Gosport Borough had to settled for a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Tiverton Town in their Evo-Stik Southern League south & west curtain-raiser.
The match ball was delivered to Privett Park by Atlas helicopter before the game.
But it failed to give Borough the lift-off they had hoped for.
‘It was a good game against a very decent Tiverton side who were relegated from the premier division last season,’ said Borough’s assistant boss Mick Catlin.
‘Tiverton will definitely be one of the sides up their challenging at the top and it was a good benchmark for us.
‘It was an open game that flowed from end to end but from our point-of-view the defence looked solid. Their goal came from a mistake in midfield and nothing we could blame the defence for.
‘Aaron Cook and Lee Molyneaux performed well in the heart of our defence.
‘The opposition possessed a lot of pace and posed us a few problems but we did well to sort them out.
‘The only disappointment was our lack of creativity in the second half.’
Borough were given an excellent start by Dan Wooden, who put them in front after seven minutes with an excellent strike.
When the ball fell to the ex-Moneyfields player just outside the area he sent a powerful left-foot half-volley screaming into the roof of the net.
Tiverton hit back to level in the 24th minute with an equally impressive long-range strike after the Borough midfield were guilty of failing to close down the space in front of them.
The contest became a little scrappy after the half-time interval.
It lost its rhythm before both teams picked up the pace late on to try and force a win.