St Albans City’s FA Trophy dreams left in the cold after Whitehawk defeat

PUBLISHED: 21:45 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:23 30 November 2016

Dipo Akinyemi. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Dipo Akinyemi. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Robert Walkley

The champagne for winning the FA Trophy was well and truly put on ice for St Albans City as they lost 1-0 to Whitehawk at a freezing Clarence Park.

Danny Mills got the goal just after the break and although City mounted plenty of late pressure, it wasn’t enough to send them tumbling out of the competition.

Whitehawk’s preparations were thrown into disarray when manager Richard Hill left to join Aston Villa’s backroom staff.

That put former St Albans loanee Ben Strevens in temporary charge, assisted by Alan Payne.

If that affected them it was unclear.

Neither side were at their attacking best with a clearance off the line by Ramon Marimon from Junior Morias the nearest by a long way that either side came to scoring.

City had their own reorganising to do when Ben Martin came off on 12 minutes holding the back of his calf.

That too cannot be the reason for City’s lethargy but too often balls were miscontrolled or the short passing was off target.

The cold weather also wasn’t really a factor with the ball running true along the ground.

And maybe it was the Bovril in the dressing room at half-time that was the spark but, whatever it was, the game got a much-needed goal four minutes after the break.

A lovely ball over the top by Ahmed Abdulla found Mills and he flicked it beyond James Russell after a good bit of control.

Much to the dismay of the Saints’ management team it had once again come from a loose pass out of defence.

Sam Merson’s introduction did give City a bit of a lift, one run almost seeing him almost wriggle free while a tumble in the box brought vigorous penalty appeals.

Another of City’s substitutes, Dipo Akinyemi, went close to bringing parity but his header crashed off the underside of the bar, bounced down, and then out.

Merson had the final chance but his glancing header from a Lee Chappell cross went narrowly wide.

City: Russell, Herd, Bender, Chappell, Martin (Casey 12), Hill, Lucien (Akinyemi 75), Thomas, Theophanous, Morias, Ball (Merson 58)

Subs (not used): Swales, Iwediuno

Goals:

Whitehawk: Flitney, Hamilton, Harding, Strevens, Reid, Marimon, West (Masterton 72) Torres (Favarel 90), Abdulla (Connolly 65), Mills, Southam

Subs (not used): M’Boungou, Tagbo

Goals: Mills 49

HT: St Albans City 0 Whitehawk 0

Referee: Josh Smith

Attendance: 219

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