Collier at a loss as Bluebirds slip to defeat after good start

This Is Wiltshire: James Guthrie holds up James Pilling of Hungerford during the 1-0 defeat James Guthrie holds up James Pilling of Hungerford during the 1-0 defeat

CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mark Collier is struggling to pinpoint the reasons behind his side’s poorest display of the season so far after the Bluebirds were beaten by Hungerford Town on Saturday.

Chippenham, who have enjoyed an impressive first month of the Southern League Premier Division season, slipped to their second defeat of the campaign, losing 1-0 to the Crusaders.

Collier believed defender Conor McCormack was fouled in the lead-up to Harry Goodger’s decisive first half goal but is adamant that his team shouldn’t have allowed their opponents to create an opportunity as they appealed for a decision from referee Gary Parsons.

“It should have been a foul. I spoke to the referee’s assessor and the referee’s coach after the game and they both spotted the incident but, at the end of the day, the referee himself didn’t,” said the Bluebirds boss.

“Even though it should have been given, we’ve still let Hungerford travel 60 yards from where the foul took place and we shouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

“I spent 45 minutes after the game discussing with (coach) Tom Jones why the performance was our poorest of the season and we couldn’t quite put our finger on it – when you’ve got seven, eight or nine players not at it, you’re not going to win football matches.

“We weren’t at the races at all and we were really lacking that cutting edge.

“Darren Edwards had a groin strain and that was a shame because he’s been particularly impressive in the last few games. We had to go with Luke Ballinger and Alex Ferguson up front and no disrespect to those two but they’re more suited to playing off the front and we didn’t have a focal point in attack.

“Matt Coupe gave us about an hour but he wasn’t fully fit and Iain Harvey was playing with a groin strain. If you look at the players we had missing, we were missing a lot of physicality.

“We know the team is still in its infancy and we’re comfortable with that, so we’ll get back to working on things in training on Tuesday to try and put things right.”

Elsewhere, Cirencester Town maintained their unbeaten run with a point at Hitchin Town last weekend.

Brian Hughes’ side, who hammered struggling Banbury United 5-0 and drew 1-1 at Dunstable Town in their last two outings, played out a goalless draw in Hertfordshire.

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