Another dramatic afternoon for St Albans City as they draw with nine-man Welling United
- Credit: Archant
For the third National South game in a row there was a late goal and a 2-2 draw for St Albans City – but that fails to tell the whole story from an enthralling contest at Welling United.
Saints had taken the lead through Zane Banton after 10 minutes only to see two goals in four second-half minutes for the high-flying Wings, courtesy of ex-Saints defender Josh Hill, give them the advantage.
But a sending-off to Welling’s Danny Mills gave the visitors to Park View Road hope and they were further boosted when Arnaud Mendy was shown a second yellow.
That had been delivered along with a penalty which Sam Merson gleefully converted but despite late pressure there was to be no more goals.
The action had started almost immediately after the initial kick-off with both sides having changes to open the scoring inside a minute.
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But Mills saw his header after just 10 seconds drift wide of the back post before Merson’s strike from the edge of the box 40 seconds later was saved by Daniel Wilks.
The Saints opener came when Solomon Sambou delivered the ball in from the right and it was met at the back post by Merson, who nodded it across goal and Banton was there to head the ball into the roof of the net.
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The hosts struggled to make inroads and it was the visitors who continued to enjoy the better of the play, almost extending their lead when a scramble in the box saw the ball fall to Tom Bender who struck the post following his turn and shot.
Welling were presented with an opportunity to level things up a minute before the break when Gavin McCallum burst down the right and crossed the ball into Bradley Goldberg, but the forward’s flicked backheel was stopped by the legs of Dean Snedker.
The Wings, however, came out after the interval rejuvenated and it was substitute Hill who scored with his first touch, turning home Brendan Kiernan’s cross from just a few yards out.
Hill struck again four minutes later with an almost carbon copy of the first goal, drifting in at the back post and nodding the ball past the stranded Snedker.
Welling continued to push forward and Snedker was forced to make a smart save from Goldberg’s low effort.
The game swung back towards the Saints in the 68th minute when Mills went up for an aerial challenge against Michael Clark and was adjudged to have used an elbow by referee, who brandished a straight red to the Welling forward.
With the man advantage St Albans grabbed a foothold in the game and Dave Diedhiou tested Wilks from 25 yards, but his curling effort was claimed by the goalkeeper.
That man advantage was doubled with less than 10 minutes on the clock when Merson was dragged down the area by Mendy, who had already been booked for an earlier challenge, and the defender was subsequently given his marching orders by the referee.
Merson stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot, placing his penalty low in the bottom right hand corner of the net.
The Saints looked to make their two-man advantage count and substitute David Moyo saw an effort from the edge of the box claimed by Wilks.
With the game entering stoppage time Welling United’s nine men dug in on the edge of their own box and City’s best chance to win the game fell to Merson in the 96th minute, but the forward saw his first-time effort deflected wide by the foot a home defender.