Northwich Vics 0 Cambridge United 1
Vics were not creative enough to take the point they would otherwise have deserved when the season kicked off at the Marston’s Arena on Saturday.
Indeed, there was not enough goalmouth action to provide an entertaining start either.
The goal was good, scored with a wallop of Felino Jardim, but Northwich did not look like equalising and Cambridge were always unlikely to claim a second.
Of Dino Maamria’s summer signings Richie Sutton and Paul Barratt made their debuts from the start and Chris Flynn made an entry later on.
None was impressive and try as they did Vics could not involve their own SAS - Stamp and Steele - enough. Jonny Allan eventually replaced Lee Steele and was immediately booked for a foul, but could not unsettle the U’s defence.
The opening promised more than the match delivered.
Darryn Stamp and Steele showed understanding in setting up Joel Byrom, but the chance disappeared under Phil Bolland’s excellent tackle.
Scott Tynan saved at Mark Beesley’s feet and then Stamp headed a Barratt cross just wide.
In 28 minutes a brilliant through ball by Danny Gleeson caught Vics undermanned at the back. Andy Parkinson raced into the box and pulled the ball back for Felino - he goes by his first name - to blast inside a post.
Felino ought to have scored a minute later, but fluffed the chance and it was not until the final 10 minutes that Vics forced a chance to level.
Byrom broke from midfield and Mike Byrne cut on to his pass across the penalty area and let fly, but goalkeeper Daniel Potter made a one handed save at the base of a post.
From Byrne’s corner Stamp’s header was blocked en route by Anthony Tonkin.
Vics could not squeeze another chance from a mean Cambridge defence.
NORTHWICH: Tynan; Sutton, Welch, Roberts, Brown; Mullan, Byrom, Crowell (Flynn 76), Barratt (Byrne 59); Steele (Allan 59), Stamp.