Burnham showed their character to wrestle back momentum in the final stages to see off the challenge of rivals Holyport for a 3-2 win.
In Ben Murray’s first game in charge of the Blues, the home side raced into a two-goal lead early in the game before Holyport gradually clawed their way back into contention after the break.
With the game locked at 2-2 heading into the closing stages the Blues broke upfield and won the contest with a wonderful curling effort from Dwayne Clarke.
Afterwards the new manager said it was ‘job done’ for the Blues and added that he was looking forward to working with the players on the training pitch and implementing his style of play.
“It was job done,” Murray said afterwards. “It’s so tough to win a game of football at this level, no matter what the step is.
“Did we play the style of football I want us to play going forward? No, not at all. But after a tough week, with only two training sessions with the new group, we got ourselves a result and we’ll take that.
“They’re a good side, well drilled, organised and experienced and we knew they’d come back at us in the second half. We took our foot off the gas too much, and should have reacted better to their changes, but that’s when you must trust the players and what you have from the sessions we’ve done.
“We ground it out in the end, but the chances we’ve had we should have put them away and the game would have been done. Then we could have relaxed a little more.”
Burnham could have been out of sight in the first half, had they taken all their chances. Nasar Bakare turned home their first from close range and added a second in the 11th minute, sliding home Firas Chniba’s cross, however, as he did so he clattered into the frame of the goal moving it back half-a-yard.
The Port bench claimed the goal should be disallowed, and there were many in the ground who would have sympathy with them on that score, but Murray felt the referee was right to award the goal.
“For me I think the ball was already in before the goal moved,” he said. “On a 3G surface the goals can’t be fixed down, they have to be on wheels. He’s put the ball into the back of the net and then clattered into the post and made the goal move.
“That’s how we see it and the linesman saw it, but I’m sure Derek will see it in another way. Would I have kicked off the same way? Probably, but the ball had gone in and if it had been ruled out, we looked like scoring another one anyway as we started so well.”
Holyport eventually managed to shrug off their sluggish start, and levelled matters with two goals in five second half minutes. The first came from a firm Kickie Dzimba header and the second from a thumping strike on the turn from substitute Tobi Shoyoye.
At that stage the visitors looked the more likely winners, but Burnham had an ace left up their sleeve and Clarke provided it, finishing off a flowing move with a curling finish beyond Fred Chapman.
“Ultimately, what we’ve done in the end is take a barrage of attacks in the second half,” added Murray. “And we’ve been able to withstand that, and our forwards are lethal at this level.
“The reaction after their goals was good. From open play we’ve restricted them to one good chance, which they’ve scored from. That’s something to take on board, but I’m happy defensively.
“Louis has come in and done really well defensively, and Tom Kemp in his first game back after a long layoff played well. We’ll take that
“We’ve got a nucleus of very young and energetic players that want to learn.
“We’ve got 10 games left after today and 26 training sessions which is great. We’ll utilise those and make sure everything is set. The facilities here are unbelievable and we’ll push forwards.”