GARETH DAVIES saw his reign as Fairford Town manager begin with a win as his side edged a nine-goal thriller at Cinder Lane.
Hellenic Div One West
Fairford Town 5
Shortwood United Res 4
Fairford scored three first-half goals as the new season began with a bang. There were three Fairford debutants among the scorers in front of a good crowd for the all-Gloucestershire encounter.
The two sides had played out a 4-4 draw in their last meeting at Meadowbank towards the end of last season, and it was evident from the off that goals would not be in short supply once again.
It was Fairford who opened the scoring with winger Steve Hall finding the target after good work from Josh Skeates and Alex Rudd.
Shortwood's Adam Philip then levelled the game up before Fairford's lead was restored when recent signing Ryan Welland marked his league debut with a flying back-post header from Luke Cordery's cross.
Ngoma drew Shortwood level once again before a fine finish from league debutant Cordery made it 3-2 going into the interval.
Defender Alex Evans was introduced at the break in place of summer recruit Charlie Basilone, but it was at the other end that the Reds continued to make an impact.
Rudd, one of Fairford's longest serving players, opened his account for the campaign to make it 4-2 before another debutant – Skeates – produced a fine lob to make it five.
Craig Mills' penalty from the spot on 84 minutes reduced the arrears and a fourth goal for the visitors, scored by Thomas, made it a nervy final few minutes for the hosts.
Fairford now travel to Tuffley Rovers on Tuesday evening in Division One West before the FA Cup trophy comes to Cinder Lane on Saturday for the visit of Knaphill.