Mini revival halted as poor performance at Chippenham drops Saints into the mire

Tom Bender had put St Albans ahead at Chippenham with his second goal of the season. Picture: JIM ST

Tom Bender had put St Albans ahead at Chippenham with his second goal of the season. Picture: JIM STANDEN - Credit: Archant

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson felt his side had undid all the good work of previous weeks as a poor performance in the 2-1 defeat at Chippenham Town dropped them back into the relegation places in National League South.

Victories away to high-flying Bath City and Havant & Waterlooville and a home draw with Oxford City had lifted Saints up the table.

Tom Bender's first-half goal at Hardenhuish Park had seemingly put them on the way to another good result before strikes from Kieran Parselle and Scott Twine within four minutes of each other inside the final 15 minutes smashed that hope.

It does remain heavily congested above basement side Hungerford Town, with the next seven clubs covered by just one point, but Allinson knows repeats of this effort in their final nine games is not acceptable.

"We didn't play particularly well," he said ruefully. "It was difficult out there but you can't blame the conditions.

"Some of our passing and decision making from the first whistle was poor. We didn't hold it very well up front and kept giving it away.

"If you do that you're going to put your defence under pressure but defensively, the midfield and back four have had a good game.

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"They've kept them at bay, Dean Snedker hasn't had a lot to do, and we looked quite comfortable.

"It was just a set-piece where people haven't picked up properly and the equaliser got their tails up.

"We then give a silly free-kick away [for the winner] but that doesn't change the fact the performance wasn't to the level we've seen over recent weeks.

"That's a disappointment for me because we're playing a team in and around us and the one thing you have to do is make sure you don't get beaten."

Because it is so tight in the scrap to avoid relegation, the City boss acknowledges there will be more drama before the end of April.

But he also stressed that with five of their remaining matches against others in the dogfight the onus is still on them to drag themselves clear.

He said: "There's going to be lots of ups and downs, lots of twists and turns but when we play the teams around us, we don't reach the heights that we do against the likes of Havant and Weymouth and Bath.

"We have to better than we have been against the likes of Welling and Chippenham.

"That's a worry.

"The players have been great over the last few weeks but we can't pick and choose when we want to do it."