It was a very different performance that guided St Albans City through to the play-off semi-final in the National League South - but manager David Noble did not mind a bit.

A solitary Shaun Jeffers goal five minutes into the first period of extra-time was enough to seal a 1-0 success at Chelmsford City, setting up a trip to Dartford on Sunday.

It was a show that was more hob nail boot than ballet shoe or more school play than Hollywood blockbuster, lacking the refinement but no less entertaining or effective.

In fact, it was reminiscent of the kind of performance that Steve Evans, Noble's former boss at Boston United and now boss of League One Stevenage, would have been proud of.

Herts Advertiser: David Noble was full of praise for the City defence, including Callum Adebiyi. Picture: SACFCDavid Noble was full of praise for the City defence, including Callum Adebiyi. Picture: SACFC (Image: St Albans City FC)

"It was," said the City's Noble with a smile. "It was such a gritty game. It was a really tough 120, 130 minutes of football and it was a proper knockout game. 

"And although we weren't at our stylish and pretty best, my God did we fight. 

"We showed some spirit there and. I'm just proud of everybody.

"And the legs on some of the boys, we had players out there who looked like they could play another 60 minutes. 

"It was a proper performance and a really good night for St Albans City."

There was praise for the scorer, who came off the bench to make exactly the impact Noble wanted him to.

However, a lot more praise was for the clean sheet, something Noble needs to see more of.

He said: "Shaun Jeffers, that's what he does and it is a great goal. 

"It’s great movement from him, out of sight then back across the front and a brilliant finish.

"But while I'm obviously delighted with the goal, I'm also delighted with the clean sheet. 

"I thought Dylan Berry was excellent, really commanding. Callum Adebiyi is one of the walking wounded but he and the rest of the defence were exceptional.  

"They put a lot of balls into areas and a lot of balls into our box and we know, at certain times this season, that's been our downfall. 

"But the boys stood up to it well, they stood up and were counted and if you're going to win games of football, especially at the top end of the league when you’re in this [sort of environment, you've got to defend like that."

An injury to Tafari Moore will be the one note of concern, the wing-back limping out on the stroke of half-time with a worrying-looking thigh injury.

But Noble says the belief that has come from first getting into the end of season party, and then winning against the Clarets in the manner they did, could well be the defining factor of their season.

He said: "We knew if we got in the play-offs, we are as good as anybody on our day. 

"We’ve just got to have our day three times. That’s one, two to go."

The game at Princes Park on Sunday kicks-off at 12.30pm.

The other semi-final takes place later the same day with Oxford City at home to the winner of Worthing and Braintree Town.