Falone Sumaili bagged a stunning hat-trick as Bradford City Women’s defeated Durham Cestria 3-2 on the opening day of the season.
Manager Steve Winterburn named a new-look line-up, promoting a couple of players from the junior ranks, and his side kicked off the campaign in some style.
Durham soon showed why they had done so well last season, as they had the majority of the ball during the early stages.
City were defending as a team, though, and striker Sumaili - playing on the shoulders of the Durham defence - had a couple of half chances in the early stages.
On 22 minutes, she made the most of a superb cut-out pass to lift the ball over the Durham keeper for the opening goal.
The Bantams’ impressive start got even better, four minutes later, when Sumaili got free again and doubled her tally with a similar effort.
The second half was played mainly in the middle third, with Durham probing for a breakthrough, but captain Zoe Roberts was marshalling the City defence well and goalkeeper Aimee Routledge was mopping up behind.
The pace of Sumaili proved telling again, however, in the 76th minute.
Substitute Amelia White pressured the Durham defence into a sloppy back-pass and Sumaili was onto it like a flash - hammering the ball into an empty net to complete her triple haul.
Durham never gave up, though, and, on 85 minutes, they scored from a well-taken free-kick from 25 yards out.
They bagged a second, which thankfully proved a consolation strike, late on, as the Bantams failed to clear a corner.
Winterburn was full of praise for his side after they recorded their first league victory in over a year.
He said: "I'm absolutely delighted to get the season started with three points - against a very organised and talented Durham squad.
"We knew it would be a tricky game to open the season and Durham certainly made us work hard to secure the win.
“In tricky conditions, and swirling wind, we found ourselves three clear goals to the good. But I think it would be fair to say that at that stage the score line definitely didn't fairly reflect the standard of the opposition.
“And, sure enough, as we got closer to the final whistle, we struggled to stay focused and it became a little precarious for us.”