Cottesmore AFC start their Leicestershire Senior League campaign with victory over Desford at Westray Park
Cottesmore boss Rich Giblin praised the attitude of his players as they got their Leicestershire Senior League campaign off to a winning start on Saturday.
The Rutlanders were twice pegged back by a much-improved Desford side in their Premier Division clash at Westray Park.
However, they twice shrugged off the setback to run out 4-2 winners thanks to two goals apiece from strike duo Harry Stannard and Tom Pope.
Giblin said: "The most important thing was to get the win because you just want to get off to a good start on your opening day.
"It's just about getting points on the board regardless of whether you win by one goal or five so you're settled in ready for the long haul.
"It was a good performance because Desford are a very different side from last season and they will surprise a few this season.
"They pegged us back twice so I was pleased with our attitude to keep coming back at them quickly."
Cottesmore had got off to the perfect start when they took the lead inside the opening couple of minutes.
Tom Atkins found space to work an opening which set up Stannard who, although outnumbered by Desford defenders, managed to pivot and turn before firing home the opening goal.
However, the lead lasted just six minutes as an over-enthusiastic challenge on the edge of the Cottesmore area saw Desford awarded a free-kick and Daniel Portch's effort squirmed into the home net.
Both sides then had their moments in the opening period before Cottesmore regained the lead when Pope was sent flying in the box by a crunching challenge from the Desford goalkeeper.
The Cottesmore frontman picked himself up and calmly converted the resultant spot kick to restore their one-goal advantage ahead of half-time.
But Desford were back on level terms again 10 minutes into the second period as Cottesmore missed the chance to clear their lines.
Goalkeeper Alex Brown saved the initial effort, but Dan Phillips pounced on the rebound to restore parity again.
The scoreline didn't stay level for long though as Danny Barker's electric pace saw him latch onto a through ball where he was hauled back by the advancing Desford goalkeeper who was yellow-carded.
Stannard took on the penalty-taking duties this time around and duly despatched his effort to put Cottesmore back in control.
Desford though refused to roll over and caught Cottesmore on the counter-attack with goalkeeper Brown this time being booked after colliding with a visiting forward.
The home side responded again though and put the contest beyond their visitors with a fourth goal.
Pope showed good foot-work on the edge of the box to work his opening which was matched by an impressive finish.
Cottesmore could have then added to their tally as they controlled the final stages of the contest against a now-defeated Desford side.
Giblin added: "We were very comfortable in the final 15 minutes and on another day could have scored more goals.
"Their goalkeeper has made a couple of good saves and we've missed some relatively easy chances.
"We're still a bit ring-rusty though and lads are finding their feet."
Cottesmore were without Jack Baker and Colton Cropper for the match while Jake Robson went off early in the second half after taking a blow to the head and was replaced by summer signing Eddie McDonald.
Fellow returnee Jake Culverwell also featured off the bench after coming back to the club following a spell out of the game due to work commitments.
Giblin continued: "We have got so much strength in depth which showed when Eddie, Jake and Danny Seals all came off the bench on Saturday.
"It gives us such depth over the 90 minutes and allows us the opportunity to control games.
"I don't think Desford could really argue that we didn't deserve the points."
Cottesmore travel to face Rugby Borough on Saturday before starting their defence of the League Cup - which they won last weekend - on Tuesday night when FC Khalsa are the visitors to Westray Park.
Cottesmore's Development side started their Division Two North & East campaign on Tuesday night with a narrow 1-0 home defeat against league newcomers 2nd Royal Anglian Regiment.
Mark Hay's 56th minute strike settled the derby duel and ensured a winning start for the Regiment side who are based at the Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore.
The Development side host Sutton Bonington on Saturday.