Two late goals handed Louth Town an opening day defeat as they began their new NCEL Division One season at Cleethorpes Town on Saturday.
Town secured a club record third place last campaign and reached the League Cup final, but a late double from Marc Cooper at the Bradley Community Stadium meant Daryl Clare’s men began this season with a loss.
Cleethorpes thought they had broken the deadlock midway through the first half only to see the goal disallowed for offside.
Former Louth player Rick Peck headed over from a corner kick for the hosts while at the other end Luke Mascall survived a penalty appeal when it looked as though he handled the ball.
The chance of the half went to Cleethorpes on 40 minutes when Cooper raced clear but was thwarted by Ian McTaggert.
After a lacklustre first half the White Wovles improved after the break with Daryl Clare and Kennedy both firing long range efforts just wide.
Town had another penalty claim when Cleethorpes were let off the hook again when a handball by Peck in the area went unnoticed.
With ten minutes left Craig Dalton limped off with cramp and moment later Cooper netted following a cross from the right by Maskell.
Town were unlucky not to get back on level terms when Josh Harley’s long throw fell for Nick Manders whose volley was narrowly off target.
Cooper put the result beyond doubt in the 87th minute when he met another inviting Mascall cross and stabbed home.
In stoppage time Cooper nearly completed a hat-trick of late goals but the White Wolves survived and left empty handed from their season opener.
Luke Burton was named the man of the match after a solid performance at the back.
Town’s first home game of the season is at home to Knaresborough Town on Wednesday night at Park Avenue (7.45pm).