YORK City manager Nigel Worthington expressed pleasure, but not relief, as his side ended an eight-game wait for their first victory of the season.
The Minstermen won at Stevenage but made hard work of the three points, throwing away a two-goal lead after the Hertfordshire hosts had been reduced to 10 men following Andy Bond’s sending-off.
But Wes Fletcher scored his second goal of the game to clinch victory with a 76th-minute penalty as the visitors also avoided equalling a Football League record of six straight draws at the start of a campaign.
With his side now unbeaten in 23 regular league fixtures, however, Worthington insisted he was never concerned by his team’s early-season form, saying: “I’m not relieved.
“I’m just pleased for the players and supporters because there have been so many good things during our start to the season and we haven’t been getting our just rewards.
“We want to kick on now and, if we all do our jobs as a unit and keep doing the right things, we can win a lot more games and go on a run.”
Michael Coulson opened the scoring in the third minute with his first goal of the campaign, curling a delightful 25-yard free-kick in off Sam Beasant’s left-hand post after he had been upended by home defender Darius Charles.
A sweeping move involving Russell Penn, Luke Summerfield and Coulson then saw the latter tee up Fletcher for a 10-yard chance on 15 minutes that the ex-Burnley striker finished emphatically.
Stevenage’s troubled afternoon looked to have taken a further turn for the worse when Bond hacked down Fletcher near the halfway line and was given a straight red card on 31 minutes.
But the midfielder’s dismissal seemed to have an uplifting effect on Graham Westley’s men in the second half with two goals in five minutes seeing them level.
First, Chris Whelpdale headed in from six yards after Charlie Lee had climbed highest to meet a free-kick from Ronnie Henry, who also delivered another cross from the right for his team’s second goal.
His centre flicked off the head of York defender Keith Lowe, setting up a simple 10-yard opportunity for winger Tom Pett that he swept past Michael Ingham.
The Minstermen were not finished, however, with Lindon Meikle spotting a forward surge into the penalty box by Marvin McCoy and, when the right-back had his heels clipped by Pett, Fletcher stepped up to send Beasant the wrong way from the spot.
Stevenage Borough: Beasant; Henry, Ashton (Zola, 84), Charles, Okimo (Dembele, 46); Whelpdale, Bond, Walton, Pett; Lee, Lancaster (Marriott, 59). Unused substitutes: Day, Dembele, Calcutt, Deacon.
York City: Ingham; McCoy, Lowe, McCombe, Ilesanmi; Meikle (Jarvis, 88), Penn, Summerfield, Straker (Hyde, 72); Coulson, Fletcher. Unused substitutes: Mooney, Parslow, Winfield, Montrose, Hirst.
Referee: Lee Collins (Surrey)
Man of the match: Michael Coulson.