Harrogate manager Simon Weaver hailed his history-making side after a convincing 4-0 win at Southend.
Town won promotion via the National League play-offs last season and Weaver was delighted to see his side start life in the Football League with a well-deserved victory at Roots Hall.
“There were a few nerves early on but once we got the first goal we settled down and it was a true reflection of how the group can perform,” said Weaver.
“But no-one moans here and I think that’s quite refreshing in modern-day football. They put in a real shift and hopefully this is a real confidence-booster.
“We have some big games coming up and we want to build on this momentum and get as many points as we can as quickly as we can.
“We want to be positive and this is a great way for us to start in the Football League.
“We’re an honest group of players and when you have someone with the experience of Jon Stead coming off the bench and playing like his life depends on it, it’s infectious.
“We’re glad to have him on board and the rest of the gang as well.”
Harrogate broke the deadlock after 23 minutes when Aaron Martin diverted George Thomson’s right-wing cross into the path of Jack Muldoon who fired home from 12 yards.
Town remained in control at Roots Hall and doubled their lead just before the break through Lloyd Kerry’s powerful long-range effort, with Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley only able to help the ball on its way.
After the break, Shrimpers striker Charlie Kelman had a header saved by Harrogate goalkeeper Joe Cracknell before an inviting left-wing cross from Lewis Gard bounced back off the right post.
However, Harrogate hit back and made it 3-0 on the hour mark, Martin with a sharply taken shot on the turn, and the visitors completed the scoring in the 69th minute with a curling effort from Muldoon.
And that made it a miserable first game in charge for Southend boss Mark Molesley.
“It’s an indication of where we are at the moment,” said Molesley, who joined the Shrimpers after a successful spell at Weymouth.
“I think it’s the youngest squad Southend have ever put out to play.
“We have some experienced lads on the treatment table but it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“We showed some naive moments and it was men against boys in every sense of the word.
“We know we need to improve and improve quickly too. But hopefully we can turn things around very quickly and come back fighting in the games we have coming up.”