CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook feels his team is struggling to cope with the pressure of being near the top after falling to a 3-1 defeat at home to lowly Welling United on Saturday.

The Bluebirds came into the game against Peter Taylor’s men inside the top seven but slipped down to 12th following the club’s third defeat in a row in all competitions.

Daniel Carr opened the scoring for Welling in the 34th minute, but a wonderful free-kick from Adam Mann tied the game at one moments before the break.

Welling came out firing in the second half and scored their second and third goals – via Dipo Akinyemi and Che Krabbendam – before the hour mark as Chippenham were left stunned.

A missed penalty late on from Ross Stearn summed up a frustrating day for the Bluebirds – one in which boss Cook was left with plenty to think about.

Speaking to club media after the game, Cook said: “We talked about it last week – after Hasting in the FA Cup – handling the pressure when you’re up near the top, and likewise in the Cup when we were the team that was above them by a couple of leagues.

“There’s a different pressure in that respect, and at the moment we’re not handling that pressure.

“There’s a little lack of confidence there, and when you’re the manager the buck stops with you – you’re the one that puts the team out so you’ve got to take responsibility for that.

“There have been things that we’ve worked on in training that you think will work on a Saturday, that hasn’t happened against Welling – especially in the second half.”

Aiming to bounce back, Chippenham travel to an Eastbourne Borough side which is four unbeaten and enjoying life on their own Astro turf pitch.

Cook believes his side won’t be phased by playing on a different surface as they train on Astro turf anyway and have picked up some notable results in recent years.

He said: “We’ve played well on Astro turf over the last couple of seasons, and we train on it anyway, so we’re well used to it.

“We probably play a little bit more football on Astro turf, but we played a bit more on the ground against Welling on grass – that was really pleasing.

“But there’s a lack of confidence in the dressing room at the moment and we need to pick them up. We don’t want to be shouting and balling at them, we want to be reminding them that it was only a couple of weeks ago that we were picking up a great result on the road.”