Andy Forbes opened his Gosport Borough account last night.
But the Privett Park outfit were pegged back by hosts Fleet Town and had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Calthorpe Park.
While Forbes took much of the credit for his superbly-taken strike, it was Dan Woodward’s defence-splitting pass that set up the opportunity.
Unfortunately for Borough, though, the lead was extinguished two minutes later.
Former Gosport defender Pat Cox sent Simba Mlando clear down the left and his shot raced into the net before Woodward and Jack Barton had time to close him down.
Cox spent the rest of his 70-minute stint wasting his energy challenging every decision that didn’t favour his side.
And he was fortunate to escape a booking following a nasty challenge on Borough’s Adam Wilde.
Gosport skipper Brett Poate, however, did pick up a yellow card for his part in a challenge with Cox, who had earlier seen a shot cleared off the line by the outstretched leg of keeper Gareth Barfoot.
Boss Alex Pike made numerous changes at half-time, giving each of the six substitutes, including triallist Jonny Brogdon from Chelmsford City, the opportunity to impress – and they did just that.
Twice, Mike Gosney used his electric pace to go clear, rifling one effort just over before another missile crashed against the Fleet crossbar.
Next in the pecking order was Paul Hinshelwood, whose dedicated defending ensured Barfoot was able to spend much of the second half without breaking sweat.
Just before the final whistle – and with the hosts now struggling to hold on – Justin Bennett was twice unlucky not to find the back of the net.
It was something that Poate did manage – only to see his effort ruled out by the eagle-eyed referee who had spotted a foul in the area.
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Barfoot, Woodward, Martin, Barton, Flookes, Pearce, Norton, Smith, Forbes, Bennett, Wilde, Dunford, Igoe, Gosney, Hinshelwood, Poate, Brogdan.