BRACKNELL Bees head coach Doug Sheppard will surely be working extra hard on his side's defensive work in training this week ahead of the opening National League home and away fixtures with Peterborough Phantoms, writes Dave Wright.

In their four warm-up games, involving Swindon Wildcats and Raiders, they conceded 21 goals while scoring 12 themselves.

For the second week running, they had a win and a draw last weekend, beating Raiders 5-4 at The Hive before crashing 7-1 in the Romford return on Sunday.

They got off to a flier last Saturday, with Josh Martin giving them the lead with less than 10 seconds on the clock and Josh Smith doubling their advantage less than three minutes later.

Raiders opened their account through Blahoslav Novak in the 17th minute.

Louis Colvin restored his side's two-goal advantage four minutes into the second period, only for the visitors to bring the scores level with two goals in two minutes from Aaron Connolly and Novak, his second of the game.

The TSI World Bees went back in front thanks to Smith after 35 minutes with Vanya Antonov making it 5-3 in the 53rd minute.

Jake Sylvester pulled one back with a power-play goal late on, but Bees held on for victory on a night when they outshot their rivals 42-33.

Amazingly, Bracknell got in the same number of goal attempts in Romford, yet managed just one goal.

And that came from Aidan Doughty with just over six minutes of the game remaining.

Bees, who were not at full strength with the two Baird brothers among those missing, were caught cold when Lukas Sladkovsky fired the hosts ahead after just 22 seconds.

Six minutes later, Jake Sylvester added a second with Aaron Connolly making it 3-0 by the end of the first period.

Within two minutes of the start of the middle period, Bees fell further behind to a Sean Barry goal and it got worse for them when Connolly and Brandon Ayliffe both netted in the opening 67 seconds of the third period.

Doughty's consolation goal came on power-play.

Coach Sheppard will be hoping for a much-improved performance against Peterborough this weekend, with the home match being played on Saturday at 6.15pm.

Phantoms also had a similar record to Bees in their pre-season games, with two wins and two defeats.

Last weekend, they drew 2-2 at Basingstoke before winning 4-0 at home in an ill-tempered affair which saw Bison pick up 62 penalty minutes and Phantoms 34.

Reading-born Luke Jackson, 20, has been given a two-year full contract with the Bees, having originally been on a two-way agreement with the Hornets.

Sheppard commented: "Luke started to impress in the summer and did a great job in the first two games. Add in his work ethic and I think the time is right for him to step up full time. I’m looking forward to working with him and to continue watching him develop.”