The Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley era at Chester FC saw their side have to battle hard to earn a point from a keenly contested 0-0 draw with a dogged Spennymoor Town side.
Both sides had chances, with the Blues just shading the first half. But the second half saw Chester disjointed in periods and Grant Shenton had to be alert to deny the visitors, as did Spennymoor keeper Matthew Gould who kept out efforts from the impressive Shaun Tuton while Anthony Dudley struck the crossbar midway through the period.
This Blues side will grow with time but the most important thing was to get on the board early, and they did just that in what was an entertaining game between two committed sides.
Much had changed since the Blues last competitive fixture, a rare 2-1 win at Barrow that proved Chester's swansong in the National League at the end of April, and none of the starting XI featured in the side that won at Holker Street that day.
Johnson and Morley handed debuts to 10 new signings, while Gary Roberts captained the side in the absence of Scott Burton through injury.
And one brand new addition took his place up front. Former Barnsley striker Tuton had been on trial with the Blues during pre-season and signed terms with the club just 24 hours before the visit of Spennymoor, partnering Dudley in attack.
Spennymoor missed out on the play-offs on goal difference after a fine end to the season and arrived in Chester looking to continue that momentum into this season and provide the Blues, tipped to be among the title favourites, with a reality check as to how life in the National League North won't be a cakewalk.
The opening exchanges saw neither side dominate the ball, with a low Rob Ramshaw effort from distance from the visitors and a Dan Mooney strike that bobbled wide from 20 yards for Chester as close as either side came in the opening 15 minutes.
The best chance for either side fell to Chester on 23 minutes when a superb pass in behind the Spennymoor defence from Dudley found Mooney, but the winger found the ball stuck under his feet before turning it out to Dudley on the edge of the area who, taking it in his stride, fired low and wide from 18 yards.
Roberts bent a 30 yard free kick over the bar on the half hour mark before Mooney clipped a left footed effort over from the edge of the box two minutes later.
The away side had their best chance of the half on 36 minutes when former Gateshead man Ramshaw managed to outstrip Roberts for pace in the box and fired beyond Shenton only to find a lurking Danny Livesey to goalbound effort out for a corner.
Spennymoor were enjoying a decent spell and finding some joy in the final third and David Foley managed to nip in behind Simon Grand but could only clip his angled effort well over.
Half time: Chester 0 Spennymoor 0
Chester came close to breaking the deadlock within seconds of the restart when Tuton lashed a superb effort goalwards from 20 yards that was tipped wide by Gould. However there was anger and bemusement around the Deva when the referee, Aaron Jackson, decided to award a goal kick.
Tuton was then at at the heart of it again, gambling on a long ball forward and pinching it off James Curtis before twisting and turning on the edge of the box before sending a low angled effort wide.At the other end Shenton did well to block a Glen Taylor effort from close range with his legs after he found space in the box, with the Blues keeper gathering the rebound.
Tuton fashioned himself another chance just after the hour mark when Dudley broke and found him, with the ex-Barnsley striker switching from right to left foot before firing low at Gould from 20 yards.Stephen Brogan will feel he should have done better five minutes later for the visitors when a ball from Andrew Johnson over the top found him breaking into the bix, but he could only loop an effort over from 12 yards when under pressure from Livesey.
At the other end Chester came close to taking the lead on 74 minutes when a great ball behind the defence from substitute Craig Maho found Tuton who squared for Dudley, with the loan signing from Salford City crashing an effort off the underside of the bar before the ball was hacked to safety.But Chester were looking disjointed and struggling to find any kind of rhythm, and Shenton had to pull off a superb one-handed save from a Brogan thunderbolt before substitute Jake Hibbs saw an effort saved by the feet of the Chester keeper after the Spennymoor man appeared to have fouled John Pritchard in his attempts to win the ball.
But Pritchard almost handed Chester the lead on 82 minutes when his left-footed free kick from 25 yards looked destined for the top corner before Gould tipped it wide spectacularly.Chester came close with 88 minutes on the clock when Dudley expertly rolled his marker before tearing towards goal, evading a challenge before drilling hard and low at Gould from the edge of the box.
That was to be the last of the action from a tight game that, in truth, produced a fair result at the final whistle.
Full time: Chester 0 Spennymoor 0
Chester: Shenton, Dom Smalley, Howson, Livesey, Grand, Pritchard, Roberts (c), Stopforth, Mooney (Mahon 64), Dudley, Tuton. Subs not used: Moran, Thomson, Brown, Downes.
Bookings: Roberts, Mooney.
Spennymoor: Gould, Williams, Thackray, Curtis, Brogan, Chandler, Anderson (Hibbs 76), Ramshaw (Boyes 90), Foley (Henry 64), Taylor, Johnson. Subs not used: Elliott, King.
Referee: Aaron Jackson.
Star man: Grant Shenton.