CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Blank night is a pain for Joe

Wiltshire Times: Chippenham Town's Joe McClennan Chippenham Town's Joe McClennan

BLUEBIRDS winger Joe McClennan was frustrated to see his side fail to get their just rewards from Monday night’s trip to St Albans City.

Chippenham Town slipped to a narrow defeat as a first half strike from prolific Saints striker John Frendo saw off the challenge of Mark Collier’s men at Clarence Park.

McClennan recognised the positives from a spirited Bluebirds performance but would happily swap points on the board for positive displays.

“I think we were unlucky not to get a point. In the first half we were a bit open but in the second half, we got to grips with the system we were playing,” he said.

“We had chances at the end that were crucial but I suppose when you’re at the bottom, that’s the kind of luck you have – when you’re at the top, chances go in.

“We always seem to do well against the better sides – I don’t know why that is – and we always seem to cause them problems. But when we play the lower teams, we always seem to struggle and I don’t know if it’s a mental thing.

“Even when we played them (St Albans) at home, they were lucky to draw with us, but you can’t play well and not get the points. You’d rather play badly and win.

“I’m happy with the way we’ve played but it’s annoying because we’ve gone home with no points.”

McClennan is also hoping the Chippenham squad can finally begin to settle down after a season of almost constant upheaval so far.

The Bluebirds man added: “We’ve had a lot of managers this year and a lot of players coming in and out, so we haven’t had a settled side. But we’ve got a good group now and this will probably by the squad until the end of the season, so hopefully we can gel and move on.

“At the minute, it’s tough because we’re struggling to pick up points. Hopefully we can get a run together because it’s all a confidence thing.”

The hosts started brightly, with Chris Henry just failing to get the final touch on Howard Hall’s low cross before Frendo struck the base of the post with a free-kick.

With 20 minutes on the clock, St Albans did make the breakthrough as Henry’s whipped cross looped over the head of Frendo but the striker superbly volleyed home with his outstretched left foot.

Ben John charged down Mark Nwokeji to prevent the Saints man making it 2-0 moments later before the Bluebirds keeper had to dive down to prevent a wicked deflection finding its way into the net following a corner kick.

Another fine piece of goalkeeping saw the Bluebirds keeper come out on top in a one-on-one battle with Frendo midway through the half, with John reaching high to gather the ball after the home striker attempted an audacious chip.

At the other end, Lee Phillips flashed an effort across the face of goal and midway through the second period, a glorious chance to equalise went begging for the Bluebirds.

McClennan sent Rob Dean racing into the box and the midfielder’s strike was sublimely tipped onto the crossbar by veteran keeper Paul Bastock.

The alert McClennan then hooked the rebound back into the danger area but the off-balance Phillips was unable to knock his effort into the unguarded net.

Chippenham continued to exert pressure on their promotion-chasing hosts but the Saints held firm to take all three points.

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