PERSHORE Town’s opening day draw left boss Les Jones with mixed emotions despite expecting the frontrunners to take time to emerge in this season's West Midlands (Regional) League.

Town failed to take advantage of a strong first-half display in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with promoted Darlaston Town (1874).

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It took until the 40th minute for Pershore to break the deadlock, albeit in controversial circumstances.

Nick Seabourne's hotly-disputed free-kick was repelled but only as far as James Baldwin who tucked in the rebound.

The lead was short lived, though, as Darlo levelled through Reis Nadat's cheeky backheel from Sam Causton's near-post ball.

Chances were few and far between in a scrappy second half to leave Jones pondering what might have been.

“We created enough to put the game to bed in the first half, the second was very bitty,” said Jones.

“There were some great situations but the final ball wasn’t quite there or they made an interception just at the right time so it was disappointing in one respect.

“At the same time, Darlaston won promotion last season and were full of enthusiasm. They are a decent team so all in all it was a typical first game.

“We didn’t lose and there were some really good signs. We were encouraged but a bit disappointed.”

Next up is Saturday’s trip to Dudley Sports (3pm), 2-1 winners over Pershore’s local rivals Littleton on the opening day.

“I have been in the West Midlands (Regional) League for a few years now and it tends to take eight to 10 games to settle down,” added Jones.

“This season will be even tighter with teams fancying their chances of getting one of four promotion places, there are some more ambitious clubs going for it this time.

“It will take time to find out who the top sides are. Wolverhampton Sporting Community came down and had a massive win on Saturday (8-1 over Bilston Town).

"Dudley Sports, Black Country Rangers, Shifnal, Littleton, they will all want to be pushing. There will be eight or more teams in the mix.”

Jones hopes to have attacking midfielder Sam Clark back available for the first away day as well as a new right-back after losing Curtis Townley to Hinckley AFC in the build up to the new campaign.

“We are looking to replace Curtis, it was not ideal but one of those things,” said Jones.

“It was disappointing to lose a player to a club at the same level but all we can do is get on with it and hopefully bring in a replacement in time for Saturday.”

Jones confirmed negotiations with ex-Worcester City midfielder Danny Jackman had yet to proceed any further but that Town remained open to the prospect.