Phil Brown enjoyed a happy return to his first club as 10-man Southend claimed a tough 1-0 win at Hartlepool.
The Shrimpers boss started his career as a young defender in 1979 at Pools and looked on with pride as his latest club held on for a victory, despite playing for 45 minutes with 10 men.
They were a player down when striker Barry Corr was harshly red-carded for a soft tangle with home defender Jack Baldwin. Nevertheless, they held on for a second win of the season.
Freddy Eastwood scored the only goal, turning the ball home from close range after five minutes when Will Atkinson made the most of a defensive slip to tee the striker up, leaving new Pools boss Colin Cooper still searching for his first win.
"It's a big win, it sets a marker down with regards of how we play, the style of football, workrate, commitment, togetherness - all those things managers look for when trying to create a team,'' said Brown.
"We defended and helped each other - it was magnificent in terms of character, resilience and results.
"I asked for a big game from Freddy and Barry Corr. I made my debut here in 1979 and know the pitch is a massive one. But, use the ball well and it's not that big - Hartlepool are a decent side, a passing team and have a bit of pace in the team and can stretch you.
"Colin has the basis of a good side and, when we went to 10 men it was about a test of character.''
Corr was dismissed a minute after a scrap involving around 15 players as half-time approached and referee Mark Brown, on the advice of an assistant, showed red.
Brown added: "I think it was a harsh decision, it came from the linesman, he made it. He witnessed it, but it was a joint witness - both assistants told the referee it was a red card, so he had no choice and was squeezed into it.
"I'll look at it, but Barry is adamant he's not done enough to warrant a red card and some of our staff feel the same.''
For Pools boss Cooper it was a second defeat without scoring in as many League Two games following an opening-weekend humbling at Rochdale.
His side dominated possession, but were unable to turn their advantage into goals.
"As someone new into this job, I'll have to learn off frustration,'' he admitted.
"For the majority of the game the lads did what we are working on.
"We need a solution to putting the ball in the goal and we will do that. The bits in between are coming and the rest will be there.
"I cannot ask any more in terms of application and effort and all that.
"Balls in the box we did a lot and put balls into dangerous areas, we need the solution to scoring.''