Jermaine Hall bagged a hat-trick as AFC Dunstable delivered a perfect performance and climbed to the top of the table after beating Fleet Town on Saturday.
With the game being billed as a fond farewell to AFC’s late president Keith McClurgh, who passed away at the end of June, the crowd were boosted by many family members were in attendance.
With suspensions and unavailability, boss Steve Heath only had 14 first team players available to him, with BJ Christie and Danny Murphy suspended, while Nathan Frater, Bill Morgan, Leon Cashman and James Bishop were unavailable.
Heath gave full debuts to new signings Ryan Frater, Lee Close and Christian Tavernier, while Jordan Browne was on the bench and Jamie Head in goal, while two development players, Danny Blackman (18) and Kyle Ajayi (17) were on the bench.
The hosts were on the front foot immediately and were in front midway through the half when Adiel Mannion was pulled back in the box and Hall netted the resulting penalty.
It was 2-0 on 34 minutes when Hall fired in a great strike, while the third arrived courtesy of a lovely team goal, Courtney Massay and Mannion linking well and Massay’s cross excellently headed home by Tom Silford.
In the second period, Fleet were down to 10 men on 52 minutes as Ade Oshilaji picked up his second yellow card.
Hall then completed his hat trick just after the hour mark and came close to a fourth, with Mannion not far away either.
Speaking afterwards, Heath said: “I was pleased the new signings settled in well. I thought we played some good football and thoroughly deserved the victory.
“I will not get carried away though, as in the end it is the first game of the season. I know many teams this season have made big changes to their squads, so until we get into around the end of September, we cannot gauge were everybody are.
“One thing I do know though, Tuesday at Kempston Rovers will be a much sterner test and we will have to be on our guard.”
AFC: Head, Massay, Carney, R Frater, Griffiths, Close (Byron 66), Mannion, Olaleye (Campbell 66), Hall (Browne 70), Tavernier, Silford.
Subs not used: Blackman, Ajayi.