Paul Malone’s stoppage-time header earned Corby Town a dramatic 2-1 win over Boston United as they got 2013 off to a perfect start.
The game looked to be heading for a draw after the two teams had shared the points in Lincolnshire on Boxing Day.
But the Steelmen struck at the death to make it an unhappy return to Steel Park for former manager Graham Drury.
In his last-ever game of football before retiring to take up a boxing career Leon McKenzie was named on the bench alongside top scorer Josh Moreman, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury he picked up in the first meeting between the two sides on Boxing Day.
Malone was passed fit after being ill at the weekend while Avelino Vieira was handed the lone striking role.
It was a fairly even start with Paul Walker saving well as Spencer Weir-Daley tried to lob him after going clear while, at the other end, Malone saw a header deflected wide.
But the game exploded into life on 24 minutes when Corby went in front.
Lewis Webb made space for himself 20 yards from goal and his shot beat Dan Haystead with the aid of a deflection.
But Boston wasted little time in getting back into it and they levelled inside 90 seconds.
Marc Newsham was given too much time and room in the area and he squared to Weir-Daley who thumped his shot past the helpless Walker.
The visitors almost went in front soon after but Newsham was unable to get on the end of Weir-Daley’s low ball across the face of goal but it was Corby who finished the half the better as Sam Ives’ goal-bound shot was blocked by Tom Ward after good work from Ryan Semple.
Neither side took control in the early stages of the second half but Corby created the first real chance when Greg Kaziboni played in Jason Crowe down the left. His header was met by Vieira but Haystead made a smart save to keep the scores level.
McKenzie arrived in place of Ives for the final 27 minutes but it was a Boston substitute, Mark Jones - a former Steelmen who has been linked with a return to Steel Park - who went close to giving his side the lead when he fired just wide.
From there, the game became scrappy with Corby enjoying the majority of possession. But while their approach play was good, the final pass or shot was lacking.
McKenzie had claims for a penalty waved away after he went down under a challenge from Ward and fellow substitute Moreman saw his shot saved by Haystead at the near post.
But just when it seemed to be heading for a draw, Malone rose to powerfully head Semple’s free-kick into the top corner.
Now that is the way to start a new year!
Steelmen: Walker; Horne, Malone, Piergianni, Crowe; Webb, Wedderburn; Semple, Ives (sub McKenzie, 63 mins), Kaziboni; Vieira (sub Moreman, 83 mins). Subs not used: McGowan, Richardson, Manga.
Boston: Haystead; Marshall, Ward, Silk, Jelleyman; Fairclough (sub Stokes, 61 mins), Milnes, Ross, J Smith; Newsham (sub Reed, 74 mins), Weir-Daley (sub Jones, 64 mins). Subs not used: Stainfield, Smith.
Referee: Michael Blackledge.
Goals: Webb (24 mins, 1-0), Weir-Daley (26 mins, 1-1), Malone (90 mins, 2-1).
Booking: Ives (foul).