Whitby Town fell to an opening day defeat on their travels to Barwell, following an eightieth minute Ryan Seal strike.
The Blues’ problems going forward came to haunt them, with just four shots on target in the afternoon, and only two, from Mikey Roberts and skipper Steven Snaith, testing Liam Castle to any sort of extent.
Chris Hardy saw fit to hand a competitive debut to James Risbrough with Andy Monkhouse missing through injury.
Adam Gell also started for the Blues, after impressing in the second half of the Seasiders’ final pre-season game against South Shields.
The game itself struggled to get going, though both sides managed to create opportunities in the game’s infancy.
The visitors created the first chance. Mikey Roberts found space in the penalty area, forcing Liam Castle into a good save across his goal.
The hosts, however, responded with a warning shot of their own, little under ten minutes later.
Matt Stenson’s clever work on the ball saw him chip towards Ryan Robbins at the back post, though he could only fire wide, past Bland’s upright from six yards.
A theme of the game seemed to be both sides struggling to get any sort of a grip on the game in the middle of the park, seeing the first half struggle to get going. The Blues, however, were just shading proceedings.
Hardy’s half-time words were clearly ringing in the ears of the Seasiders, as they set off in the second period with intent.
An inswinging corner from James Risbrough found Steven Snaith, who lost his man and managed a free header, forcing Castle to tip over.
But, despite the upturn in the Blues’ performances, Barwell’s game plan was proving to be too much for the Blues.
At times after, though, Whitby’s play was very much going sideways rather than forward, with a flooded midfield proving difficult for Hardy’s side to deal with.
The hosts looked the more dangerous of the two teams and eventually broke the deadlock late in the game.
Seal was found in space by Hildreth’s defence-splitting pass, and finished neatly into the bottom corner, one-on-one past Bland to ensure that the hosts got off to a winning start.
Barwell: Castle, Whitmore, Nisevic (C), Towers, Julien, Hildreth, Stanley, Stenson (Seal ‘56), Bates (‘66), Robbins (Story ‘72). Subs not used: Smith-Varnam, Delaney.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, May, Bythway, Snaith (C), Gell, Carson (Hume ‘90), Roberts (Weledji 74), Tymon, Risbrough. Subs not used: Fryatt, McGoldrick, Dixon (GK).