New boss Aaron Webster and his Belper Town side came away from his first Evostik League Division One South match with their heads held high.
They went down to a 1-0 defeat at runaway leaders Basford United, but it was a good start against the promotion favourites.
Webster introduced two new signings to his starting line-up with Burton Albion youth loanee Jack Hallahan and former Matlock Town midfielder Callum Lloyd making their debuts.
The opening 15 minutes belonged to the hosts, who showed their pedigree with some attractive football as the excellent defensive organisation of the Nailers frustrated Basford’s prolific strike force.
Keeper Danny Roberts made a fine save from a Liam Hearn drive on eight minutes and an even better stop moments later when former Nailer Deon Miekle met a corner on the volley.
Dylan Garnett had Belper’s first effort on goal in the 15th minute, which led to a good spell for the Nailers in which they took the game to the leaders.
In the 19th minute Alex Steadman dispossessed Ashley Grayson and fired a narrow angled shot that hit the far post as Belper threatened to take a surprise lead and then Max Thornberry’s cross was headed narrowly over by Dylan Garnett.
Leandro Browne finished another impressive Belper attack on 28 minutes with a good shot that took a decisive deflection.
The Nailers then had to dig in until half-time.
Three minutes into the second period Browne was denied in a one-on-one chance by keeper Saul Deeney.
An otherwise excellent Nailers rearguard allowed Rob Duffy time to head in what proved to be the winner in the 48th minute.
The visitors’ best opportunity to level came in the 70th minute when Alex Steadman pulled the ball back for Jack Hallohan to hit a shot that Deeney tipped over the bar.
Basford United: Deeney, Grayson, Bartle, Nash, Meikle, Roma, Bell-Toxtle, Fenton, Duffy (Wells 66), Hearn, Reid. Unused subs: Carr, Austin, Wakefield, Brown.
Belper Town: Roberts, Thornberry, Butcher, Lloyd (Williamson 82), Guy, Allen, Baldwin, Hallahan, Steadman (Davidson-Miller 75), Garnett, Browne (O’Connell 67) Subs unused: Atkinson, Rathbone.
Referee: Martin Chester