BILLERICAY Town were condemned to their fifth defeat on the trot as local rivals Chelmsford City claimed bragging rights for the second time in six days.

Rhys Murphy, who claimed a hat-trick in the 5-1 thumping on Boxing Day, grabbed the only goal of the National League South encounter at the AGP Arena.

And despite being pleased with how his side defended in the clash, Billericay boss Dean Brennan admitted his strikers need to follow in Murphy’s footsteps when it comes to scoring goals.

“It was a tight game,” said Brennan, whose side have dropped to seventh place in the standings.

“Murphy has scored four goals in the two games against us and he has been the main difference within the games.

“We defended much better. The lads showed a lot of courage and bravery at times.

“But when your chances come along in these kinds of games, you have to take them.

“They had one main chance - which saw Murphy go through one-on-one - and they took it.

“The way they play doesn’t allow you to get chances.

“They’re physical, their full-backs don’t go forward, they play with four defenders and two in front and they work extremely hard.

“They’re a difficult side to play against and the first goal is always very important when you play against a Rod Stringer side.”

Brennan handed debuts to goalkeeper Mark Smith, former Premier League defender Lloyd Doyley and ex-Sutton United winger Kieron Cadogan for the clash.

And while they could not help Billericay to return to winning ways, Brennan was pleased with the trio.

The Town chief said: “I thought the goalkeeper was excellent and his distribution was great.

“He got our attacks going really quickly, there was not a lot he could have done with the goal and his handling was decent.

“The most important thing with Lloyd Doyley is that we manage him properly.

“We need to have him on the pitch as much as we can and he is a good, solid player with bundles of experience.

“He is really positive and professional around the camp, so we need more of that.

“I thought Kieron did really well in the first half but he didn’t get enough of the ball in the second half.”

Billy Clifford came closest to scoring for Billericay, but Murphy’s goal with 16 minutes remaining proved to be the winner.