Boston United 1 Chester 1
(Jordan Thewlis 38; George Waring 40)
Boston United kicked off their National League North campaign with a point - for the first time in 16 years.
The Pilgrims and Chester played out a 1-1 draw at the Jakemans Stadium in a contest which began with all the nervous tension expected of the opening day of the season, and continued in that manner.
Jordan Thewlis will claim United’s opener, although it took a huge chunk of good fortune to help the ball over the line.
But there will be frustrations that George Waring was allowed to head the Blues level less than two minutes later.
Both sides have play-off ambitions this term, and both will be happy to have ended the day with something on the board.
Even if, for United, it was their first opening-day draw since a goalless League Two stalemate at Macclesfield Town in 2003.
Two goals in less than two minutes saw the sides go in level at the interval.
Thewlis put the Pilgrims in front, bringing Tom Platt’s deep cross down before turning and delivering a cross-shot goalwards.
Russ Griffiths looked favourite to comfortably claim, only for defender Simon Grand to slide in and divert the ball into the net. A huge slice and a huge slice of luck.
Chester’s response was immediate, Waring heading the hosts level as the jubilant United were caught napping.
Boston, for all their free-flowing football in pre-season, looked nervy in the first half, three important saves from Peter Crook keeping the scoreline pleasant for the hosts.
The warning sides were there early on as Anthony Dudley was found unmarked in the Pilgrims box, the Boston keeper down well to palm away the strike.
Crook was called upon again, using his body to deny Danny Elliott and Dudley once more, as those gaps in United defence continued to be exploited.
Boston showed flashes in the first half, looking more dangerous on the break.
Jay Rollins tormented the Blues with his tricks, twists and turns, but the travelling defence were happy to nod away the danger time and again, with Platt’s long ranger lacking direction.
It was better from Boston after the break, Rollins heading Platt’s cross over and Thewlis forcing a save from Griffiths before Dudley lashed a 20-yarder off target from 20 yards out.
As the game fell flat - both sides appearing happier not to lose this contest - Chester old boys Shaun Tuton and George Green replaced Jake Wright and Andi Thanoj as United looked for a spark to reignite their charge.
But nothing came.
UNITED: Crook, Middleton, Whittle, Thanoj (Green 76), Ainge, Shiels, Platt, Abbott, Wright (Tuton 68), Thewlis (Walker 83), Rollins; Subs: Jackson, Willis.
CHESTER: Griffiths, K. Roberts, Taylor, G. Roberts, Livesey, Grand, Jackson (Mahon 64), Stopforth, Waring (Burton 80), Elliott (Hughes 80), Dudley; Subs: Waters, Morgan.
REF: Aaron Bannister.
ATT: 1,393 (223).