Barnstaple Town suffered defeat in their penultimate pre-season fixture, losing 3-0 to Bridgwater Town at Mill Road.

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart

Bridgwater, managed by former Barum assistant manager Karl Baggaley and striker Dave Pearse, started and finished well, with a brace from Steve Murray and a strike from Nathan Byrne giving the Western League side the result.

Bridgwater took advantage of a slow start from Barnstaple and took the lead after seven minutes when Murray found room in the box to fire a low shot in from the right inside the penalty area.

Barnstaple recovered and began to pose more threat going forward. They were denied an equaliser 10 minutes after going behind when Mike Humphreys and Theo Simpson both saw close-range efforts blocked after a corner from Liam Gregory. Keeper Fraser McDiamond did well to keep out Simpson's effort.

They had their best chance to equalise six minutes before half time when Brian Levien was brought down in the box after getting in behind the defence. With a penalty awarded, Simpson stepped up but didn't get hold of the ball as he would have wanted, sending a tame effort down the middle for McDiamond to save.

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart

Barum continued to look bright after the break but were unable to find the net. Saddam Bello went close for the hosts from a corner.

Bridgwater brought on Pat O'Halloran and Nathan Byrne midway through the second half and from there the game changed. The second goal came shortly after when O'Halloran dispossessed Aaron Harper-Penman and skipped through on goal.

Although Steve Oliver was able to get a foot to the ball, it came straight out to Byrne who sent in a low shot.

Bridgwater wrapped up the victory 10 minutes later when Murray broke past Kieran Jewell and rifled an effort from the edge of the penalty area into the back of the net.

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart

Manager Aaron Harper-Penman said: "We started very slow, took us 10-15 minutes to get in the game and came into the second half a lot better.

"They were probably more hungry. They're a good side and Baggs and Pearsey have had a few years with them now and they're well drilled.

"You don't get any points for friendlies, its about getting minutes and we made a lot of changes in the second half. We go again next week and get set for the first game of the season.

"It's nice to have Baggs and Pearsey back and they're always welcome here. They both did a brilliant job down here and they're top, top blokes. I would have preferred to win, but we've tried different things and it's not realty paid off for us."

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple take on Holsworthy at Mill Road in their final pre-season game on August 2, eight days before Barum's Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round tie at Exmouth Town.

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Bridgwater Town. Picture: Matt Smart