ATHLETICO Monkey, last season’s cup winners, got their new league campaign off to a fine start by thrashing Foresters 9-0 in their First Division clash at Dryclough Recreation Ground.
Foresters, formerly Cravens, already had bad memories of facing Monkey, who sent them down last season, only for the league to issue a reprieve when other sides dropped out.
They have made some new signings, but were missing some key players for this match, while Monkey only managed to muster 12 players, with two of them arriving just before kick-off.
The opening stages were scrappy, although Foresters came to terms with a bumpy pitch and strong winds much better, forcing several corners and some panic defending by their opponents.
However a quick break meant Monkey striker Nicky Shaw powered away from his marker.
His drive hit a post and fell to the unmarked Liam Hench, three yards out, but instead of tapping it home, he shot wide.
But Monkey were now starting to gel and pass the ball around and soon a through ball fed Dave Atkinson, who ran into the area and shot home.
The pressure continued and soon after, Hench struck with a looping header.
The same player then embarked on a mazy run before bringing a fine save from the Foresters keeper.
But the pressure was telling and Monkey were playing some neat stuff.
The third goal arrived when aŠDean Siddiq corner set up Shaw to head his first for the club.
Shaw flashed a shot wide soon after, then Siddiq picked out Alex Griffiths, who rifled a 25-yeard shot into the top corner.
There was no let up by Monkey in the second half, and Shaw once again used his pace and trickery to surge past a defender and fire home.
Monkey left-back John Maldini was now coming into the game and linking well with the midfield.
From one of his crosses, a penalty was awarded for handball and Shaw scored from the spot.
Foresters refused to give in, but Monkey were dominating, and after Griffiths struck his side’s seventh, Maldini sent a great long ball toŠHench, who controlled superbly and squared for the advancing Robson to fire home.
The Foresters keeper made a superb double save to foil Maldini from a free-kick and Hench from the rebound, but Robson made it nine with a diving header.
Monkey pushed hard for the final five minutes, but couldn’t reach double figures.
Promoted pair Woodfield Park and FC Varsity met at Lockwood, with the home side edging it 4-3.
Carl Ross hit a hat trick and Matthew Mulvihill got Park’s other goal.
Phil Coombes (2) and Steven Ashford were on target for Varsity, who were 2-0, then 3-2 up.
In Division II, Lindley WMC Reserves had a resounding 9-1 win against Wellington, with Damien Roberts the lone scorer for the losers.
Irish Centre Reserves beat Woolpack 3-2 at Leeds Road Playing Fields, where the home side, two up through Darren Boothroyd’s brace, were pegged back to 2-2 in the final five minutes before Chris Keady popped up with a winner.
League debutants Barge Albion (from Bailiff Bridge) had a goalless encounter with Field Head at Royds Hall.
And another new side to share the spoils were Meltham Victoria Park, who played in the league as GMB Meltham two seasons ago.
It was 3-3 against Walpole Community, with Alex Gee (2) and Daniel Tindall notching for Park.
In the interdivisional clash, promoted Helion also drew 3-3, against Barr Street.
Jordan Ellis (2) and Mick Hall scored for Helion, with Brian Simpson, Dwayne Wilkinson and Paul St Hilaire replying for Barr Street.