HARTLEPOOL United may not have scored a goal in their first five league games, but they've not let too many in either. It wasn't hard to see why on both counts at Plainmoor last Saturday.
The frustration for home fans was that Torquay United, crucially missing the first-half chances that would have forced Pools out of their 'shell', could not find a chink in the visitors' armour in the second half.
There were times when United's passing was not the best, but they did stick at it.
As Alan Knill's men kept moving the ball around, often across their defence and midfield to try and tempt Pools to leave just a few yards of exploitable space, some Gulls fans started to lose patience.
Very much the same thing happened in the early days of Roy McFarland's rebuilding job in 2001-2002 and when Leroy Rosenior carried on the good work.
That process culminated in automatic promotion in 2004, with the best team that Plainmoor has seen in many a living memory.
Howls of 'Get it up there!' had turned into 'Ole' and standing ovations as Russell, Fowler, Graham, Woods, McGlinchey & Co passed their way into League One.
But that team wasn't built in a day – in fact, it took nearly three years – and Knill's job is only a few months down the line.
There's never been any points handed out for what-ifs or maybes, but what might have happened if Pool defenders hadn't thrown themselves in the way of two efforts by Jordan Chapell – in the first 45 seconds!
Karl Hawley, working hard as usual, also went close early on and, in the 37th minute, Billy Bodin missed the best chance of the first half, shooting tamely wide after Callum Ball had done well to slip him clear.
Pools' veteran centre-forward Steve Howard tried to put himself about against Krystian Pearce and Aaron Downes, until he angrily came off worse in a challenge with Downes and sustained a gash on his cheek.
Howard returned after treatment, before being withdrawn at half-time, which prompted Pools manager Colin Cooper to circle the wagons, go to 4-5-1 and aim for a point.
Apart from the occasional counter by the visitors, the second half saw United probing away.
Bodin missed again, after good work by Nicholson and Ball, in the 53rd minute, before Knill sent on first Courtney Cameron and then Damon Lathrope for Bodin and Ben Harding.
Cameron delivered two or three good crosses which nearly forced a breakthrough before, in the 82nd minute, United finally thought they'd done it.
Nicholson and Ball combined again on the left and Ball's cross-shot beat Pools goalie Scott Flinders.
Sub Elliot Benyon chested the ball over the line with his first touch of the ball, only to be pulled up for offside.
Whether the ball would have gone in without Benyon's intervention is doubtful, but it's always the striker's job to make certain anyway.
When a team is on top for so long without scoring, there's always a danger of being caught by a sucker punch. In stoppage time United failed to pick up Brad Walker and he shot narrowly wide.
Many fans missed the linesman's raised flag for offside, as Plainmoor breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Rice; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson; Chapell, Mansell, Harding (Lathrope 76), Bodin (Cameron 65); Hawley (Benyon 81), Ball; subs not used – N. Thompson, Cruise, Sullivan, C. Thompson (gk).
Booked: Ball (foul 83).
Hartlepool United (4-4-2): Flinders; Duckworth, Burgess, Baldwin, Austin; Walker, Walton, Dolan, Compton (Monkhouse 70); Howard (James 46), Franks; subs not used – Collins, Poole, Raffety (gk), Holden, Rodney.
Booked: Howard (foul 28), Walker (foul 48).
Referee: Oliver Langford (W. Midlands).
Attendance: 2,646 (89 Pools fans).
Statistics: Fouls – United 11, Pools 7; Offsides – United 4, Pools 5; Corners – United 2, Pools 4; Shots/Headers On Target – 6, Pools 2; Off Target – United 10, Pools 3; Hit Woodwork – None.