St Albans City boss David Howell admitted their 2-1 home defeat to Bedford Town was hard to take because he was adamant they were the better side.

The Saints suffered their first defeat in 2012 after they failed to get the better of the excellent visiting goalkeeper Ian Brown. Bedford took the lead but James Gray's fourth goal in 11 games brought them level. However, former City striker Drew Roberts netted his 25th goal of the season as the Saints’ good run of form ground to a halt.

Howell said: “He [Brown] made some very good saves in the second half especially when we were in the ascendancy but it just didn't seem to be our day. When we got back into the game at 1-1 any neutral would have thought we would be the favourites to go on and get the three points if anyone was going to.

“One of the hardest things is a defeat when you know you were the better side. The second half performance and the first 15 minutes of the first half was the right tempo and how I want the lads to be playing.

“The disappointing thing from my perspective is it's hard to take a defeat in a match you know you should have won. I didn’t think we started well last week against Swindon but it was the complete opposite here.

“I thought the tempo and how we started was very good in the first 20 minutes. Then it eased up a little bit but when it eases off we still have to make sure we don’t make mistakes. Unfortunately we let them back into the game. I thought we started the second half with a great deal of urgency but after our equaliser the game became a bit too stretched and open for my liking.”

“For all the possession and territorial advantage we had we lacked that killer instinct in the last third. It was very evident.

“I spoke to Simon Martin and asked him as our centre forward how many shots he had in the second half. He didn’t have any but in his defence he probably set up about three chances for other players. I just felt it was a day that we had to be a bit more clinical.

“It wasn't going to be a four or five pass precise excellent goal. It needed someone to be positive in the final third. Again one of our central defenders in Jimmy Gray came forward to give us a lifeline.

“I think some of our strikers should take something from Jimmy when he comes forward because he just has that positive attitude in the final third where he will attack anything. I felt that was the difference.”

The Saints boss has been busy in the last week strengthening the squad. Howell has brought utility player Chris Seeby back to Clarence Park. The versatile 27-year-old made 190 appearances for the club and has been playing for Slough after he returned from a spell in Dubai.

Attacking midfielder Howard Newton, who can play on either flank, has signed on dual registration from Conference South side Staines Town.

The 29-year-old has made eight appearances for Guyana and has had spells with Sutton United, Dagenham & Redbridge and Harrow Borough.

The third new arrival is Chris Henry who has joined from Tonbridge Angels. He has also played for Maidstone United, Chatham Town and Ebbsfleet United.

Howell said: “He [Newton] put it in a good ball in the first half. It was a difficult day for Chris Seeby because he’s got to settle and he’s probably been playing at a level which is a little bit lower. The intensity and tempo we set in the first 20 minutes was very high and good but unfortnately we came with nothing to show for it apart from being a goal down.

There is a St Albans City team and supporters coach going to AFC Totton for the away game this Saturday. The coach will depart at 11am from the Clarence Park entrance to the ground. To book a seat call Ian Rogers on 07714 145862 or Barry Hilliard on 07831 859041. The cost is £18 for adults and £10 for juniors.