The curtain went up on 2018/19 season as Cambridge City and Corby Town shared a point with a 1-1 draw.
With a plethora of new signings in the final week of pre-season, there was much pre-match discussion among the Lilywhites faithful as to who boss Robbie Nightingale would select for his starting line-up.
The outcome was a start for Sam Squire who had signed the day before on loan from Cambridge United. Ebby Nelson-Addy was skipper and took his place in the centre of midfield to replace the injured Ross Paterson whilst Salim Relizani was preferred ahead of Ryan Towner with new signing Josh Oyinsan partnering Ryan Sharman up front.
It was Oyinsan who almost put City in front when he met a long throw from Jack Wilkinson. His flick header was tipped over the bar by Dan George in the Corby goal.
As the match settled down, Corby were struggling to contain the attacking prowess of City, and Ebby Nelson-Addy twice went close when he attempted to curl efforts past the keeper, but on both occasions he missed the target.
The match was just short of 20 minutes when City got their first goal of the season. The ball was played in to Oyinsan, who with his back to goal, turned his man and fired home giving George no chance.
Oyinsan was then unlucky not to get a touch to a free kick as it was played in and the ball went agonisingly past his outstretched foot.
Corby had a chance to level as the first half reached the end when the ball was played in, and Liam Gooch could only palm into the path of Elliot Sandy, but he skied the opportunity over the bar. The visitors then did exactly the same but this time it was Jordan Francis who was guilty of not hitting the target.
The first half was marred by an unsavoury challenge on Sam Squire. The City midfielder was fouled and was subsequently kicked whilst lying on the floor. In the melee that followed, Salim Relizani was shown the yellow card.
The early part of the second half lacked any real goal mouth action, with Ryan Sharman perhaps having the best opportunity when he saw an effort blocked by George.
Sharman should have got his account for the season up and running shortly after when Ben Robinson picked him out, and his effort from no more than six yards out drew an outstanding save from George.
Corby though were still in the game and had the next opportunity when Jordan Crawford forced a save from Liam Gooch who gathered on the second attempt.
The game then turned in the favour of the visitors when Salim Relizani was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
With City down to 10 men it was of all hands to the deck to preserve their 1-0 lead. With 2 minutes left on the clock, they were undone when Elliot Sandy met a Gary Mulligan cross to bring the visitors level.
City then had a major let off when substitute Gregory Ling was unmarked at the back post but somehow headed over with the goal at his mercy.
So City are off the mark with a point in a game that they will reflect back on and realise they were in control of for long periods but ultimately succumbed when trying to preserve their lead with 10 men.
Next up for the Lilywhites is a midweek trip to Barton Rovers who were beaten 4-1 by Yaxley today.
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