ST Helens Town opened their Hallmark Security League First Division campaign with a 2-0 defeat at New Mills on Saturday, writes Glyn Jones.

It was a difficult first fixture in charge for Lee Jenkinson, who stepped up from assistant in the week of Alan Gillespie's surprise resignation last week.

New Mills went into the contest having just returned from two successive relegations after five seasons in the Evo-Stik First Division, while St Helens travelled to Derbyshire short of several first-choice players, including Andy Gillespie, Paul Carney, Sean Kelly, Luke Edwards and Joel Douglas.

The last encounter seven years ago during the Millers’ promotion season ended in a 9-0 win for the home side.

The opening 15 minutes saw Town under ceaseless pressure and they might easily have gone three or four goals down but for the heroics of keeper Tom Bradley and a number of wasted chances.

However, just as St Helens settled into the game and began to build their confidence, Ed Driver put the home side ahead from the corner of the box following a move down the right, somewhat against the run of play on 25 minutes.

Town fought back and Matty Smith had a good chance five minutes from the break, but hit the ball just as he lost his balance, then once again, as St Helens looked dangerous, Bobby Lofthouse found himself in space 20 yards out and drilled home an excellent shot just out of Bradley’s reach for New Mills’ second goal in the 43rd minute.

The half ended with a foul on Danny Lomax and Danny Forrester’s superb free kick rattled the home crossbar just before the whistle blew for the break.

The second half was a very even affair, with Town giving every bit as good as they got.

Andy Webster was masterful at the back, ably supported by full-backs Dom Whelan and Andy Presho.

Danny Lomax played the anchor role in midfield and Neil Weaver turned in a lively, man-of-the-match performance in the number 10 position.

A little more penetration up front would have provided more of a threat on the home goal but, at this early stage of the season, it is difficult to say how good the opposition were and where the sides are likely to finish the season relative to each other, when it comes down to assessing just how good this performance actually was.