Mark Starmer felt the day could not have gone much better as AFC Rushden & Diamonds won their first-ever senior match in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Division One.
A bumper crowd of 784 was on hand at the Dog & Duck to see Diamonds triumph 3-0 against Thrapston Town
Alfie Taylor made the breakthrough after 58 minutes and he added the second with 14 minutes left after being set up by Jack Wisniewski.
And Wisniewski wrapped up the win four minutes from full-time.
Starmer was delighted but conceded things could have been different.
“It was a fantastic day for the fans and the club,” he said.
“In fairness, Thrapston dictated the game in the first half and we could have been 2-0 down.
“But we had a word at half-time and the lads responded and we came out and played well for 45 minutes.
“It is obviously very pleasing to start like that. The atmosphere was fantastic.”
Raunds Town enjoyed a fine start to the new campaign as they won 3-0 at Buckingham Town.
Nick Harrison put them ahead after two minutes and it wasn’t until the final five minutes when they pulled away with debutants Alex Wills and Charlie Bardell both on target.
Joint-manager Russ Baxter said: “We are thrilled to bits to have started like that.
“The pleasing thing was that it was a squad effort. It was very hot but we used our substitutes at the right time and they took the game away from them.
“We were pretty comfortable in open play and it was a very pleasing result.”
Whitworth are highly-fancied this season and they started with a 2-0 home win over Wootton Blue Cross.
Jamie Black put them on their way and Matt Judge wrapped it up on 32 minutes.
Joint-manager Steve Sargent said: “Once we had got the first goal, we didn’t really look back.
“We just asked the lads to keep hold of what they had in the second half and I don’t think our goalkeeper had a save to make, which was pleasing.”
The opening-day derby in the division ended in deadlock as Rothwell Corinthians and Rushden & Higham drew 0-0.
Stewarts & Lloyds stunned Yaxley with a brilliant comeback as they kicked off the Premier Division campaign with a victory.
Ricky Hailstone and Ashley Brand put Yaxley 2-0 up inside 64 minutes.
But Ed Matthews scored twice in the space of two minutes to level the score and Jamie O’Neill grabbed the winner with S&L’s third goal in six minutes.
Manager Lee Duffy said: “We got ourselves into a bad position because the two goals came from mistakes.
“With a team of young lads, it would have been easy for their heads to drop.
“But they showed some character and fought back and it was a great result for us in the end.
“Six of our players had never played at the level before so they learned a lot and we learned a lot about them.”
Elsewhere, it was a bad day for the other three local clubs in the Premier Division.
Desborough Town were beaten 6-2 by St Ives at the Waterworks Field.
Conor Washington put the visitors 2-0 up at the break before a Karl Gibbs hat-trick and Stuart Cobb’s goal made it 6-0.
Andy Gordon scored a consolation for the hosts with 10 minutes to go and Jon Mitchell added another before the end.
Wellingborough Town had the perfect start at Peterborough Northern Star but went on to lose 4-2.
Michael Boyle-Chong put the Doughboys in front after five minutes but Seth Burkett levelled.
Nick Davey made it 2-1 and added another before half-time while Dan Clements scored the fourth four minutes into the second period.
Ryan Cherry’s goal for Wellingborough proved to be only a consolation.
Irchester suffered a disappointing start to the season as they went down 3-1 at home to Alfred Street.
Michael Nelson put the visitors ahead and Dan Turrickki’s own-goal made it 2-0 but within a minute Mitch Blande had put the Romans back in the game.
However, Nelson’s second goal three minutes before the interval sealed the win for Stones.