Barnstaple Town’s first match of the new Evo-Stik Division One South season ended in a 3-1 defeat to Moneyfields on Saturday.
Barum’s preparations for the match weren’t ideal, with a struggle to raise a team after a number of players committed themselves to other clubs in the days before Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth.
The journey – one of the longest of the season for Barnstaple – also saw them get stuck in traffic, resulting in a delayed kick-off.
When they got on the field, Lewis Fennemore gave the hosts the lead after five minutes.
Lloyd Rowlatt doubled Moneyfields’ advantage 10 minutes before half-time, and made it 3-0 just after the hour.
Barnstaple kept fighting though, and got their goal with 11 minutes remaining when Ben Paul chased down goalkeeper Steve Mowthorpe and pounced on the loose ball to tap into the empty net.
Barnstaple co-manager Kevin Darch said he was proud of the side that made the journey.
“It was a stressful week and I’m massively proud of the lads who went up there and committed themselves to Barnstaple,” he said.
“To only lose 3-1 was a testament to how hard they worked. They worked their socks off. Obviously we weren’t quite good enough quality-wise, but I would have taken that score at the start of the day.
“The disappointing thing is the goals were all avoidable. Just cases of switching off and not being used to playing at that level.
“Obviously nobody likes losing football matches, but in the grand scheme of things they did really well.”
Barnstaple’s first home match of the season comes tomorrow night (Tuesday), with Bristol Manor Farm the visitors.
The preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup follows on Saturday, with Barum at home to Wessex Premier League side Shaftesbury Town.
Darch anticipates two tough games before Bank Holiday Monday’s North Devon derby with Bideford.
“Bristol Manor Farm are going to be one of the favourites for the league and they’ve got some very good players, so they will be favourites against us,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a David versus Goliath situation, but if everyone rolls their sleeves up and has a go I can’t ask for any more.
“I don’t know a lot about Shaftesbury but they beat Wells to get here so they can’t be a bad side. It will be a tough game.
“Anything can happen in the FA Cup as you see in professional football, it would be a nice game to win.”