Having not played since October 24 due to the second national lockdown, Ludlow restarted their Premier Division campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to fellow high-flyers Shrewsbury Juniors.
Connor Davies-Austin capped a lively start by Ludlow when he fired them in front, but Ryan Mansell levelled for Juniors before the break in a clash that saw three red cards – one for the hosts and two for the visitors.
And while feeling a touch frustrated not to have grabbed the win, Ludlow’s joint boss Chris Waldron admitted a point each was a fair outcome with the hosts not at their free-flowing best following the break.
“We managed to get a training session in before we resumed the season, but you could definitely tell we hadn’t played for a while,” said Waldron. “But we were glad to be back playing.
“We started brightly and played well for the first 20 minutes or so, but after that we didn’t seem to be quite at it to be honest.
“There was a bit of frustration we couldn’t nick a win late on, but I think a draw was a fair result.
“Neither team created much and neither goalkeeper had much to do.”
The draw left Ludlow sitting in second spot in the standings, two points behind leaders Steam Wagon and three in front of third-placed Juniors, but Waldron is playing down any title talk at this stage of the season.
“We want to be competing for things, that’s why you play, but it’s too early to be thinking about the title,” he added. “We just want to keep winning games and to keep pushing on.
“I think it’s starting to whittle down to four of five sides who are competing at the top. There are some good players and good sides in the league.
“The league is better than I thought it would be and making the move from the West Midlands League was definitely the right decision.”
Ludlow will be looking to add three more points to their tally when they head to struggling AFC Bridgnorth Development on Saturday. Juniors are away to Madeley Sports.
While Ludlow and Juniors failed to fire in front of goal, Steam Wagon and Newport Town found their shooting boots.
Table-toppers Steam Wagon led the way with a resounding 10-1 victory at home to Madeley Sports.
Joe Parry and Charlie Musselwhite proved too hot to handle for the visiting defence.
Parry topped the scoring charts with a four-goal blast with Musselwhite bagging a hat-trick. Zeke Mellor, Tom Sayce and Harry Morris rounded off an emphatic win for Wagon, who host Gobowen Celtic this weekend.
There was plenty of goalmouth action at Shuker Fields as Newport Town beat Church Stretton Town 8-3.
Benjamin Simmons led the way with a hat-trick for the hosts. He was joined on the scoresheet by team-mates Daniel Parry, Jordan Turton-Croasdale, William Parker, Benjamin Summers and Callum Wilson.
Edward Ashlin, James Hill and Dean Richards found the net for Church Stretton, who dropped to eighth in the table while Newport are up to sixth.
Jason Clare was the hero as Ams FC headed home from Shrewsbury Up & Comers FC with all three points.
Clare scored in the 89th-minute to secure a hard-fought victory.
Ams, who are now up to fifth in the standings, travel to Newport on Saturday while Shrewsbury Up & Comers welcome Madeley Sports.
Prees United are still leading the way in Division One after recording a fourth win in five outings.
They maintained their impressive start to the season with a 3-1 success at Brown Clee.
Ams Development are hot on the heels of the leaders following a third straight win – 1-0 at home to Telford Amateurs. Shaun Taylor bagged the winner.
AMS, who have two games in hand over rivals Prees, travel to Brown Clee next.
Dawley Town Reserves picked up their first win of the campaign at the expense of Morda.
The 3-1 success saw them leapfrog their opponents in the table.