Stamford AFC were the biggest winners on the opening day of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division season, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.
The newly-promoted Daniels had a great start when new late signing Ryan Robbins scored three minutes into his debut at Kettering Road against Frickley Athletic. But Gavin Allott equalised nine minutes later only for Jordan Smith to bag a brace – the first a penalty – in the 28th and 36th minutes.
Mark Gray took Frickley into half-time just one goal adrift when he netted on 43 minutes before a Tom Woodhead own goal restored Stamford's two-goal advantage on 63 minutes. Athletic's Joe Fox then pulled another back for the visitors nine minutes later.
The dong-dong affair continued with Dan Lawlor making it 5-3 with eight minutes to go, and Smith completed his hat-trick with Stamford's sixth in the last minute. Luke Hinsley sent the final scoreline into double digits by maikng it 6-4 seconds from time.
Trafford, who came up from the First Division North, also won at home, beating Matlock Town 2-1, thanks to goals from Michael Oates on 32 minutes and Ali Brown 11 minutes from time – all after Daryll Thomas had given the Gladiators a 29th minute lead.
Fellow newly-promoted sides Skelmersdale United and King`s Lynn Town were both beaten, however. Skem lost 1-0 at Dales Lane against Rushall Olympic, for whom Gavin Caines scored the only goal from the spot just before half-time.
Lynn were beaten 2-0 at the Weaver Stadium in Danny Johnson`s first league game in charge of Nantwich Town. Adam Carden gave the Dabbers an early seventh minute lead that Aaron Burns doubled with seven minutes remaining.
Buxton beat fancied Witton Albion 3-1 at Silverlands, with Lee Morris bagging a brace. He opened the scoring a minute before half-time, only for Kyle Wilson to pull Albion level on the hour-mark. Morris restored the Bucks lead five minutes later and Leon Osborne added a third eight minutes from time to complete victory.
Another fancied side, Chorley, also won 3-1 on the opening day, but they left it late at Barwell, who were switched from the Southern League by the FA in June.
The Magpies led through Darren Stephenson`s goal a minute before half-time but the exoerienced Mark Albrighton equalised 20 minutes later and a draw looked on the cards. But in the final three minutes Stephenson popped up with his second of the game and Dale Witham then added a third for Garry Flitcroft's men.
Worksop Town won 2-0 at Sandy Lane against FC United of Manchester, predictably in front of the day`s biggest crowd – 837. Goals from big Tom Denton and Jack Muldoon in the final 20 minutes saw the Tigers pick up all three points.
AFC Fylde edged out Stafford Rangers at home by the odd goals in three, breaking the deadlock just before the hour-mark through Harry Winter. Danny Quinn levelled within three minutes, only for Danny Lloyd-McGoldrick to win it for the home side eight minutes from time.
It was the same scoreline at Hurst Cross between Ashton United and Grantham Town. Gary Gee gave the hosts` a 28th minute lead from the spot and Gary King equalised on 64 minutes. Joe O`Neill won it for the Tamesiders with six minutes remaining.
The other two Premier Division matches ended 1-1. Blyth Spartans led at Marine through Joe Kendrick`s 26th minute penalty until stoppage time at the end of the game when Andy Fowler pulled the Mariners level to earn a sharew of the points. At Whitby Town Craig Farrell put the hosts ahead after nine minutes against Ilkeston FC whose Antwan Fisher levelled on 57 minutes.