CHIPPENHAM Town manager Gary Horgan heaped praise on young goalkeeper James Walker after the 18-year-old helped his team to a 1-1 draw away at Havant and Waterlooville in National League South on Saturday.

In an action-packed contest, Matt McClure struck in the sixth minute for Chippenham before both teams wasted a host of chances as the game progressed.

Teenage stopper, Walker ensured his team remained ahead with a handful of excellent saves throughout, but he was powerless to prevent Charlie Ruff’s heavily-deflected shot in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.

Reflecting on another point in what has been a superb final third of the season for Chippenham, Horgan singled out his young goalkeeper following the late withdrawal of regular number one, Will Henry.

Horgan said: “Saturday wasn’t to be, but one thing I would like to go on record as saying is how fantastic James Walker was against Havant, coming into the game in difficult circumstances.

“It was a late decision on Friday night, but once we knew James would be playing, we had no qualms in starting him and the rest – as they say – is history. He was really, really good.

“It’s easy to make a lot of it because he’s a young goalkeeper coming in and performing admirably, and it might seem like we were hanging on, but we were by no means hanging on.

“He pulled off a couple of really good saves, but ones that he would expect himself to make. Thanks to Highworth Town – where he’s been on a dual-registration contract – for giving him a really good grounding this season.”

Despite seeing his team fail to be awarded a clear penalty in the second half, the Bluebirds’ boss was delighted with the performance of his squad and felt they deserved more for their efforts.

Horgan said: “Overall, it was a really good point and a fantastic performance.

“The only disappointment is that we didn’t manage the game a little bit better. But I’m not even disappointed with how we did that really. I thought we were excellent on the day.

“It was disappointing that we conceded, clearly, but I couldn’t take any negatives from the game whatsoever. We were the better side, for me, from start to finish.

“Clearly, we’re satisfied that we’ve secured our status, but we’ve certainly not stopped in the season. We still want to finish as high as possible.

“Since we staved off relegation a while back, we’ve been looking up to try and catch somebody above us and we’ll continue to do so.”