IF NUNEATON Town are to avoid the struggles of last season then this is the kind of performance to base their efforts on.
The basics of hard work, defensive discipline and high quality set pieces - so lacking a year ago in the 5-4 defeat to Ebbsfleet United - were there to see in abundance as they showed great resilience either side of Louis Moult’s 23rd minute header.
Let’s not get carried away though after one win. This was a diligent display as the better team won.
However, it remains to be seen if this was a battle of two of Skrill Premier’s more average teams.
Macclesfield Town certainly looked just that - average. Neat and tidy on the ball but lacking in penetration, they rarely looked like breaking down a side that defended from the front.
The work rate of Moult and Andy Brown will, as manager Kevin Wilkin says, always give Boro a chance.
Behind them, Adam Walker and Jon Adams produced quietly effective performances, while James Armson shone a little more as he continued his good form of pre-season.
Wilkin deployed a 3-5-2 formation that while not necessarily popular with fans or even the man himself, it is a system that suits many of the personnel he can call on.
One player it does not favour is Wes York. The want-away forward is anything but a right wing-back on paper, however, he put a shift in for the team.
Debutant Amari’i Bell shone on the other flank. He is far more familiar with his position, but even so his performance stood out considering he was a 19-year-old on debut.
The true stars of the show were probably the back three as Gaz Dean, Gavin Cowan and Theo Streete looked untroubled all afternoon.
Macclesfield only tested Dimitar Evtimov in the 86th minute such were their efforts.
Boro themselves will need to show a little more going forwards to break into the mid-table bracket they will hope for but not necessarily expect.
But if they keep winning games like this 1-0 and enjoy a season hovering comfortably adrift of the relegation zone then surely most fans will take it.
Let’s see how the team goes against Forest Green Rovers tomorrow and bogey side Southport on Saturday before any more considered projections are made.
Both enjoyed standout wins for differing reasons at the weekend - Rovers hitting Hyde for eight and Southport pipping perennial promotion favourites Luton Town 1-0.
One win does not guarantee a successful season, but 45 more performances like this mean Boro should be just fine.
Wilkin handed competitive debuts to three new signings. Evtimov started in goal, Streete was in defence and Amari’i Bell was the left wing-back.
Moult played his first game as a permanent signing after playing on loan from Northampton Town last season.
He partnered Brown in attack as Greg Pearson was named on the bench. There was no place in the squad for keeper James Belshaw, winger Mark Bell and central midfielder Phil Trainer.
Belshaw will get his chance tomorrow though as Evtimov is on international duty with Bulgaria Under-21s. The Silkmen’s left-back was Danny Andrew who looked did well on trial for Boro in pre-season.
He continued that trend with a good debut for his new club.
Macclesfield looked lively early on as they got some joy out wide, particularly down the left where Amari’i Bell found himself isolated at times.
However Boro grew into the game and forced the first shot on target - Moult firing straight at Rhys Taylor.
They took the lead after 23 minutes through Moult as he powered in a six yard header from an excellent Armson corner.
Armson had put some great balls in early on. Seconds earlier he had floated a free-kick in which Brown met with a strong header.
Rhys Taylor tipped it over well, but he was powerless to keep out Moult from the resulting corner.
Two minutes after the goal Brown charged down a short back pass and tackled the keeper but the ball ran to safety.
A quick break from the visitors saw Armson release Moult and he pulled the ball back for Brown, who saw his shot well blocked by a defender.
An early header over aside, the closest the Silkmen came before the break was when Connor Jennings fired over after a penalty appeal against Cowan was turned down. Chances were hard to come by for much of the second half.
Boro did manufacture one after 63 minutes when Armson fired in another dangerous free-kick.
Moult managed to get a shot in at the back post, but it was deflected. That almost took into the path of Streete for a tap in, however, Jennings cleared from virtually off the line.
The home side were still yet to test Evtimov as Steve Williams headed a corner wide after good defensive work from Dean.
It took until the 85th minute for Macclesfield to have a true shot on target, Jennings firing tamely at Evtimov.
A minute later though the keeper made a good save, showing fine powers of concentration to hold an eight yard header from Scott Kay.
The midfielder will feel he should have done better but Boro will care not as they saw the game out well.
SILKMEN (4-5-1): R Taylor; Connor, Bolton, Williams, Andrew; Mackreth (Gnahoua 82) Kissock (Holroyd 54), Whittaker (c), Kay, Rowe (Winn 71); Jennings; Subs not used: Boden, Lewis
BORO (3-5-2): Evtimov 7; Streete 8, Dean (c) 8 Cowan 8; York (Taylor 82) 7, Armson 8, Adams 7, Walker 7, A Bell 8; Moult (Pearson 88) 8, Brown 7; Subs not used: Sleath, McNamee, Gordon
ATTENDANCE: 1,585 (284 away)
BORO STAR MAN: Theo Streete