Jack Muldoon’s penalty midway through the second-half was enough to see Town open their 2023/24 campaign in fine style with a 1-0 win against Doncaster Rovers.
The strike capped a strong performance from Town, who had to withstand a huge spell of pressure from the hosts over the final stages of the clash.
Town were dealt a blow ahead of kick-off with the news that following discussions Luke Armstrong had made himself unavailable for selection amid a number of transfer bids from other clubs. Simon Weaver did hand debuts though to five of his summer signings with Dean Cornelius, Abraham Odoh, James Daly, Rod McDonald and Liam Gibson all named in the starting line-up.
It was unsurprisingly a scrappy start to proceedings with both sides finding their feet on opening day but Town almost struck on 12 minutes when Rod McDonald barrelled through the home defence to release Jack Muldoon, but the Town forward was thwarted by Ian Lawlor. From the rebound Sam Folarin fired off a shot that the home ‘keeper did well to save.
There was a narrow escape for Town after Rod McDonald’s under-hit back pass fell straight to Luke Molyneux but the onrushing Mark Oxley did enough to put him off and his shot drops narrowly over the crossbar.
Town looked comfortable in possession though and attacked with confidence, forcing a pair of corners as the half progressed with Dean Cornelius stinging the hands of Lawlor with one effort in stoppage time.
Good inter-play between Sam Folarin and Abraham saw a half-chance for Town in the opening minutes of the second-half but they were soon indebted to Matty Foulds who, with Mark Oxley beaten, flung himself at full-stretch to spectacularly clear Jon Taylor’s effort off the line.
There was an enforced change for Town on the hour mark as McDonald was withdrawn with a head injury and he was replaced by Joe Mattock.
With the home side looking like they were beginning to threaten Town struck. A pacy run into the box from Odoh saw him brought down and despite the ensuing delay Muldoon struck firmly and low to Lawlor’s right hand.
The home side respond to falling a goal behind by taking off Tommy Rowe and Jon Taylor with Tyler Roberts and Deji Sotana entering the fray with George Miller soon joining them.
And this resulted in a big spell of pressure with the home crowd finally finding their voice. Joe Mattock did well to head clear at the far post before Liam Gibson went into the book for a tug on Luke Molyneux.
Oxley then pulled off a magnificent save to maintain Towns lead after a deep cross into the box was headed goalwards by Joe Ironside, but the Town skipper was at full stretch to the turn the ball wide.
After Matty Daly had gone close to extending Town’s lead Toby Sims was brave enough to block the danger and despite their somehow being 14 minutes of injury time added Town came away with all three points to the delight of the 400 plus travelling fans.