Glass only half full for CIty boss
MANAGER Colin Lippiatt was baffled as his high flying City side turned out a disappointing first half display which ultimately cost them the points at Bognor Regis Town on Saturday. The boss has again been active in the transfer market this week, with one
MANAGER Colin Lippiatt was baffled as his high flying City side turned out a disappointing first half display which ultimately cost them the points at Bognor Regis Town on Saturday. The boss has again been active in the transfer market this week, with one player on his way out of the club, and a versatile midfielder set to sign before the weekend. Lippiatt has been looking to bolster his cover in the midfield area, even before City produced an abject performance in the opening 45 minutes at Bognor. The manager said: "I saw another side to us that I hadn't seen in a long while. They started sharper than us and dominated midfield. I couldn't believe what I was seeing in the first half. There was no spark or desire and we were disjointed." Defender Ben Lewis was the one man who Lippiatt excused from his first half comments. He said: "Ben had a decent day once again but if nine out of the 10 outfield players are not performing then you will struggle in any game at any level. We did show a response but I did not think we were that difficult to beat." Some decisions went against the Saints as Lee Clarke was denied a penalty and Nick Burton had to be taken off after receiving a yellow card. Bognor also profited from a penalty decision in the first half which Lippiatt felt was harsh. He said: "I honestly believe Nick Burton would have been sent off with this referee, if we hadn't taken him off. The penalty was a very cheap decision and Lee Clarke had one at the end of the half which could have been. Simon Martin also missed a one-on-one." At the break Burton and Simon Martin went off as Lippiatt reorganised his side and they produced a better second period. Lippiatt said: "There had to be an improvement. We won the second half 1-0 with a different system and different personnel. We were camped in their half but they hit us on the break a couple of times. We got in some good areas but our finishing was a little bit off target. Maybe if Lee Clarke had scored 10 minutes earlier I would be saying that we had got out of jail." Saints will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday and Lippiatt believes the attacking ability which has enabled his side to turn draws into wins has been the key to their sustained challenge this season. He said: "We have put a lot of wins together and not had many draws. When you compare us to Welling who are the draw specialists, we have won a lot more games. It is the stat that stands out when you look at our league position which is still very good." Weymouth have now opened up a nine-point gap at the top and Lippiatt believes they will be heading for the Conference. He said: "I would still go for Weymouth to win it and St Albans are among six teams fighting for the four play off spots." The City boss will have in-form midfielder Dean Cracknell and striker Paul Hakim in his squad for Saturday against Basingstoke. Hakim came on at half time at Bognor but then had to come off at the end with cramps while Cracknell missed out with flu. Saints fans may also get a chance to look at new striker Mark Nwokeji who joined last week from Walton and Hersham. The talented youngster is hoping to prove himself at the higher level and Lippiatt believes in him. He said: "He is a good player, he is a very young lad and he wants the chance to see if he can step a level. We will see how he does." Basingstoke Town at home on Saturday is a vital match for Saints and Lippiatt is thinking of nothing but a win. He said: "It is a must win game and it is the last game in January so we need to take three points." l The Supporters Club will be providing a coach for the Lewes game on Saturday, February 4, departing Clarence Road at 10.15am, prices are adults £13 for members and £16 for non-members and for juniors £7 for members and £8 for non-members. Anyone wishing to book a seat can do so at Clarence Park on Saturday or telephoning Ian Bangs on 07733 381874 or Peter Knock on 01727 847484.