Tommy Kavanagh’s second goal in a week was enough to secure the tightest of 1-0 wins for Kingstonian over AFC Hornchurch on Saturday.
But if getting revenge for last season’s play-off loss was sweet, there was a sour taste to proceedings too in a game marred by seven Hornchurch bookings and no shortage of flying challenges from the Essex side.
Daniel Sweeney, injured by a two-footed challenge in April against the same opponents, was once again whacked on the ankle and had to withdraw before the interval.
But assistant boss Graham Harper was delighted to see his side battle through to maintain thier unbeaten start to the new Ryman Premier League campaign.
“It was a frustrating afternoon because that’s what Hornchurch do,” he said.
“They try to get in and around you and upset you with tackles and whatnot.
“Sometimes you get involved in games like that where it’s not how you yourselves want to play or your ethic.
"But it’s pleasing that we’ve dug in and come out on top against a side like that because we know we can mix it. You know it’s going to be tough and physical.”
The match looked like it was heading for a niggly nil-nil when substitute Nathaniel Pinney, who found space intelligently after his introduction, received the ball on the edge of the area.
The ball bobbled off to Kavanagh who struck first time across keeper Sam Mott, deflecting and hitting both posts before going in.
But Hornchurch had their chances, particularly former Ryman Golden Boot winner Martin Tuohy, who was twice denied by off-the-line clearances from Matt Drage and Alan Inns.
Junior Luke also missed a sitter, skying the ball so high it went over the old Kingston Road End.
K’s sit third in the league with seven points from the opening three games ahead of Wednesday's derby trip to Leatherhead and Saturday's journey to Bognor Regis Town.