HEYBRIDGE Swifts have made their worst start to a season since joining the Isthmian League in 1984 but the management team is working hard to bring in new players, writes JON LONGMAN.

A 2-0 reverse at Coggeshall Town on Saturday followed defeats at Barking in the FA Cup on the opening day and then at home to Histon a week later.

Swifts lie second from bottom in Pitching In Isthmian League Division One North, with only Witham below them.

Jack Baker gave Coggeshall a 52nd-minute lead after an evenly-balanced first half when he headed home a well-flighted free kick.

Swifts manager Stuart Nethercott sent on Chelmsford City loan striker Andy Fennell after 65 minutes to boost Swifts’ remote hopes of snatching an equaliser.

Fennell has joined the Swifts in a season-long loan from the Clarets and it was a surprise that Fennell wasn’t in the starting line-up.

Nethercott said that Fennell had had little pitch time in Clarets' pre-season programme but he looked lively in Thursday night’s training session and his experience of playing two Steps higher would have stretched the Coggeshall defence.

Fennell pepped up the Swifts attack and he linked well with tricky winger Manny Odei who had been ploughing a loan furrow up front.

However, Coggeshall captain Tyler Corlett, who had spent a season at Heybridge after Town won the Eastern Counties title, snuffed out the Heybridge threat., loudly marshalling his fellow defenders.

Heybridge’s miserable cold and windy afternoon was made worse when former Swift Matt Price fired home a low free-kick in the final minute.

Price then dashed over to the dugout to confront Swifts manager Stuart Nethercott who did not offer him new terms for this season. Price was dragged away by Coggeshall team-mates to prevent the situation turning ugly.

Swifts assistant manager Michael Pulford said: “I reckon that somebody at the club must have driven over a black cat because we have had no luck so far this season.

“We had chances to win all three games but we didn’t take them and that cost us.

“We conceded two goals and that is disappointing as we worked on defending set pieces with a session in the club house during training on Thursday night.

“We should have not have conceded the first goal but somebody didn’t do their job.”

Defeat meant disappointing Swifts debuts for former Hamilton Academicals and Needham Market keeper Jacob Marsden and former Concord Rangers right back Archie McFadden.

Marsden’s arrival has paved the way for teenage keeper Luca Collins to join AFC Sudbury and solve their goalkeeping crisis, while lively Swifts winger Tyrone Baker has joined Basildon United.

Basildon, who lost a penalty shoot-out at Northwood, will be the destination for the Swifts in the FA Trophy second qualifying round on Saturday week.

First Swifts face successive home games against Dereham on Saturday (3pm) and Hullbridge Sports next Tuesday (7.45pm) in must-win league games.