Southend United make a winning start in the National League by beating King's Lynn Town at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town 0 Southend United 1
Striker Junior Morias saw red as King's Lynn Town made a losing start to the new National League season at The Walks.
Morias was shown a straight red card for a reckless stamp on Southend's Jason Demetriou six minutes from time and could have no complaints about being sent for an early bath.
The game itself was won by a first half goal from the Shrimpers Sam Dalby and the visitors were good value for the three points as they began their quest to bounce back to the Football League at the first attempt.
There was perhaps something of a surprise when the Lynn team news was announced with no place in the squad for Cameron King.
Playmaker King's place in the starting line-up was taken by Chesterfield loanee Joe Rowley who was handed his home debut.
Summer signings Paul Jones, Luis Fernandez, Pierce Bird, Ethan Coleman, Gold Omotayo and Junior Morias were also handed starts.
Striker Malachi Linton, signed on loan from Wycombe Wanderers on Friday, was among the Lynn subs along with Daniel Bowry, Michael Gyasi, Munashe Sundire and Joseph Gascoigne.
Southend - relegated from the Football League for the first time in 101 years last season - arrived at The Walks with an incredible away following.
The Shrimpers' travelling support vastly outnumbered the home supporters as the National League season kicked off with fans back in grounds.
Lynn made a bright start with Morias crossing from the left for Rowley in the fifth minute, but the youngster went to ground as he tried to create some space in the box and the ball was cleared for a corner.
But all of their early good work was undone when the visitors scored with their first attack of the afternoon three minutes later.
A free-kick from Harry Phillips was chipped to Rhys Murphy, who did well to find Jack Bridges, who crossed for Dalby to slot home home from close range.
It was almost 2-0 shortly after as Nathan Ferguson fired wide of Paul Jones' left post from 18 yards out.
Rowley was most impressive for the hosts in the opening quarter and saw his cross flash across the face of the visiting goal before the Shrimpers launched a counter-attack of their own involving Phillips and Dalby which was cleared for a corner.
Tyler Denton powered a header just over the crossbar from a Ross Barrows cross prior to Ian Culverhouse's side enjoying a good spell of possession.
Three minutes before the break Southend almost added a second when a teasing ball into the box by Jason Demetriou was almost turned in at the back post by Bridge.
A sloppy pass from Pierce Bird almost cost his side at the start of the second half, but Kyle Callan-McFadden spared his playing colleague by making a crucial intervention in the box as Murphy was about to pull the trigger.
Southend were looking to wrap the points up and Murphy was guilty of missing two chances in quick succession to do just that.
First of all he sliced wide of the post with just Jones to beat and shortly after he was denied by a brilliant stop from the home goalkeeper.
Omotayo produced Lynn's first effort on goal by forcing Steven Arnold into an excellent save from a cushion header.
The hosts replaced Fernandez with Linton in the 63rd minute and switched to a 4-3-3 as they looked to force their way back into the game.
Both Omotayo and Bird went close with headers, but it was the visitors who looked more likely to increase their advantage with Jones at full-stretch to keep out a Abu Ogogo effort with his fingertips.
Omotayo then forced Demetriou to clear off his line as Lynn pressed for an equaliser in the final 15 minutes.
Morias' dismissal, which is likely to lead to a three-match ban, was followed by a brace of brilliant saves by Jones to thwart both Matt Dennis and Nathan Ralph.
There was still time for Barrows to hit the Southend woodwork but Lynn weren't clinical enough in the final third.
King's Lynn Town (3-5-2): Jones 7; Fernandez 6 (Linton 63, 6), Callan-McFadden 6, Bird 6; Denton 6, Barrows 7, Coleman 6, Clunan 6 (Sundire 78, 6), Rowley 8 (Gyasi 74, 6); Morias 6, Omotayo 6.
Southend United (3-5-2): Arnold 7; Ralph 7, Coulson 8, White 7; Demetriou 7, Bridge 7 (Hobson 82, 6), Ogogo 7, Ferguson 7, Phillips 7; Murphy 7 (Dennis 81, 6), Dalby 7.