Ian Allinson has called on his St Albans City players to sharpen up in front of goal in a bid to rediscover their form.

City slipped to a 2-1 defeat on the road at Dartford on Saturday to extend their winless National League South run to three games.

For Allinson, the Saints’ downturn in form can be traced back to one defining issue - a failure to turn chances into goals.

“We have got to be more clinical in front of goal and we can’t keep playing like we have in the last hour today,” Allinson said.

“Especially in the second half, we had long periods of pressure where Dartford have defended for their lives and we have not taken our chances.

“It comes back to chances and what we have created. How many have we had in the last three matches where we have only picked up one point?”

The Saints started sluggishly and were behind after just six minutes as a long throw was headed home by Elliot Bradbrook.

An injury to Harold Joseph disrupted City further as he was forced off with 10 minutes on the clock.

However, Joseph’s departure proved to be a blessing in disguise as Allinson opted for a change of shape with the introduction of Charlie Walker.

The forward peeled away to sweep in from a well-worked corner routine as the game ticked towards half-time.

Allinson was full of praise for the manner in which Walker took his goal and admitted the enforced change helped City get back into the game.

“Once we were 1-0 down and not getting hold of the ball or creating, I thought we should go with two up front and see how it works,” he said.

“To be fair, Charlie has taken his goal unbelievably well and it has got us back into the game.

“We played really well in that 10 or 15 minutes before half-time and in the second half there were periods where we played really well.”

Walker’s leveller proved inconsequential after Dartford took the lead in fortuitous fashion to seal the points on the hour.

A short free-kick allowed Lyle Della-Verde to find space on the left and he whipped in a dangerous cross.

Tom Bender got to the ball first, but he could only divert into his own net on the stretch to restore the Dartford advantage.

Allinson’s men threw caution to the wind in the final half-hour and produced a number of chances, most notably when Walker’s shot was smothered by Deren Ibrahim.

Saturday’s loss came on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Hampton last Tuesday and City have slipped to fifth in the National League South.

They are three points adrift of Dartford who sit at the top of the table.

City’s focus turns to Herts Senior Cup commitments tonight with an away day against Hadley.

That game is followed by a league clash with Welling United, which takes place at Clarence Park on Saturday.

While Welling head into the game on the back of a 2-1 loss to Wealdstone, they are capable of being more than a match for City.

They have won four of their last five league outings to climb the table and sit two points behind the Saints in the final play-off position.