The North West Counties League Division One North season began with a bang, with two Greater Manchester sides picking up heavy victories on the opening day.
Atherton Laburnum Rovers travelled to St Helens Town and picked up a 5-2 victory, thanks to a hat trick from Luke Nicholls and a first-half brace from Connor Comber.
Comber opened the scoring after just three minutes, and his team were three to the good before St Helens’ Joel Douglas scored just before the break.
Nicholls doubled his tally after the hour, with Liam Diggle grabbing a second for the hosts late on, but Nicholls wrapped up his hat-trick and three points with three minutes to go.
Winning start for Bury
Bury AFC also took an opening day victory on the road, beating Ilkley Town 4-2 in a sold-out game in Yorkshire.
Surprisingly for a game with six goals, neither team had scored at half time. That changed within a minute of the second half, with Adam McWilliam and Ayomide Ibrahim putting the guests in front by the 50 minute mark.
Ilkley responded quickly, and were level through James Hudson and James Hughes, who scored within a minute of each other with the clock at 55 minutes.
A brace for Aidan Chippendale, including a late penalty, secured all three points for Andy Welsh’s team.
The phoenix club were top of the table before last season’s competition was declared null and void and will be looking to lead the way once more as the town rebuilds it’s footballing identity.
Away win for Chadderton, defeat for Ashton Town
Chadderton began their season with a 1-0 away win over Daisy Hill in Bolton, with Adam Dale scoring the winner in the second half.
Ashton Town fell to a 2-1 home defeat to AFC Blackpool, with Oscar Radcliffe wrapping the points up for the visitors with two first-half goals. Rustam Stepans responded for Town deep into injury time on 94 minutes.
The opening day’s big winners go head to head on Tuesday night as Atherton LR host Bury at Crilly Park.
The Greater Manchester sides in action on Wednesday night all go on the road. Chadderton will look to build on their opening win when they visit AFC Darwen. Daisy Hill and Ashton Town will look to secure their first points away at Pilkington and South Liverpool respectively.