REIGNING champions Old Malton kicked off the defence of their York Minster Engineering League premier division crown with a 3-2 win at last season’s nearest challengers, Riccall.
A couple of late withdrawals left the champions with just a 12-man squad but they twice took a two-goal lead and comfortably held on at the end, though the dying minutes were marred by red cards for St Mary's midfield anchorman Rich Dunning and home striker Gary Collier after a silly spat.
On a large but poor playing surface, Old Malton began well and took the lead when Dean Nuttall's left-wing cross found midfielder Callum Scott unmarked 12 yards out to slam the ball back across the keeper.
Riccall were struggling to make inroads into Malt's organised defence despite the wind advantage and the visitors should have doubled their advantage when player-boss Darren Dunning crossed for Scott to again arrive unmarked - only this time with more time he hammered the ball wildly over the bar.
Malton suffered a blow when full-back Connor Shipley twisted a knee and had to be taken by ambulance to hospital, sole substitute Josh Bown coming off the bench. Riccall had a chance just before half-time but keeper Toby Well dealt easily with the 20-yard strike.
Dean Nuttall, a constant menace to the hosts' backline, doubled Saints' lead on the resumption. He ran through a square back line to slot past home.
However, almost immediately, Riccall substitute Jackson's miss-hit shot crept inside a post.
Riccall had their tails up but were caught on the break. However, Fenwick, after rounding the keeper, slipped and failed to add to Malt's lead.
Still, great work by stand-in full-back Robert Baker allowed Bown to break into the box and beat the keeper. His shot hit a post but rebounded into the net off the keeper’s legs.
Malton again failed to keep the two-goal advantage as a free header from a disputed corner was despatched past Wells, but there were no more major frights.
Terrington Glory began with a 3-2 home defeat to newly-promoted Tadcaster Magnets.
Dave Bradshaw scored a penalty and Alex Yates also found the net but strikes from Jordan Willoughby and Scott Nicholas plus an own goal gave last season’s division one champions the spoils.
The other promoted side, Church Fenton White Horse, also won, beating Easingwold Town 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lenny Mason five minutes from time.