverton goal after half an hour. A cross from the left was only parried by stand-in keeper Corcoran and the ball fell invitingly to the feet of one of the Hardly attackers who made no mistake from inside the box.
Calverton lost their way towards the end of the first half, but could have retaken the lead on the stroke of half time. Ian Bird found space on the left, cut inside the box and crossed for the unmarked Mapplebeck who headed over from 3 yards with the keeper nowhere.
However, it was a much more solid second half display and Calverton piled on the pressure with both Ian Bird and Eddie Prempeh finding lots of space to attack the full-backs. And it was Prempeh who set up Beresford to make amends for his earlier miss, sweeping past one defender and squaring the ball into Beresford's path who hit the ball first time into the bottom left corner and restoring the lead.
And Calverton added a third within 10 minutes as Mark Beeby - having a great game at left-back, founf Mapplebeck in space again, who beat the defender to the ball and squared for Eddie Prempeh, who calmly beat the defender before slotting neatly past the keeper from inside the box.
Calverton rarely looked troubled after this point, The back four standing up to what little pressure there was and Dave Roper having a great game alongside Mapplebeck in the middle of the park.
A great start to the season for the veterans!