Ten-man St Albans City gain unlikely three points with Wealdstone victory
PUBLISHED: 21:49 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:26 09 August 2017
A controversial sending off was the start of a crazy 15 minutes that finally resulted in an unlikely 2-1 win for St Albans City.
Tom Bender was given his marching orders on 51 minutes for deliberate handball in a moment of confusion at Clarence Park.
Elliot Benyon thought he had put Wealdstone ahead but the linesman flagged it offside.
However, the referee decided Bender had stopped the ball on the line with his hand and gave a penalty.
The City centre-half was livid and pointed to a hefty red mark in his midriff as proof of his innocence.
The spot-kick was missed though, a combination of Dean Snedker and the post keeping Benyon out.
That was with the score at 1-1, Josh Hill having put Stones ahead on his return to Clarence Park before Sam Merson made it two-in-two four minutes from the break.
The dismissal gave Wealdstone the impetus, but amazingly it was City who scored the go-ahead goal; and what a beauty it was.
Zane Banton raced a long way into the Wealdstone half, ghosting past defenders as he went, before firing low past Jonathan North.
Rhys Murrell-Williamson had a glorious chance late on to make it three but a bad touch saw the opportunity disappear.
Wealdstone though couldn’t find a way through, despite peppering the box, and it was St Albans who kept the 100 per cent record intact.
It will be a difficult result for Stones who were by far the better team in the first period.
Yet like the second half chances were limited and, other than the goal, Shaqile Hippolyte-Patrick had the best two efforts for them.
The first rattled the crossbar, although really should have flown underneath.
A ball from the left skipped past Bender to the winger who lashed it on the half-volley past Dean Snedker but flush off the woodwork.
City will entertain Weston-super-Mare on Saturday sitting proudly in third in the Vanarama National League South.
St Albans: Snedker, Herd, Eadie, Noble (Murrell-Williamson 75), Joseph, Bender, Lucien (Gardiner 55), Sambou, Merson (Walker 70), Monlouis, Banton
Subs (not used): Thomas, Kiangebeni
Goals: Merson 41, Banton 65
Sent off: Bender 51
Wealdstone: North, Oshodi, Okimo, Ijaha (Fitchett 62), Hill, Brown (Osei-Bonsu 83), Hippolyte-Patrick (Wellard 62), Cox, Benyon, Green, Eisa
Subs (not used): Godfrey, Hunt
Goals: Hill 34
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis
HT: St Albans City 1 Wealdstone 1