FOLLOWING last week’s Wiltshire Premier Shield exit to Swindon Town, Westbury United manager Neil Kirkpatrick wasn’t greatly surprised to see his side slip to defeat at home to Cadbury Heath upon their return to action in Toolstation League Premier Division.

Missing captain Steve Hulbert and Joe Kirkpatrick, Westbury’s hopes of recording a positive result against their mid-table rivals were dented before kick-off.

Despite this, Kirkpatrick’s men missed a catalogue of chances and were made to pay as Enis Akgun and Ethan Tucker fired Heath to a 2-0 victory at Meadow Lane.

Luck certainly didn’t favour United’s Ryan Bole, who struck the post twice amid the hosts’ efforts to break the deadlock.

Neil Kirkpatrick said: “We were really flat in the first half. That was to be expected, really.

“We spoke to all the players before the game. After Swindon’s visit, Saturday was almost a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’.

“Even with that in mind, it was a really disappointing result. We had enough chances to win two games but didn’t gel as a team on the day.

“These days happen – I’d be more concerned if we weren’t creating chances. But we’re in a bit of a rut at the moment.”

United play host to Cribbs this weekend before travelling to Plymouth Parkway on Wednesday night – they then have no game until facing county rivals Bradford Town, who currently sit at the top of the table, on Boxing Day.

Both Plymouth and Bradford have promotion ambitions but Kirkpatrick is adamant the pressure will avoid his men during the festive run, something that can be used to their advantage.

He said: “There’s only one way to get out of the rut, that’s to stay together and dig in.

“They’re good games to be involved and I don’t worry about them, the results take care of themselves. Plymouth and Bradford will be under huge pressure to win promotion, given the resources they’re throwing at it.”

Elsewhere, Will Hailston got the only goal of the game as Bradford beat Buckland 1-0 away from home to remain top of the table.