Witham Town 1, Tilbury 3
DOCKERS boss Graham Chester was delighted with his side’s winning start to the Ryman Division One North season.

Tilbury wrapped up the points thanks to a hat-trick from Chris Stowe, though Chester was keen to ensure the striker didn’t hog the limelight.

“It was a great all round performance from everyone and at the end I felt a little sorry for Jason Fontaine up front with Stowe because he deserved a goal too,” said the new man in the Tilbury hot seat.

“However, I am sure it will come soon because he looks very sharp. All round though it was a great performance and the scoreline doesn’t reflect how dominant we were.

"With a bit more luck we could have had more and it shows something that other than Chris, their keeper was man of the match.”

Chester is pleased with the way his new look squad is knitting together and said he felt his new signings Joe Keith and Michael Black, the latest addition to the squad from Billericay, would prove influential in the coming weeks.

“We’ve got good players in our engine room with those and as I’ve got some quality defensive players to come back in too, I am feeling very confident of a successful season,” he said. "I was very encouraged by the whole team performance today."

Off the field the club continue to make rapid progress too. In the wake of a tie up with local developers Montana, which is set to culminate in a new £3million stadium, Dockers have now secured a sponsorship deal with Port of Tilbury, to supplement the existing deal with McDonalds.

“Things are going extremely well, “ added Chester. “We have received superb backing from the Port of Tilbury and I would like to express my extreme gratitude to the MD there, Perry Glading, and other members of his team who are giving us substantial support.”

And the club’s growing youth set-up is also going well, with Chester now looking for managers for several of his younger sides.

“We need managers at several age groups. Everything is in place, the coaching, the kit, the grounds and the support. We just need someone, either parents or any interested parties, to get involved on match days,” said the Dockers boss, who can be contacted on 07896108448.

Witham kicked-off in the bright sunshine with a strong wind at their backs, but it was Tilbury who took the early initiative.

Midfielder Greg Cohen set the pattern after eight minutes controlling a pass from Clinton Hodge and forcing a good save from Rhys Madden.

Three minutes later Martin Butkus was the provider for Jason Fontaine who unleashed a furious effort, Madden needing to be sharp to get a hand to the ball to palm it out for another Tilbury corner.

Stowe looked to have a good shout for a penalty when he was brought down in the box and he was linking up well with Jamie Wallace, the combination forcing two more saves from the busy Madden.

Cohen forced another stop from Madden, who was then at his best making a 28th minute save to deny Madden.

Tilbury were dominant and it was no more than they deserved three minutes later when Cohen delivered a perfectly weighted ball onto the head of Stowe, who guided it into the net from 10 yards out.

Witham finally got into the match and on 38 minutes had a chance to equalise through a long ball over the top of the advancing Tilbury defence, but Joe Keith sprinted 30 yards back to make a fine sliding tackle.

With two minutes of the half remaining, Dockers extended their lead from a corner, Stowe nodding the ball onto the underside of the bar and into the net.

Tilbury were caught napping eight minutes after the break when a free kick 40 yards out was drilled into their box and sat up nicely for Witham’s skipper Nathan Fletcher to crash the ball home from close range.

However, within a minute Dockers had the two goal lead back when Madden fumbled in his six yard area and Stowe was on hand to knock the ball past him.

In the closing stages Witham stepped up a gear and Tilbury had to sit back and absorb the pressure, Keith and Martin Butkus working hard in the Tilbury defence And keeper Andy Hall was forced to make a spectacular save from close range.

But it was too little, too late for the home side and Dockers held onto the points.

The final word was with Chester, who said: “I asked my players to give me what I have given them since joining the Club and that is 100 per cent, they did that and made me and the Tilbury die-hards supporters who travelled to Witham today very proud. “We have a tough game at home on Tuesday night against Ware, so we need to keep our feet solidly on the ground and take each game as it comes.”

Tilbury: Andy Hall, Nathan Philip, Joe Keith, Martin Butkus, Michael Black, Erkan Yusef, Greg Cohen, Clinton Hodge (68), Jason Fontaine (84), Chris Stowe, Jamie Wallace (61). Subs: Danny Thomas (61) Leon Ryan (68) Michael Green (84), Chris Barratt, Bobby Mason.