A BRILLIANT first-half defensive display disintegrated into a second-half shambles as Tyldesley RUFC began the new year with a 30-22 defeat to Southport.

On the back foot for long spells during the first half, a resilient Bongs restricted the hosts to just two converted penalties.

In just three visits into the opposition 22 Tyldesley were successful in crossing for two tries.

The first came via a quickly taken, tapped penalty by man-of-the-match Mark Dickenson and with the half almost up Paul Martin converted his own try to give the visitors an unexpected 14-6 half-time lead.

It took just 45 seconds of the second half for Southport to touch down and they regained the lead shortly after via a penalty.

Matt Soulsby took advantage of some positive scrummaging to nip in for a try in response More pressure led to Martin extending the lead to six with his only penalty attempt.

But two more South port tries made it their day.

Tyldesley face eighth place Widnes next in South Lancs and Cheshire Division One, with the Bongs hoping to extend the six-point gap between the two sides.