It was not a happy end to pre-season for Basingstoke Town as they lost their final two games.
The Dragons went down 2-0 away at Salisbury FC on Saturday and 2-1, also away at Leatherhead last week.
With the first game of their Southern League Premier Division campaign with Frome the visitors to the Camrose on Saturday, the Dragons will want to make amends following these losses.
Salisbury, a division below Town in the Southern League Division One, are seen as one of the favourites for promotion after finishing second last season and this would be a tough assignment for Terry Brown’s youthful side.
Basingstoke started brightly though – midfielder Michael Atkinson heading Ben Wright’s corner straight at Salisbury ‘keeper Charlie Searle.
Wing-back George Bennett then whipped in a free-kick that was headed over the bar by Aaron Jarvis.
They were made to pay for these missed chances though when Salisbury took the lead on 32 minutes when Mark Francis forced his way into the box, converting with a shot at the near post.
Basingstoke went up the other end and won a corner, but Jarvis fired wide.
Francis got his and Salisbury’s second just before half-time on 42 minutes, volleying in after Marvin Brooks had headed Callum Hart’s cross down from the left.
Manager Brown shuffled the Dragons after half-time, changing the formation to 4-3-3, moving Rob Atkinson into midfield and Sam Smart replacing Charlie McCann.
They had the first chance of the second half through Jarvis, but Searle in the Salisbury goal was determined to keep a clean sheet and saved the one-on-one.
After this, Basingstoke had few chances, apart from a late effort from Wright and Salisbury held on for their 2-0 victory.
Against Leatherhead, the Dragons found themselves under a barrage of pressure but Callum McAdden stayed firm, saving from Chike Kandi.
Despite this, Town used their youthfulness to their advantage and were deadly on the counter-attack, opening the scoring on 19 minutes thanks to a well-worked set piece, finished off by Ben Wright.
Leatherhead hit back though 11 minutes later through Kandi and the scores remained level at half-time.
Both sides continued to attack and had chances but Leatherhead scored their second and the winner in the 64th minute through Callum Davies after an otherwise impressive McAdden fumbled the ball.