HARTLEPOOL Rovers started life in Durham Northumberland One with a defeat at the hands of Alnwick, giving a mixed display in the process.

The opening-day trip to Greensfield, arguably the toughest away-day Rovers will face in the division, was always going to be a testing match for the relegated Whites.

But it is games like this that Rovers will have to win if they are to achieve their aim of an instant return to North One East.

The reverse fixture will be the final league game of the season but, while this loss will hurt Rovers, it will be the intervening 24 games that will ultimately fashion Rovers’ promotion campaign.

Alnwick have a formidable home record and not many sides will leave Northumberland with a result.

Bonus points can be crucial in the final standings and Rovers will be disappointed not to have secured at least a losing BP.

Read full match report in today’s Sportmail.