CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook felt a lack of cutting edge and two debatable penalties were the catalyst for a heavy 5-1 defeat to Dartford in National League South last weekend.

In an all-action first half, visiting Dartford went a goal up in the 17th minute through Darren McQueen’s first of two penalties.

Liam Nash made it two four minutes later before Callum Gunner raced away to halve the deficit at the halfway stage of the first period.

Amrit Bansal-McNulty re-established Dartford’s two-goal lead three minutes later while Will Puddy scored an own-goal to make it four.

McQueen lashed in his second penalty six minutes before the break to make it five – and it was the spot kicks that manager Cook took Umbridge with in his post-match analysis.

He said: “If we had played really poorly for the first three goals, I would have been extremely disappointed at half-time. But we felt that the referee helped Dartford quite a lot.

“There were a couple of dubious penalties and then one of the goals looked offside in real time – when the performance analyst came in at half-time he confirmed it was, so that’s disappointing.

“We went to speak to the referee about it at half-time, and he just wasn’t having any of it.

“But the final two goals was the killer for us.

“If we came in at half-time 3-1 down, we knew we had the wind behind us and the possibility of scoring some goals in the second half.”

Though the comeback was not to be in the end for the Bluebirds, Cook took some comfort from the fact that external influences played a significant part in his side’s heaviest defeat of the season.

And when the Chippenham management team sat down to comb through the details of their loss, statistics from the performance analyst confirmed how contrasting the hosts’ performance was – largely affected by the direction of Saturday’s gusty wind.

Cook said: “We got all the analysis through from the game on Monday – we saw that Dartford had six shots in the first half that hit the target and they scored five of them.

“We had nine shots in the second half and didn’t score a goal, so it proved how vital it was to have the wind behind your back in terms of creating chances.

“It really was a game of two halves – I know it’s a cliché, but whichever team had the wind was creating all the chances.

“Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t score the goal and they could.”