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CHIPPENHAM TOWN: 'That one feels like a defeat'
BLUEBIRDS assistant boss Richard Fey believes his side are agonisingly close to bringing their winless run in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division to an end.
Fey was buoyed by Town’s performance against play-off contenders Barwell last weekend but conceded that a draw at Hardenhuish Park felt like a loss after Scott Hadland’s 86th-minute header denied the hosts all three points.
“From one to 16, we were excellent and I’ve got to say that the players had their heads up because the crowd were superb on Saturday – they really were our 12th man,” said Fey.
“But it felt like a loss afterwards. We’ve dropped 14 points this season from goals conceded after 85 minutes and it’s just been from a lack of concentration and not clearing our lines.
“We’d be up in seventh or eighth if you add those points on to the table and there have been a lot games this season where we should have taken maximum points, like against Frome at home.
“We’ve got a really tough run-in coming up but all we can do is stick together and get those 40 points to stay in the league – hopefully that win can come this Saturday (against Arlesey Town).
“All we’re asking is that the fans keep on shouting for us home and away to help us do it.”
Barwell’s Hadland guided a header past on-loan keeper David Richards after a long throw caused momentary confusion in the defence, less than two minutes after Lee Phillips looked to have won the match for the home side.
Phillips steered home a penalty on 84 minutes – his fourth goal in three matches – after Scott Lye had been felled in the area, only for Hadland to curtail the celebrations at Hardenhuish Park.
It was rough justice on the home side, whose bristling performance made a mockery of their recent struggles and lowly league position and prevented the Leicestershire outfit from even registering a shot on target until Hadland’s intervention.
The home side nearly took the lead after seven minutes as Lye set James Guthrie through on the left-edge of the area and his bobbly shot was turned behind by Barwell keeper Liam Castle.
Two minutes later, Phillips made his way into the penalty area and crossed, Tom Knighton’s close-range effort being blocked by a defender.
Chances were few and far between, especially at the Chippenham end where Richards commanded his area.
Two minutes after the restart, Lye rose to head Jacob Wannell’s free kick goalwards and Knighton’s goalbound effort was denied by an outstretched foot.
Five minutes later Greg Tindle, a standout performer at the back, thought he had put the home side in front when he headed home Guthrie’s free kick from the right, only for referee Andrew Laver to rule that he had fouled a defender in the act of scoring.
Just under ten minutes from time, the breakthrough arrived as Lye was chopped down in the area by Thomas Weale.
After a short delay for treatment to the Bluebirds captain, Phillips kept his cool and sent Castle the wrong way with the spot kick.
The home joy was shortlived as Barwell upped the tempo and when Weale’s long throw was only headed across the six yard box, Hadland rose and cleverly guided the ball back across the defence and Richards into the corner.
Impressive new signing Joe McClennan was denied a superb first goal for the Bluebirds as he brilliantly improvised a lob that required Castle to back-pedal and claw the ball out from the underside of the bar.