BRIDGWATER Town began their 2019/20 Toolstation Western League campaign with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Brislington on Saturday.

The Robins are targeting promotion back into the Southern League this year, while Brislington finished 18th in last season's Premier Division.

Yet two goals in the first half and some determined defending in the second saw the hosts secure the three points.

Bridgwater's back three - Jamie Laird, Mark Armstrong and Jake Horsey - struggled against the Brislington attacking trio, with left winger Mason Dagger a particular threat.

Dagger created the opening goal on five minutes, breaking clear down the left and pulling the ball back for Jayden Nielson to fire past Fraser McDermid.

Danny Barwood twice came close to extending the hosts' lead, with a header which flew just wide, and then a volley which was clawed out by McDermid.

Steve Murray and Dave O'Hare shot straight at home goalkeeper Liam May at the other end, and the Robins pulled level in the 34th minute.

Following a corner kick, Murray sent a lofted ball into the area for Laird to head home.

Yet it was the home side who went back ahead two minutes before half-time, as a ball in from the right was contested by McDermid, Horsey and Oaklan Buck, with the ball appearing to deflect off the latter and into the net.

Still Brislington continued to threaten after the break - C. Parsons seeing a shot cleared off the line by Armstrong - but gradually the Robins began to dominate as the hosts sat back.

Laird had a shot from a corner headed clear, and then Jack Taylor shot narrowly wide.

Just as Bridgwater were building momentum, a flashpoint on 80 minutes saw both sides reduced to 10 men.

Barwood fouled Jake Brown, who reacted, and both were shown red.

The Robins pushed for a second equaliser to the end, but their luck was out and the home side held on for all three points.

Bridgwater Town: Fraser McDermid, Dave Thorne, Jake Llewellyn (Fin Wilkinson 53), Mark Armstrong, Jamie Laird, Jake Horsey, Harry Horton (Mike Duffy 70), Dave O’Hare (Sam Towler 75), Steve Murray, Jack Taylor, Jake Brown.

Bridgwater are at home this coming Tuesday, with Cribbs the visitors to Fairfax Park (ko 7.45pm).