AFC Wimbledon signalled their intent to the rest of the Ryman League with a staggering nine goal blitz of Slough Town.
With this, the first game at Kingsmeadow since the FA appeal, both supporters and team wanted the perfect way to respond. As the ruthless intent and delivery showed throughout, they got it.
After just two minutes, Anthony Howard rifled home the first goal from outside the six yard box after debutant Richard Jolly knocked back from the byline.
Lee O?Leary made a perfect start on his home debut just eleven minutes later. Michael Haswell delivered a 30-yard cross from the left into the penalty area. Sun-blinded keeper Jamie Jackson missed the ball, allowing the recent arrival from Hendon to double the lead.
The game was effectively over two minutes later. Steve Ferguson looped the ball in what appeared to be a mis-hit shot. But with keeper Jackson and the defence static, Lewis Cook sneaked in at the post to head the Dons? third.
If basement side Slough thought the worst was over, they were painfully mistaken. Three minutes after Cook?s effort, Steve Ferguson did find accuracy in his shooting this time. The former Woking man skipped past defender Mark Hokan before slotting the ball to Jackson?s left.
With the game as good as over, the action subsided somewhat. The Dons took their foot off the pedal, allowing Slough to at least attempt a consolation. But the closest anyone came to scoring before half time were the home side.
Following one goal already disallowed for offside, Jolly thought he finally opened his account when he pounced on a poor defensive backpass. With only Jackson to beat, the debutant rounded the goalkeeper for what should have been the fifth. However, a well timed interception from defender Jon Mills prevented further humiliation.
After the half time interval, Dons fans may have wondered if their side were to improve their goal difference further. They were certainly not disappointed.
It did take a bizarre strike to re-open the floodgates though. Steve Wales?s short corner was crossed in from the left hand side and looked as though Jackson was to collect. Strangely, the ball bounced off the shot-stopper?s hands and into the net, leaving a bemused Wales to accept the handshake of Lewis Cook.
From then on, the Slough defence were the ones looking dazed. Six minutes later, Howard volleyed his second of the afternoon after Wales?s cross from the left. With the celebrations in full swing, the referee took umbrage at Howard?s shirt removal, resulting in a booking.
The final ten minutes were as hellish for Slough as the opening twenty. Firstly, on 81 minutes, Howard nailed his first ever hat-trick after heading home yet another Steve Wales inswinging corner. Howard resisted the temptation to take his shirt off this time. However, he would be consoled with taking home both the match ball and the Man of the Match award afterwards.
Richard Jolly finally got the goal his energy and determination deserved with five minutes remaining. Richard Butler?s cross from the right found a low-diving Jolly, whose header past the hapless Jackson made the score 8-0.
There was one more to come. Butler netted his second goal since returning from injury with three minutes to go. Wes Daly picked up the ball outside the area and crossed low, finding the popular Dons striker unmarked. The rout was well and truly complete.
Although the wish amongst many for a double-digit scoreline never materialised, the result was enough to round off an amazing ? if nailbiting ? week.