GREG HOLLAND scored twice on his debut as Appledore made a winning start in the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League.
A depleted side always held the edge in an entertaining 4-3 victory after taking the lead with a deflected strike from James Marsh.
Keith Shapland, the player-manager, said: "It was a typical Appledore performance. We worked for each other, put bodies on the line and had a bit of quality when it mattered."
Danny Baily nipped in to equalise for Axminster but Brian Levien restored the advantage with a header.
Greg Holland struck the third from close range after Luke Holland's header was cleared off the line.
The hosts replied through Baily in the first minute of the second half but Greg Holland restored the two-goal cushion and a late header from Adam Downes was not enough for Axminster.