Liam Hatch headed a late winner as Darlington opened their Blue Square Bet Premier campaign with victory over newly-promoted Braintree Town.
Braintree enjoyed the better of the first half and went close through Ben Wright, Matt Paine and Aswad Thomas.
But Darlington improved after the break and saw Hatch's shot hit the post before Marc Bridge-Wilkinson curled an effort against the bar.
Hatch won it when he guided in Kris Taylor's cross from 10 yards.
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Braintree Town boss Alan Devonshire told BBC Essex:
"We played really well the first 70 minutes, then they came onto us a little bit.
"We thought we'd weathered the storm and I feel a bit disappointed because it was a bad goal to give away.
"I was hoping for 0-0, they've ended up nicking the game, we could have ended up nicking it."
Darlington: Russell, Purkiss, Miller, Lee, Greg Taylor, Chandler (McReady 59), Kris Taylor, Atkinson, Bridge-Wilkinson (Bowman 69), Hatch, Walshaw (Campbell 80). Subs Not Used: Pocklington,Arnison.
Goals: Hatch 83.
Braintree Town: McDonald, O'Connor, Bailey-Dennis, Paine, Thomas, Symons (Quinton 87), Reason (Yiadom 69), Merril-James, Davis, Marks, Wright (Chilaka 80). Subs Not Used: Ashlee Jones,Mark Jones.
Ref: Darren Bond (Lancashire).