CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mark Collier praised a marked improvement in the performance of his players on Saturday, despite them suffering the same fate as a week prior in a 2-1 defeat at home to Dulwich Hamlet in National League South.

Collier blasted his troops for “being on the beach” after the Bluebirds went down by the same scoreline away at East Thurrock United seven days previously, so was pleased with the response they produced back at Hardenhuish Park.

Afolabi Akinyemi’s penalty gave Dulwich a 1-0 lead at the break and the visitors then moved two goals to the good with 10 minutes to play when Akinyemi got his second of the game.

Dulwich were reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards when Nyren Clunis was given his marching orders, and that allowed Chippenham to get back into the game when Nick McCootie cut the deficit.

However, the Bluebirds were unable to force an equaliser in the final few minutes as they failed to prevent their winless run stretching to a sixth game.

Collier said: “I asked for the players to give us everything in terms of their application and desire – all those things that managers ask for week in, week out.

“I don’t think we got that last weekend, and that disappointed me, but I got it on Saturday.

“We had a tired bunch after the game. They gave everything, but we just pulled up short.

“Dulwich had quite a fortuitous penalty in the first half when we were in control of the game.

“It is easy to feel sorry for yourselves when that happens, but we didn’t do that. We came out in the second half and were on the front foot and were unfortunately caught out with a sucker-punch on the counter.

“Even at 2-0, we kept going and got a goal back, but we just ran out of time in the end.”

Collier felt luck was against his troops as Nat Jarvis had seen a goal ruled out for offside with the score still at 0-0.

The Bluebirds believes that summed up the struggles his side are facing at present, with them collecting just one point out of the last 18 available.

“We had a goal ruled out and then we hit the post 30 seconds later. Everything that could go against us at the moment is going against us,” said Collier.

“I am disappointed for the players as their performance warranted something from the game, but when you’re in a poor run, sometimes it is difficult to get out of it.”