Romford and Barkingside both celebrated opening night wins as the new non-league season got underway on Friday.

Boro welcomed Essex Senior League rivals Saffron Walden Town to the Lawtech Stadium, running out 5-1 winners.

And 'Side claimed a 3-0 victory over Thurlow Nunn League Division One South rivals May & Baker at Aveley's Parkside Stadium.

Romford needed just three minutes to open their account as Jamie Hursit found Jayden Silcott-Brown and his low cross was tapped in by Finlay Dorrell.

The same pair went close to repeating the trick soon after, but the Bloods were back on level terms on nine minutes through Reece Barrett's low shot.

Boro regained their lead on 12 minutes, though, as Silcott-Brown crossed again for Dorrell to head against the crossbar, with Bruno Gomes sweeping home the rebound.

The visitors hit the woodwork on 16 minutes through Charlie Cole, but Boro keeper Jake Anderson was a virtual spectator for the most part.

Michael Turner headed wide from Kris Newby's corner and James Young denied Silcott-Brown with a save, before seeing Hursit's cross drop just wide of the post.

But it was 3-1 on 29 minutes as Gomes found Charlie Morris and his low cross was converted by Dorrell.

Young pushed another Dorrell attempt away for a corner, but Walden were reduced to 10 men when George Pullen scythed down Morris and was shown a red card.

Morris was replaced at the break by Sonny Shilling, with other changes made by boss Dan Spinks during the second half.

Dorrell completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes when Jacob Wiggins found Junior Luke and his cross was headed in via a post.

Shilling's free-kick was superbly saved by Young after Jordan Sarfo was tripped, while Seedorf Mendes was thwarted by a low save on 83 minutes.

But Boro completed their nap hand when Shilling shot home from close range in stoppage time after Mendes and Harrison Georgiou had combined.

Barkingside, meanwhile, beat Bakers to bag three points of their own and give new manager James Wakeling and his squad a perfect start to the 2023-24 campaign.

"The boys worked well through the hard patches of the game when they had the ball," said midfielder Oswald Nyahunda.

"We had to really ride a storm in that first half but in the second half we took our chances well to shut out the game."

Bakers boss Jimmy Donald said: "Disappointing result, we played some positive football in the first half of the game and lacked doing the hardest thing in football, putting the ball away in the back of the net.

"Credit and congratulations to James and Barkingside where it's due, goals on a counter and a worldie.

"We go again on Wednesday vs Cannons Wood. The league is a marathon and I'm confident we can mix it with the best."

Saturday sees Barking entertain Buckhurst Hill in the Essex Senior League, while Ilford host Halstead Town.

Sporting Bengal United travel to Great Wakering, Frenford make their debut at step five at Little Oakley and Woodford Town travel to Takeley, with Athletic Newham at Tilbury.

In the Thurlow Nunn League, Clapton welcome Benfleet and Hackney Wick host Brimsdown, while Hutton head to Harlow Town and Clapton Community travel to Wormley Rovers.