The Belles ran riot to get the new campaign off to the perfect start with a 7-1 win at FC United of Manchester.
Jasmine Saxton netted a brace while Sophie Brown, Lindsey Tugby-Andrew, Holly Housley, Nat Banaszczyk and Mollie Barlow all scored on an excellent afternoon at Broadhurst Park.
It ensured a winning start for new management duo Sam Winch and Alexandre Brito Nogueira, as well securing three points on the first outing in the FAWNL Division One North following the switch from the Midlands section in the summer.
Belles keeper Ellie Sharpe – unfortunate not to come away with a clean sheet on the afternoon – was the first to be tested as she held onto a strike from range.
But it was far from a sign of things to come as the Belles took the lead inside 15 minutes when Saxton fired home a Housley cross.
The lead was quickly doubled when Brown latched onto a through ball from Tugby-Andrew, rounded FCUM keeper Chloe Ainsworth and slotted into the empty net.
Brown then turned provider for Tugby-Andrew just after the half hour mark.
The hosts responded almost immediately with Madison Bowater heading home a deep cross from Chaneece Reeves at the back post.
But the Belles’ three-goal lead was restored before the break when Tugby-Andrew executed a clever back heel for Housley to hammer home from close range.
The intensity from the Belles was maintained into the second half. After a flurry of corners, Saxton was ruthless in guiding home a rebound from a tight angle after Ainsworth initially denied Tugby-Andrew.
Sharpe touched a long-range free kick onto the crossbar in her toughest test of the afternoon. Afterwards, the game became somewhat stop-start as the Belles introduced substitutes.
Saxton almost grabbed her hat trick before being withdrawn but Bowater hooked the ball clear off the line after Ainsworth had taken the sting out of the initial shot.
The sixth goal would come soon afterwards however as Banaszczyk tucked away a low cross from fellow substitute Barlow, capping off a well-worked move which began with Ryley Johnson’s smart ball out to the wing.
Barlow rounded off an exceptionally positive road outing for the Belles on 89 minutes when she collected a pass from Banaszczyk and spun inside the area to lob Ainsworth and stake her claim for goal of the day.
The Belles are in knockout action next up as they visit Wolverhampton Wanderers in the determining round of the League Cup on Sunday, August 27 (2pm).
Belles: Sharp, Johnson, J. Tugby-Andrew, Rattenbury, Parnham, Cahill, Gigg (Barlow ‘62), L. Tugby-Andrew (Sneddon ’72), Housley, Saxton (Banaszczyk ’80) , Brown (McWilliams ‘62)
FC United: Ainsworth, Mather ©, O’Grady (Baxter ‘82), Carlin, Bowater, Keating, Walton, Reeves, Chesters, Ritchie, Akhtar