Sunderland West End manager Anth Nelson could not have wished for a better start to the season.
An opening day fixture with Richmond Town looked tricky, but the Wearsiders eventually emerged comfortable 3-0 winners at Ford Quarry.
It wasn’t until the second half that the deadlock was broken, but, from then on, there was only going to be one winner.
Mark Catcheside’s superb 64th minute volley finally ended the stalemate and when a further two goals flowed within six minutes, from Callum Hodgson and Jordan Cook, it was all over for the Yorkshiremen.
Only three teams managed to secure first-day successes.
Harton and Westoe CW edged local rivals Boldon CA by the odd goal in three, but it was the hosts who scored first through James Pickering. Shaun Heads equalised and three minutes from time he was again on target with Harton’s winner.
Newcomers Murton scored first only for hosts Leam Rangers to quickly reply twice and end 2-1 in front.
Sam Joyce took full advantage of a poor back pass to fire wide of goalkeeper Connor Hawkins, for Murton’s well-taken opener, before two goals in as many minutes from David Stephenson and Craig Williams proved costly to the East Durham team.
Five games ended with honours even.
The most exciting contest was at Silksworth, where Ashbrooke Belford House and Seaham Red Star Reserves – who were making their bow in the competition – shared in a six-goal thriller.
Lee Owens, making his debut following a move from Sunderland RCA, fired in Ashbrooke’s first goal, but Seaham then stormed 3-1 up courtesy of efforts from Paul Atkinson, Gary Lockhead and Mark Ruddick.
At this stage, a win for the new boys looked the likely outcome, but Ashbrooke roared back. After Kevin Humble marked his first appearance by reducing the deficit to a single goal, Nathan Burrell popped in the equaliser 10 minutes from time.
Horden CW only just managed a point at home to Prudhoe Town, who led for 81 minutes through an own goal from Paul Moss.
There were only seconds left on the clock when David Holliday headed in the equaliser to make it a memorable first game for his new club.
James Allsopp was Jarrow’s hero against Redcar Athletic at Perth Green. He fired the opener and then excelled as a makeshift keeper.
Stopper Karl Donnelly was sent off in the 63rd minute for bringing down Adam Preston, but Allsopp came up trumps, saving the resultant penalty. However, he could not prevent Preston notching an 80th minute equaliser to complete the scoring at 1-1.
Spennymoor Town Reserves travelled to Derwent Park and returned with a point from a 1-1 draw with Annfield Plain.
Jay McGough was the Plain’s first-half marksman, but, midway through the second period, Robert Thompson restored parity.
There was yet another draw at Whitehaven. Chris Fairless and Matthew Brayston struck for visitors Wolviston, with Johnny Donnett and Nathan Dryden on target for the Cumbrians.