DAVE Webb refused to be too downbeat despite seeing his Swindon Supermarine side crash 2-0 on the opening day of the Southern League Premier Division season at Didcot.

Marine were beaten by a first-half strike from John Mills and a long-range effort from Ben Whitehead after the break.

Webb however, believes better times are ahead for his side once they have a full complement of players to choose from, after having to travel to Oxfordshire with the bare 14 players on Saturday.

“I think that, in my time here, that’s the first defeat we’ve had on the opening day of the season,’’ he said.

“But they (Didcot) were the form side at the end of last season. They had a poor start, but then changed managers, brought new players in and finished the season very well.

“They’ve added players to the squad since then and, in their words rather than mine, they are a side going for the play-offs this season.’’ Webb added: “We’re all disapointed to lose the first match because it was one we were trying to win and we conceded two goals that we were very disappointed with.

“We did create one or two opportunities to score ourselves and if we had managed to take those chances we might have got something from the game.

“The lads are bitterly disappointed but it’s only one game, nothing is won or lost at this stage.’’ The Railwaymen had the better of the early chances and Mills, having gone close on a couple of previous occasions, finished from 15 yards after good work by Matt Clark and Sam Elkins.

Supermarine’s Josh Morse shot over the top before the re-signed Luke Hopper wasted a good opportunity shortly after half time.

Marine paid the price as Whitehead fired home past Sam Warrell – on his return to his former club – from 25 yards to double the home side’s advantage.

Ross Adams forced a good save from Didcot keeper James Foster and Marine’s final chance came in the dying moments as Ryan Stanners hit the post.

Webb added: “It was a very even game and could have gone either way, but we’ve got to regroup now.

“We need to get everybody back (in the squad) because we’re not in a position where we can have a squad of 25 players.

“We had the bare 14 on Saturday, with Eddie Stevens injured, Joe Shepherd and Chris Taylor on holiday and Flanagan injured.’’ Marine will be boosted by the return of Harry Etheridge for tomorrow night’s first home match of the season against Yate Town.

Webb added: “Pre-season has been quite challenging due to the number of players we’ve lost, but if we get three or four back I think we’ll be okay.

“Every team is mising one or two players at this time of year. We’ve been trying to recruit fresh players and that’s a process that is ongoing.

“What we want to do (on Tuesday) is get off to a good start at home.

“We’re trying to make the Webbs Wood a difficult place for teams to come to and get points. We need to win as many games as possible there.’’