Melton Town players got their first run-out of the season on Saturday as they opened their schedule of friendlies with a 5-2 home defeat to Clifton All Whites.
Town entertained the newly-crowned Notts Senior League champions as they prepare for their second season in the United Counties League.
The new management team of Steve Hendey, Shane Jarram and Phil Baker had a large squad to work with, comprising many new faces.
In searing heat, both teams started well, but Clifton had the edge with their pacey forward line.
Clifton, who have won promotion to the East Midlands Counties League, were enthusiastic in and around Melton’s goal with continuous raids forward and finally took the lead.
Kicking uphill, Melton were slow to respond as the team became reacquainted, but there were signs of good football with Jack Baker, Liam Ambrose and Mike Hendey ruling the roost in midfield.
Clifton doubled their lead when an excellent solo run beat four Melton players before rounding the keeper, and before half-time they had a third.
Town took the game to Clifton after the break and got their reward with goals through Cameron Brookes and Tom Cooper.
The hosts applied plenty of pressure on the Clifton defence, but could not unlock them again and the visitors finished as they started with two further goals.
Hendey and Jarram were suitably pleased with Melton’s initial outing and several encouraging individual performances.
Town continue their season preparations with a home fixture against Northampton ON Chenecks on Saturday (ko 3pm).