Two late goals for St Albans City against Chippenham Town rescued a drab encounter and could potentially be the key moment in their promotion push
PUBLISHED: 17:13 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:10 25 February 2018
If St Albans City go on to win promotion this season then this 2-0 win over Chippenham Town will probably be the game people remember as the turning point.
The teams were already into the first minute of added time in a hugely-forgettable Vanarama National League South encounter when Kieran Monlouis was brought down in the box.
Substitute Zane Banton swept home the spot kick quite impressively.
And there was still time for Rhys Murrell-Williamson to cut in and slot past Jared Thompson in the visiting goal to give Saints a second.
With Hemel Hempstead Town and Havant & Waterlooville drawing and Chelmsford City losing, this win moves City to fifth and could prove vital as the season reaches its conclusion.
Prior to that the roaring trade of teas, coffee and Bovril looked to be the only way the fans inside Clarence Park were going to warm themselves up on a chilly afternoon.
If the superb performance and 4-0 win against Dartford in the last home game had attracted any new fans, they would have been wondering why they bothered on their journey home.
It was inside the last 15 minutes that Saints showed any signs of life.
The rest of the game lacked any urgency despite the screams of encouragement from the bench.
Slow, ponderous, lacklustre were just some of the words plucked from the thesaurus to describe the performance of both teams for the majority of the clash.
The introduction of new signing Antonio German and Banton made a difference and manager Ian Allinson threw on Charlie Walker with five minutes to go.
Sam Merson had the best chance prior to the stoppage-time drama, as he and German broke through, but City’s top scorer chose to shoot instead of slipping in the former Hemel Hempstead man and it was charged down.
Rhys Murrell-Williamson also hit a trademark shot as he cut in from the right but it drifted wide and Chippenham were content to counter attack.
They had one chance from a corner won after one such break but they nodded the ball inches wide.
Much earlier in the day the visitors had the best chance of the first half, which came after just 48 seconds.
But even then it was only a half-chance at best.
A curled cross was flicked off the head of Jake Jackson and overDean Snedker. Fortunately it bounced off the top of the bar and over.
And any hope that would be a sign of things to come soon drifted away.
City did get forward into dangerous areas but too often they gave the ball away or they turned back and started the same, slow process.
One Merson header from a corner, which was eventually hacked away amid a crowd of bodies in the box, was the most they could come up with to get the City fans cheering.
The rest was down to the Bovril until that finish.
St Albans: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Noble (German 66), Kiangebeni, Moore-Azille, Murrell-Williamson, Sambou, Merson (Walker 85), Monlouis, Lucien (Banton 66)
Subs (not used): Gardiner, Bradbury
Goals: Banton pen 90+2, Murrell-Williamson 90+4
Chippenham: Thompson, Bowman, Guthrie, McDonald, Tindle, Mullings, Ferguson, Smith, Twine, Mohammed (Sandell 72), Jackson (Jones 85)
Subs (not used): Richards, Smile, Patten
HT: St Albans City 0 Chippenham Town 0
Referee: Wayne Cartmel (Luton)