WEALDSTONE are learning the harsh realities of life in a higher division.

Promoted as National League South champions last season, the Stones registered a morale-boosting 2-2 draw at Yeovil Town in their first match in the fifth tier since 1988.

Moses Emmanuel put Dean Brennan’s side ahead and although Yeovil turned things around to lead 2-1, Michael Phillips ensured a share of the spoils.

Another away match at Dagenham and Redbridge followed on Saturday but Wealdstone lost 1-0 before facing title favourites Stockport County at the 4,000 capacity Grosvenor Vale Stadium in midweek.

Wealdstone took the lead in their first home match of the campaign through Jorome Slew and although the Hatters equalised, Ross Lafayette put the Stones 2-1 up in the 48th minute.

However, Brennan’s side were unable to hold on for a first victory back in the National League as Stockport scored four times in the final 13 minutes - ex-Wrexham and Chester midfielder John Rooney completed his hat-trick - to secure a 5-2 success.

Defeat leaves Wealdstone bottom of the table, although they have a game in hand, but Brennan remains upbeat ahead of another home match against Wrexham tomorrow.

“I am proud of lots of aspects of our game,” said Brennan.

“We can’t be too disappointed when we lose to a side like Stockport.

“We have got to be very positive and just move onto the next game. We have got to go again and prepare for Wrexham.”

The odds are stacked against Wealdstone who are tipped by many to be involved in a relegation fight this season.

But Dublin-born Brennan, who came through the ranks at Sheffield Wednesday and played for several non-league clubs before becoming a manager at just 29, was feeling optimistic ahead of the new campaign.

“We’ve set a points target. I’m one of those people where if you reach for the moon you might just get the stars,” said Brennan, who led Wealdstone to promotion in his first season at the helm.

“I think it’s very important that we set goals. Individual goals for players scoring goals, creating goals, clean sheets for defenders.

“All of those targets are ones players want to achieve and if everyone reaches the goals that we’ve set them we’ll have a very successful season.”

Brennan, who has strengthened his title winning squad by bringing in the likes of Jorome Slew, Adel Gafaiti, Charlie Wakefield, Kundai Benyu and Alex Dyer, admits Weymouth have been handed a difficult start to the season.

But that doesn’t mean that the Stones aren’t going to be competitive

“I think the first five games are very tough for us, they’re all ex-League clubs. Chesterfield 20-odd years ago were in the semi-final of the FA Cup,” said Brennan.

“With us being part-time and going up against probably 20 or 21 clubs that are full-time, it’s going to be difficult.

“We’ve got a gameplan of how we want to play. I think we want to impact the level with how we play. But some days we’re going to have to adapt and maybe sometimes play on the break with our pace.”

Brennan is looking to add loan players to his squad and he has lined up deals for Premier League youngsters, although getting signings over the line depends on whether the players move to EFL clubs before today’s domestic transfer deadline.

“If they don’t get league loans it filters down to us so I think every manager of clubs like ourselves will be looking to do the exact same thing,” he said.