Tommy Wright’s first league game in sole charge of Corby Town ended in victory as they kicked off the new Southern League Premier Division season with a 2-0 success over Hitchin Town at Steel Park.
Second-half goals from Greg Mills and Wilson Carvalho, who had both been injury doubts ahead of the new campaign, sealed the deal for the Steelmen.
It had been a fairly cagey affair in the opening period but things opened up after the break and thanks to some decent attacking play and some excellent saves from goalkeeper Paul Walker, Corby were able to start things off with three well-earned points.
It was rumoured ahead of the game that striker Bidemi Afolabi had left the club and he wasn’t included in the squad while Cleveland Taylor was also missing.
But Mills and Carvalho were both passed fit while summer signing Spencer Weir-Daley was named on the bench after a shoulder injury.
It was a fairly quiet start but Hitchin had the first real chance when Jonny McNamara got in behind Kalern Thomas. Walker raced from his line, McNamara knocked it past him but the ball ran out of play.
Corby eventually got into their stride as the half went on, although they found it hard at times to break down the five-man visiting defence.
Mills was played in by Carvalho after good work from Akin Daramola but the frontman’s final effort was blocked by the legs of Hitchin goalkeeper Mark Smith.
Mills stung the palms of Smith from distance and he also had to be at his best just before the break after a bursting run from Daramola ended with a decent strike on goal.
McNamara did have the ball in the net early in the second half but an assistant’s flag had already been raised for offside while Ben Milnes went close for the Steelmen as he shot just wide.
Walker had to be at his best to tip the dangerous McNamara’s effort over the bar and that save proved crucial as the Steelmen took the lead two minutes later on the hour.
Thomas’ run into the right side of the area was brought to an end by a trip from Alasan Ann.
It looked a definite penalty, referee Michael Scriven agreed and Mills stepped up to beat Smith from 12 yards.
The lead was almost short lived, however, as Walker was forced into a decent save from Robbie Burns and the goalkeeper gathered the ball before McNamara could pounce on the rebound.
However, Corby grabbed the crucial second goal to wrap up the points with 17 minutes to go.
A quick free-kick set Mills free on the left and his perfect cross was headed home by Carvalho.
Walker was forced into further excellent saves from both Ann and substitute Michael King and that completed a superb afternoon for the home goalkeeper.
So, very much job done for Wright and his players. Next stop - Dunstable Town on Tuesday night.
Steelmen: Walker; Thomas, Malone, Appleton, Kennedy; Daramola, Milnes; May, Carvalho (sub Crawford, 90 mins), Jackson; Mills (sub Hartley, 87 mins). Subs not used: Clarke, Weir-Daley, Wright.
Hitchin: Smith; Lench, Webb, Ann, Corran, Walster (sub King, 84 mins); Burns (sub Wharton, 74 mins), Smith, Barker, McNamara; Martin (sub Donnelly, 71 mins). Subs not used: Ironton, Kirkpatrick.
Referee: Michael Scriven.
Goals: Mills pen (60 mins, 1-0), Carvalho (73 mins, 2-0).
Bookings: Malone, Appleton (both fouls).