We produced a dominant display to dispatch Altrincham 3-1 and get our 2020-21 Vanarama National League campaign up and running.
Kyle Wootton stole the headlines, twice combining brilliantly with Wes Thomas to fire us 2-0 ahead and seeing a penalty saved to deny him his hat-trick before the break.
Jake Reeves notched a lovely third in the second half before Daniel Mooney bagged a consolation off the bench for the visitors.
Neal Ardley made one change to the side that suffered defeat at Dover on the opening day of the season, with Adam Chicksen making way for Dion Kelly-Evans at left back.
Both sides made bright starts to the match but we soon got a grip on proceedings and fired two shots over Anthony Thompson’s crossbar in quick succession, Jim O’Brien trying his luck first before Wes Thomas whistled one just off-target.
But we didn’t have to wait much longer for our first goal of the season as, on 15 minutes, Thomas linked up brilliantly with Wootton to allow the big forward to change direction in the area before beating Thompson at his near post with a fine low finish.
Sam Slocombe had to be alert at the other end on 23 minutes to dive at the feet of Josh Hancock after the Alty player had raced through on goal.
But three minutes later we’d doubled our lead thanks once again to an outstanding combination between Thomas and Wootton, the former somehow keeping the ball in play before producing the perfect dinked cross for the latter to head home his second.
We had a decent chance to make it 3-0 shortly afterwards when Jake Reeves did well to win a free-kick in shooting range. Cal Roberts couldn’t keep his shot down, though, sending the ball into the Family Stand.
No doubt keen to make amends, Roberts then capitalised on a sloppy pass in midfield and showed great control to take the ball to the edge of Alty’s area before playing a cute ball for Wootton. The forward knocked the ball away from him to draw the foul, winning a penalty and presenting himself with an opportunity to bag a first-half hat-trick. Sadly for him, Anthony Thompson dived to his left to produce an outstanding save.
Thomas fired an effort straight at Thompson before, moments later, he came within inches of controlling Roberts’ clever cross at the back post as we continued to apply pressure to the National League newcomers.
And our dominance continued after the break as we carved out another big chance for Wootton to bag his third – only for him to be denied superbly by Thompson once more. It was from open play this time, Brindley breaking it into the area and cutting the ball back into the middle. Wootton took a delightful touch to buy time for the shot but Thompson was out quickly to make the all-important block.
Alty’s goal was living a charmed life and we were cursing our luck once again on 52 minutes when Roberts’ whipped left-footed effort kissed the outside of the post.
But there was nothing they could do to stop Reeves from making it 3-0 on 64 minutes, the midfielder sweeping the ball into the bottom corner from range to mark his home debut with a lovely goal.
Ardley made a double change on 74 minutes with Wootton and Roberts making way for Enzio Boldewijn and Elisha Sam.
And we nearly made it four moments later when Thomas stooped in the area and headed a cross from the right just wide.
It wasn’t quite over yet, though, and Altrincham threatened a late comeback when substitute Mooney fired a superb strike past Slocombe from 25 yards.
Ardley’s final change saw Ruben Rodrigues replace Thomas and we saw out the remainder of the match comfortably to put our first three points on the board.
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