CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook suggested some of his players ‘froze’ during their two derby defeats against Bath City over the Christmas period.

The Bluebirds began the busy run of games with a 4-1 drubbing at home to Jerry Gill’s Bath before responding in fine style thanks to a 3-0 success away at Hungerford Town on the 28th.

Swindon Town loanee Ricky Aguiar scored Chippenham’s only goal on Boxing Day while fellow Robins loanee Harry Parsons netted twice alongside Luke Russe’s solitary goal at Hungerford.

However, a disappointing 2-0 loss to Bath on January 2 left Cook feeling “gutted” despite Chippenham having won three of five before that.

Reflecting on the second defeat to Bath – as well as a largely productive 2021 – Cook said: “All the games leading up through December have been quite good.

“We still are on a good run if you take the last five or six games – we’re near the top of the form table.

“That’s a very proud thing for the team to be achieving, especially given everything that’s happened over the last two or three months.

“But losing to your local neighbours is terrible. We didn’t turn up and play like we have been playing recently, which was even more gutting.

“I just think that, with the big crowds, a couple of our lads froze a little bit. As a coach, you can’t do much about that. They’ve just got to go through those periods, learn from them, and go from there.”

Town’s problems at Twerton Park arose when the hosts netted twice just before the break. Will Richards sliced into his own net before Alex Fletcher netted in the sixth minute of time added on.

Despite a personal wish having to wait at least one more season, the Bluebirds boss felt there were plenty of positives to take at the beginning of the new year – even if one of them was not a much-desired derby win.

Cook said: “To concede two goals in two minutes just before half-time is a killer, and it’s an uphill battle in the second half.

“We actually played a bit better than them in the second half, I thought, but we didn’t threaten their goal enough.

“Overall, we’re really pleased with the year. The end of last season and the first 20-25 games of this season have been good.

“But to lose to your neighbours is tough. Chippenham haven’t beaten Bath in years, and I wanted to be the manager that put that right. Maybe next time.”