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Under-strength Shortwood open the season with a defeat

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Shortwood’s injury ill-luck was clearly evident as they slumped to an opening day defeat at FC Stratford.

Missing captain Joe Tryner, Josh Beadle, and Chalmers Phin, they lost debutant Declan Earwacker in the second-half forcing boss Mat Blythe to turn back the clock and play the final 22 minutes.

Shortwood United boss Mat Blythe Pic: Matt Bigwood

Wood looked disjointed from the get-go. Rovers were indebted to Aaron Taylor on his debut, the former Frampton stopper making a number of stunning saves.

However, FC Stratford nosed into a two-goal lead after the break.

Luke Soule pulled a goal back for Shortwood when he converted a Minola Marquez cross.

Shortwood: Aaron Taylor, Max Harper – Emerson, Alex Bartlett, Declan Earwacker (Mat Blythe 68), Jacob Nowell, Fin Byrnes, Keiran Marks (Charlie Hobbs56), Louis Peyton, Luke Soule, Lee Bowles, Minola Marquez

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