Aylesbury defeat provides Howell insight into City’s character

Saints fail to recover from three-nil deficit at the break


Aylesbury 3 St Albans City 2

ST ALBANS City boss David Howell felt Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Aylesbury gave him a useful insight into the character of his newly assembled squad.

City found themselves three goals down at the break after efforts from Jack Thompson, Greg Williams and one-time City trialist Ricky Miller put the home side in a commanding position and Howell believes the experience told him about his new side’s mindset.

“At half time I got them together and told them how I want them to go about the job for the second half, which they did for about 70 percent and got themselves back into the game to three-two,” explained Howell afterwards.

“I think what we learnt today is when you’ve got a side on the ropes, as we had them in the second half, you’ve got to take advantage of it and kill them off. We didn’t and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

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“Normally I’m looking at performances rather of results but today I was looking to see how we reacted after giving away three early goals; to come in at half time to see what kind of strength of character we had or didn’t have. They showed some good strength of character to come back, I thought the first 15 minutes of the second half we controlled it but didn’t really kick on from there even though we got back into the game at 3-1 I thought we took our foot off the gas.”

The kick off was delayed by 15 minutes after the officials failed to turn up resulting in the home side providing three people to officiate the game. In the absence of a first team goalkeeper, reserve team stopper Aiden Kelly was given a run out but it was an error from the second string custodian that saw Aylesbury go ahead. The hosts were awarded a free kick on the edge of the City box and Jack Thompson’s effort beat the wall before squirming through Kelly’s hands and into the net.

Aylesbury doubled their advantage midway through the first half when Miller played a defence splitting pass to Greg Williams leaving the midfielder with a simple finish before Miller got in on the act himself in first half injury time.

The Aylesbury striker won possession inside the City half before racing towards goal, beating Ryan Moran and sending a rising effort into the net from 18 yards out.

Howell made changes at the break introducing Solomon Shields and Brian Haule into the fray and the pair played their part in helping City back into the contest.

Moran headed against the crossbar early in the second period before the two Shields, Sol and Sean combined to reduce the deficit. Sean played a corner short to Sol, who returned the ball to Sean and he rifled the ball home.

That was it for the goal scoring action until nine minutes from time when Sean Shields’ delicate lob found Haule in the penalty area and the striker made no mistake but it proved too little too late for Howell’s Saints.

St Albans City: Kelly, Pooley, Barnard (Yorke 67), Ijaha (Magwood 79), Moran, Bailey (Lyon 73), Ehui (Sol Shields 46), Alebiosu (Fry 73), Bakare (Haule 46), Davis, Hart (Sean Shields 10).