PETR Cech praised a bumper crowd and his teammates after making his home debut for Oxford City Stars.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper started as Stars fell to a 4-2 defeat against Solent Devils.

The loss represented an improvement from Stars though, after the opening night defeat at Chelmsford Chieftains was followed by a 6-0 beating at home to Slough Jets.

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Cech had to be sharp against Solent, particularly in the first period when he kept out efforts from Steve Osman and Cain Russell.

The 41-year-old was finally beaten less than two minutes into the second period when Harry Cloutman fired past him into the roof of the net during a power play.

Luke Forsyth then doubled the advantage, however Stars immediately hit back through Josh Abbott’s close-range finish and Matt Lawday’s clever flick.

The visitors nudged ahead again though with just 25 seconds remaining in the second period, thanks to a Mason Wild strike.

As the fixture became more and more frantic in the final 10 minutes of the third period, Cech was called upon to make a fantastic one-handed catch from Drew Campbell’s effort.

Solent restored their two-goal advantage with three minutes to go when Osman slotted in.

After the clash, Cech told this newspaper: “It was a special occasion and a great crowd as well. I think it was a really good game because Solent finished second last year and lost the play-off final, so it was a good test for us.

“I think we gave them a real game and overall, there are a lot of things we can take into next weekend.

“It’s just a shame they managed to score right at the end of the second period.”

He added: “The club as a whole is a great group of people working really hard together to get this City Stars team going.

“I’ve settled in very well. The only thing which is missing now is the points on the table, but I believe we’re going to get a win soon and we can kick on our season from there.”

Head coach Simon Anderson said: “It was a lot better and a lot more acceptable than last week. We weren’t very good last week and we addressed it in practise.

“We’re a work in progress with 11 new players, and if we keep playing like that, we’ll win more than we lose.”

On Cech’s display, Anderson said: “He was very busy in the first period. Petr’s excellent and calms everybody down.

“He’s got so much experience and I thought he was excellent, and made some key saves in the first period.”