St Albans City denied elusive first league win after late Hemel Hempstead Town goal

PUBLISHED: 21:34 31 August 2015 | UPDATED: 21:44 31 August 2015

James Comley in action against Hemel Hempstead.  Pictures by Leigh Page.

James Comley in action against Hemel Hempstead. Pictures by Leigh Page.

Archant

Ten man St Albans City came within two minutes of claiming a battling first Vanarama National League South win of the season and they may just feel they should have.

The joy is all over Simon Thomas' face after putting the Saints ahead early in the first halfThe joy is all over Simon Thomas' face after putting the Saints ahead early in the first half

Goals from Simon Thomas and Kevin Krans looked to have given them those elusive three points.

However a penalty from Oliver Hawkins, awarded after Ian Gayle was given his marching orders, and a fine strike by ex-Saint Jamal Lowe denied them their spoils.

This was a much-improved performance from the Saints who had lost five on the bounce since an opening day draw.

And it started perfectly with just one minute on the clock.

Oliver Hawkins sends Joe Welch the wrong way to convert from the penalty spotOliver Hawkins sends Joe Welch the wrong way to convert from the penalty spot

Thomas, one of five changes from Saturday’s defeat to Chelmsford City, found the ball at his feet after a ricochet and he slotted home from 12 yards.

Louie Theophanous wriggled into the box but his cross was cleared almost off the line by Ed Oshodi and Krans fired wide as Saints pressed for a second.

Hemel’s start was not what the management wanted and Dennis Oli was brought into the game after just 26 minutes.

Yet still Saints pressed. And it was Thomas, who was causing plenty problems with his size, who had a glorious chance to double the advantage on 34 minutes.

But he could only hit the post from five yards after a corner was flicked on.

However with seconds to go to the break, the game turned Hemel’s way.

Gayle, on loan from Sky Bet League Two Dagenham and Redbridge, was adjudged to have pulled down Oli and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and showing the centre-half a red card.

Hawkins sent Joe Welch the wrong way to level things up.

The visitors tried to hammer home their numerical advantage and thought they had taken the lead, only to see the linesman flag had gone up earlier in the move.

Yet for all their possession, that was the best they could muster until the game provided another twist.

With 19 minutes to go new signing Krans sent the home faithful into raptures, volleying home from the edge of the box.

But with thoughts turning towards that elusive win, it was Lowe who turned out to be the heartbreaker, firing low and hard across Welch.

Home skipper Lee Chappell had a great chance to restore the lead for Saints bang on 90 minutes but his first time shot squirmed wide of the post.

St Albans: Welch, Kryiacou, Chappell, Sow, Gayle, Martin, Green (Locke 46), Comley, Theophanous (Medlock 89), Thomas.Simon (Longe-King 79), Krans

Subs not used: Hilliard, Coulton

Hemel Hempstead: Butler, Herd, Connolly, Harriott, Richens, Spring (Asafu-Adjaye 57), Potton, Oshodi, Hawkins, Ghanore (Oli 26, Frendo 72), Lowe

Subs not used: Forbes, Comas-Leon

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