FAIRFIELD Villa overcame a host of absences and the surprise departure of stalwart Jamie Hatfield to make a fine start to the Midland Football League Division Two by beating Paget Rangers 3-2 on Saturday.

The Recreation Ground outfit had been rocked by the loss of Hatfield, who opted to end his long involvement with the club to sign for Division One side Southam United.

They were also without injured keeper Neil Leach and absent pair Ryan Molesworth and Lewis Cosgrove, Despite all the absences, Villa produced an impressive display to bag all three points.

New addition John Pykett opened the scoring in the third minute, before Connor Collins doubled Villa’s lead.

Rangers pulled one back but Collins made it 3-1 in the 81st minute, before Marcus Brown bagged a consolation.

Joint Villa boss Paul Oakes said: “It was a good display.

“The squad is looking very strong this season, we were missing a lot of guys who would have started and were playing against a good side but we won very well.

“Jamie Hatfield dropped a bombshell about going to Southam after we had beaten them in pre-season 2-1.

“He’s been involved with the club for years but he goes with our blessing, he’s a great lad and we wish him the best of luck.”

Villa entertain Kenilworth Town at home on Saturday (3pm ko).

  •  Meanwhile, Droitwich Spa produced a stirring fight-back before a late flurry of goals saw them lose 6-2 to Sutton United.

Trailing 3-0, Spa rallied as James Baldwin and Chris Higginson hit the back of the net.

But United bagged three goals in the final ten minutes to secure all three points.

Droitwich entertain Knowle in the league on Saturday (3pm ko).

  • l In the Bromsgrove and District League Premier Division, Bromsgrove Unionists recorded a 4-2 win over Golden Lion Athletic.

Goals for Ian Carlson, Tom Stafford and a Brad Alger double did the damage.

Alvechurch Lions, reborn after a season out, were held 0-0 by Meadow Park.

In Division One, North Colts United started with a 4-2 away win at Santiago RV.