Sunderland's Emanuele Giaccherini got his pre-season off to a flier, by scoring twice in the club's opening match.
In addition to Giaccherini's brace, strikers Danny Graham and Connor Wickham also found the net.
The impact of the Italian winger was particularly pleasing, for he was a player who Sunderland barely saw last season.
After playing 24 times in the top flight in his opening campaign following his £6.5 million switch from Juventus, Giaccherini made only eight league appearances in 2014/15, due to a succession of injuries.
Fortunately he has returned to pre-season fully fit, and firing on all cylinders. The opposition may have been a non-league side, but it was a positive to see him shine regardless, and remind fans and coaching staff of his ability.
He will be a player manager Dick Advocaat will be particularly pleased to have at his disposal, for the Italian was fit enough to play just the final 15 minutes of the last game of the season during his stint in charge.
The phrase 'like a new signing' often brings negative responses from fans feeling they are being short-changed of an actual new face, but Giaccherini is just that, and if he can remain fit he will be an exciting option for Advocaat to have available, having managed to keep the club up without him.
Here is a look at how Sunderland fans reacted to his performance...
Good start to pre-season,winning 4-2 away to Darlington,coming from 2-0 down! Good to see Giaccherini&Graham score! #SAFC— Daniel Gallagher (@DanielTheCelt) July 9, 2015
Credit has to go to Giaccherini and Mannone.. Both a lot to prove after injury/poor form.. But they both played really well there #safc— Joe Smith (@Joecsmith11) July 9, 2015
Right - wrap Giaccherini up in cotton wool until the season starts. Have we found our play maker? #SAFC— Graham Laughton (@sounessmay17) July 9, 2015
Really hope we have a fully fit Giaccherini for all of a next season. Got a lot of quality. #SAFC— Matthew Powell (@Powell_Matthew) July 9, 2015
Decent first friendly. Graham and Giaccherini both looking sharp. Team still needs those 3-4 players Advocaat wants to bring in.— Sunderland Central (@SafcCentral) July 9, 2015
Imagine if Giaccherini doesn't get injured straight away again, be like a new signing— Ryan Hatch (@ryanhatch11) July 9, 2015
Giaccherini will make a big difference this year. Very good player.— Mark Mcallister (@mark_mac18) July 9, 2015
Giaccherini gets 2 against a pub team. He's going to get SIX against the Mags— JJ (@flashixx) July 9, 2015