NICK Wright scored a debut double as Worcester City showed there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful for the season ahead.
Although Carl Heeley’s side were unable to fashion an opening day victory, many inside Aggborough would have felt buoyed by what they had witnessed.
They would have taken heart from knowing this strong-looking squad is a work in progress with the personnel to cause a few ripples in Conference North.
City will have to improve on Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Stalybridge Celtic and that should come with time.
In coming from behind twice, the hosts also demonstrated the battling qualities that they will no doubt need between now and next April.
Wright, who only signed on Thursday night, popped up twice to bring his new employers level.
The former Kidderminster Harriers striker was the stand-out addition to a forward line also boosted by Daniel Nti pledging his future to the club.
Wright was in the right place to turn the ball home after George Williams’ cross had been played back towards goal by Wayne Thomas and again showed predatory instincts to convert following Danny Jackman’s corner.
With the not-insignificant power of relative unknown Daniel Udoh, another late pre-season acquisition, coming off the bench in the second-half, City’s firepower looks more menacing.
After scoring less than a goal per game last season, it was an area they needed to address and, despite the recruitment process being somewhat last-minute, they might just have done that.
Ironically, with much having been made of City retaining their miserly defence, the hosts twice shot themselves in the foot by gifting Stalybridge two first-half goals.
Liam Dickenson sprung an unconvincing offside trap from Jack Truelove’s raking pass to put the visitors ahead before Paul Ennis was granted the freedom of Aggborough to restore their advantage going into half-time.
On both occasions, the City defence parted and left new keeper Nathan Vaughan with no chance.
In doing so, Worcester once again found themselves chasing a game, a familiar trait last season.
Yet, once Wright had restored parity for the second time three minutes after the break, Heeley’s side might have gone on to win.
Stalybridge keeper Lewis King was thankful to the woodwork after Mike Symons deflected Nti’s effort on to the post and last season’s top-scorer flashed a header wide from a second-half corner.
Celtic, managed by former Harriers midfielder Keith Briggs, went close when Dickenson poked wide of Vaughan’s goal.
But City will be pleased with their first showing of the new campaign and, two uncharacteristic defensive lapses aside, can look forward with optimism.