Vauxhall took the lead but suffered a 2-1 home defeat to AFC Liverpool in their North West Counties League Premier Division season-opener.

Mike McGraa’s side began well with Kieran Garner-Knapper striking an upright after just six minutes.

The Little Reds then went close to taking the lead with a glancing header from Dan Cockerline before Dave Potter in their goal pulled off a tremendous save to thwart Tom Murray.

The Motormen gained the lead just beyond the half hour mark when a corner from the left fell invitingly for Joe Heath who drilled the ball into the net from 15 yards.

But the closely fought contest started to turn against the hosts right on half time when a corner from the right trickled agonisingly over the line off Cockerline at the far post.

If that was a touch lucky then there was no doubting the quality of their second after just 48 minutes. A great ball down the inside left channel was picked up by Cockerline and he outwitted his marker to fire a great strike from outside the area into the bottom corner of the net.

McGraa made three substitutions in an effort to claw themselves back in it.

Garner-Knapper hit an acute angled shot into the side netting, substitute Karl Noon fired straight at Potter after a great one-two with Haydn Cooper inside the box, Cooper then fired an effort across the face of goal and Joe Brandon had another shot blocked as the Motormen pushed for an equaliser.

Close to the end, home ‘keeper Ryan Crump had to be alert to turn away an effort from Jesse Dowling, but the visitors took the points regardless.

Vauxhall: Crump, Wainwright, Drummond, Thelwell, Mitchell, Heath, Brandon, Cooper, Holmes (Smyth 66), Murray (Foulkes 58), Garner-Knapper (Noon 71). Subs not used: Scarisbrick, Levey.

The Motormen are next in action this coming Saturday at the vanEupen Arena, when they play host to last season’s cup heroes Skelmersdale United in the extra preliminary round tie of this season’s F A Cup. Kick-off is at 3pm.