Thompson baffled by results

HARPENDEN Town boss Ryan Thompson will be glad to see the back of January.

Town have not picked up a single point during the first month of 2011 despite Thompson feeling his side has performed well.

The latest defeats saw Town bow out of the Anagram Records Trophy after squandering a 3-1 lead at Chipperfield Corinthians on Saturday and then the Division One Cup on Tuesday night after a 6-3 loss to league leaders Berkhamsted to leave Thompson scratching his head.

“The attitude has been spot on, we’re just in a bit of a rut,” Thompson told the Herts Advertiser.

“Hopefully it’s just one of those blips teams have. The big difference between winning and losing is the decision making. We’ve been guilty of some sloppy defending and over playing in areas we shouldn’t be.”

Town’s nightmare January looked to be taking a turn for the better on Saturday as they sat in the Chipperfield dressing rooms with a 3-1 lead to their name.

Matt Sutton put Town on their way in the eighth minute and diminutive striker Aaron Clarke’s brace put daylight between the two sides after Jimmy Henry had equalised for Corinthians.

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Thompson described Town’s first half performance as one of the best performances of the season and says they justifiably could have been seven or eight up at the interval but their failure to convert those chances was punished by Chipperfield who stormed back in the second half.

“We could have been seven or eight up at half-time. It was looking like being a cricket score. We battered them and tore them to pieces but after half-time we never got going.

“I probably should have changed it around but fair play to Chipperfield. I think we thought the game was over, I certainly did and I imagine the players did as well.

“Our defending, as a team, was dire.”

Town were looking to return to winning ways on Tuesday night when they hosted Berkhamsted in the Division One Cup but Thompson’s side never recovered from going behind early on.

Matt Wardle’s 11th minute goal opened the floodgates and Thompson was left banging his head against the proverbial brick wall after seeing his side concede three goals from three corners as Steve Francis, Wardle again and James Armstrong extended Berko’s lead.

Thompson explained: “I said to the lads before the game that we need to defend it so that we’re still in the game at half time but we were guilty of some really bad defending.

“We conceded three goals from three corners and again it was a result of some really sloppy defending, not just from the defence but as a team.”

Goals from Andy Page and another from Armstrong suggested that Berko weren’t going to take their foot of the pedal after the break but the introduction of Ricky Tahon and Will Bates helped turn the tide in Town’s favour.

A hat-trick from Aaron Clarke ensured that Town restored some pride but Thompson was left frustrated by his side’s sloppy defending.

“We got Ricky Tahon and Will Bates on a we started ticking,” said Thompson.

“We’ve tried to get Aaron more central because we have been playing three up top and he’s usually forced out wide.

“It’s a move that’s worked with just the two up top because he can get both sides of his man and he’s got five goals in two games.

“Matty Newman came over and helped us out last night and him and Aaron were outstanding.”

“It’s just very frustrating. We’ve only had two bad halves in January and we’ve not got a point to show for it.

“I certainly don’t want to be a defensive manager but I’m left scratching my head. I could think about it all night and playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, as well as all of the lads playing on Sunday, means we don’t have much opportunity to work on things.”

Town will be looking to get back on the winning trail on Saturday when they host Bedford at Rothamsted Park in Division One action.