Salisbury started off 2024 in style with a 4-2 win at home to Tiverton Town.

The first game of the New Year saw Brian Dutton make three changes to his starting line-up; Aaron Simpson returned from injury to replace Josh Sommerton, and Sam Perry and Noah Coppin came in for Charlie Gunson and Wayne Robinson.

Salisbury Journal: There was a moments silence in memory of Thom Belk before the gameThere was a moments silence in memory of Thom Belk before the game

It was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges. After five minutes Jamie Richards lashed the ball wide from a half-cleared set piece before on seven minutes Josh Jones clattered the crossbar, although the linesman’s flag would have denied him had it been a few inches lower.

It wasn’t until 32 minutes that the Whites really threatened; a quick break through the middle of the defence saw the ball worked across to Aaron McCreadie but he could only blaze his shot high and wide from the edge of the area.

On 39 minutes Salisbury took the lead, somewhat against the run of play.

Excellent link-up between Simpson and Josh Hedges saw the latter dig out an excellent cross to the back post where Dan Fitchett had the simplest of tasks to bundle it into the back of the net for his first goal in 11 games.

Salisbury Journal: Dan Fitchett celebratesDan Fitchett celebrates

Just before half-time, the Whites were forced into a change in goal; Gunstone-Gray was involved in a clash with Jones and appeared to injure his shoulder, meaning midfielder Theo Lewis had to step up from the bench and don the gloves.

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury's Lewis Gunstone-Gray and Tiverton's Joshuha Jones clashSalisbury's Lewis Gunstone-Gray and Tiverton's Joshuha Jones clash

Lewis had nothing to do before the referee brought an end to the half with Salisbury slightly fortunate to be ahead at the break.

Dutton made a change to his team at half-time, Ryan Penny coming on for Harry Williams with a slight change of formation as a result.

It had the desired effect as the Whites started the half very much on the front foot and looked a different side to the opening half.

On the hour mark Salisbury doubled their lead. The ball was played into the box from the right-hand side and saw Coppin coming in off the left to get a shot away. His initial effort was blocked, but he showed good determination to lash home the rebound giving keeper Zak Baker no chance.

Four minutes later they added a third with Coppin again the man to apply the finish.

McCreadie won the ball back in the middle of the pitch and a fine ball forward opened the Tiverton defence up for Coppin to pounce and slide home a composed shot into the bottom corner.

Tiverton reacted well to the double blow and on 71 minutes got a goal back as a great strike from outside the area by Jack Rice gave Lewis no chance.

As the game ticked into time added on the scoring wasn’t finished and Coppin was presented with his hat-trick opportunity when substitute Robinson was adjudged to have been bought down in the box.

The young attacker stepped up to smash the ball home and complete his first treble for the club in style. There was still time for Tiverton to get a late consolation, River Allen firing home a free kick on 97 minutes but it was Salisbury who took all three points to complete a league double over the visitors.