A youthful Sleaford Town side went down to an opening day home defeat in United Counties League Premier on Saturday as Oadby Town made their experience count.
With the bulk of the squad that earned a 13th-place finish last term having departed, manager Jamie Shaw was forced to name himself up front among an otherwise inexperienced line-up.
But Town began brightly and Shaw showed his predatory instincts remain sharp as he gave the home side a fourth-minute lead.
“We were playing some good attacking football and had chances to go two-nil up.
“But as the half wore on Oadby were able to exert control on the match and finished the half well on top.”
Christophoros Anastas levelled for the Leicestershire side after 26 minutes before Adam Zia put them ahead seven minutes before the break.
Town again started well, but were unable to respond as Oadby gradually exerted control once more, grabbing the game’s crucial fourth goal through Ellis Preston to make it 3-1 with 20 minutes left.
And Anastas wrapped things up in stoppage-time with his second to seal a 4-1 win for Oadby.
Shaw added: “The second half was a very similar pattern in that we played well for the opening half of the half, and then Oadby were the better side for the latter half.
“Overall it was a fair result as we weren’t ruthless enough when on top and too open when we were under the cosh.
“But with a young and experienced side that is to be expected and there are plenty of positives to take from the game.”
Shaw will hope to build on the positives as they continue a busy week.
Town visit Pinchbeck United in the league on Wednesday (ko 7.45pm) before entering the FA Cup fray on Saturday.
They entertain Northern Counties East League Premier side AFC Mansfield at Eslaforde Park in an extra preliminary round tie. Kick-off 3pm.