Cheltenham manager Mark Yates hailed his side's defensive solidity after they claimed a 1-0 win at Bury.
Midfielder Joe Hanks replaced the injured Asa Hall early on and went on to score his first senior goal in the 42nd minute.
And that proved enough to beat a Bury side which was among the pre-season favourites to win the League 2 title.
"I'm delighted, it's a tough place to come," said Yates. "We've had a tough pre-season, we didn't do ourselves justice last week, and I think everyone wrote us off.
"Apparently we're a team that hasn't got a style or got too many good players, but we showed people that we have.
"Yes, I'm light on a bit of quality, but with results like that we have something to build on for this season.
"They were outstanding, marshalled by Steve Elliott and Troy Brown, and how we weren't two goals up baffles me.
"The referee gave it (Matt Taylor's disallowed goal) then changed his mind but it was a great finish by Joe.
"I said I needed a man's performance off the team and they gave me that. We limited a decent side to few chances and in the end they were just pumping balls into the box, which we coped pretty well with."
Yates lost Hall in just the eighth minute yet Cheltenham still took charge early on.
Jason Taylor had a shot turned wide by Shwan Jalal while Hanks volleyed too close to the Bury keeper.
Bury replied with Tom Soares turning Chris Hussey's low cross just wide, before Cheltenham's new captain Taylor had a goal disallowed for pushing.
But the Robins were not to be denied moments later as, after a spell of possession outside the Bury box, Byron Harrison laid off for Hanks to fire home from 20 yards.
The visitors sat back in the second half, and Nicky Adams and Ryan Lowe fired just wide for the Shakers while ex-Bury keeper Trevor Carson denied Pablo Mills and substitute James Poole.
"We thought Cheltenham would park the bus and they did," said Bury boss David Flitcroft.
"But I believe another 22 teams will come here and do that so it's something we need to work on. We just didn't hit our strikers with enough quality.
"We encountered problems but we'll find solutions, that's guaranteed.
"On chances created, I thought we did enough to win the game. I think Carson and Elliott were the two best players on the pitch.
"But we've got to overcome that - a keeper having a great game or a centre-half having an inspired performance. We've got to design wins and we fell short.
"We threw everything at them second half but didn't get any reward. There's a reason for that, it's not luck.
"Mark Yates came here with a game plan that worked so credit to Cheltenham. Luckily we've got another 45 games to get it right."