National League South: St Albans City continue to ‘make life difficult’ for themselves despite stunning combeack against East Thurrock United

PUBLISHED: 22:33 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:33 12 September 2018

Ralston Gabriel tries to fine a way through a crowded penalty area. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Ralston Gabriel tries to fine a way through a crowded penalty area. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Copyright - Leigh Page 2018

A topsy-turvy game with a stunning finish brought a second win on the bounce and kept St Albans City on the move up the Vanarama National League South – but manager Ian Allinson still had concerns about his side.

Khale Da Costa in action against East Thurrock. Picture: LEIGH PAGEKhale Da Costa in action against East Thurrock. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

City took a first-half lead at East Thurrock United through Sam Merson on 25 minutes only to concede to a penalty a minute later and then a second six minutes after that.

Ralston Gabriel drifts past the Rocks defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGERalston Gabriel drifts past the Rocks defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

And they continued to trail until the 88th minute when Richard Sho-Silva equalised.

Sam Merson celebrates after scoring his second goal of the game. Picture: LEIGH PAGESam Merson celebrates after scoring his second goal of the game. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Merson then got his second immediately after and substitute Khale Da Costa scored in injury time to wrap up an incredible 4-2 win.

Khale Da Costa looks on as his shot flies into the back of the net. Picture: LEIGH PAGEKhale Da Costa looks on as his shot flies into the back of the net. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

But it was the two conceded, and more to the point the timing of them, that frustrated the Saints’ boss.

Sam Merson looks on as his strike flies into the back of the net to put the Saints back in the lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGESam Merson looks on as his strike flies into the back of the net to put the Saints back in the lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

He said: “We speak long and hard about it and everyone is aware the most susceptible teams are to conceding is the couple of minutes after you score.

Khale Da Costa fires the Saints into a 4-2 win against East Thurrock United. Picture: LEIGH PAGEKhale Da Costa fires the Saints into a 4-2 win against East Thurrock United. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“You’ve got to react to that but we didn’t and we got lazy with the defending, we didn’t go with the runner and before you know it, it’s a penalty and it’s 1-1.

The Saints celebrate a 4-2 win following a Khale Da Costa winner. Picture: LEIGH PAGEThe Saints celebrate a 4-2 win following a Khale Da Costa winner. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“It was crazy as we looked as if we were in control of the game.

Sam Merson in fine form for the Saints scored twice, the first with a fine header. Picture: LEIGH PAGESam Merson in fine form for the Saints scored twice, the first with a fine header. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“We’re making life very difficult for ourselves this season and we need to manage it better in situations where we’re a goal up.

Richard Sho-Silva powers past ex-Saint Roman Michael-Percil. Picture: LEIGH PAGERichard Sho-Silva powers past ex-Saint Roman Michael-Percil. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“At half-time I was really disappointed because we had to work hard to go 1-0 up and then had a crazy 15 minutes where we could have lost the game through a lack of discipline, a lack of application and an unwillingness to work hard.

Roman Michael-Percil tries to get a grips of David Moyo in full flow. Picture: LEIGH PAGERoman Michael-Percil tries to get a grips of David Moyo in full flow. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“And from one-up we were 2-1 down and it could have been three and we were happy to hear the half-time whistle to get them back in and tell them a few a home-grown truths really.

Sam Merson heads past an outstretched Jack Giddens to put the Saints into a first half lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGESam Merson heads past an outstretched Jack Giddens to put the Saints into a first half lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“As I’ve said before I think we’ve got a great squad but if you don’t turn up, you’re not going to win games of football.

Zane Banton splits the East Thurrock defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGEZane Banton splits the East Thurrock defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“Second-half we huffed and puffed and we made the three substitutions to put some legs and energy into the side and we’ve been fortunate that we got the goals that mattered.

The East Thurrock defence is unable to get a hold of Khale Da Costa. Picture: LEIGH PAGEThe East Thurrock defence is unable to get a hold of Khale Da Costa. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“It’s pleasing that we kept going and it’s great to come away with three points.”

Richard Sho-Silva celebrates bringing the Saints level. Picture: LEIGH PAGERichard Sho-Silva celebrates bringing the Saints level. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Allinson threw all three of his strikers into the mix with Sam Merson recalled to the starting line-up alongside Ralston Gabriel and David Moyo.

Khale Da Costa splitting the East Thurrock defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGEKhale Da Costa splitting the East Thurrock defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

And last year’s top-scorer repaid the faith with a brace.

Sam Merson scoring his second of the game to put the Saints into a 3-2 lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGESam Merson scoring his second of the game to put the Saints into a 3-2 lead. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Allinson said: “I felt last week against Dartford, although we defended very well, I just felt we lacked a bit of potency in the other box.

“And with the three of them I felt we caused them some problems.

“Ralston’s had a couple of chances but Sam’s got the goals and he looked sharp and bright.

“He missed the first couple of sessions this year and he’s seemed to be playing catch-up and Ralston and David [Moyo] have been playing well as a partnership.

“It didn’t look as if it worked in the first half but we dropped David into the hole and it worked more.”

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