Castle: 'We got out of jail'
STEVE Castle couldn t believe his luck after seeing his City side scrape through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy. A second half onslaught from Dartford saw his side played off the park but a heroic display from goalkeeper Paul Bastock kept the
STEVE Castle couldn't believe his luck after seeing his City side scrape through to the first round proper of the FA Trophy.
A second half onslaught from Dartford saw his side played off the park but a heroic display from goalkeeper Paul Bastock kept the Saints in the Trophy.
Castle said: "We've just got out of jail, it's as simple as that. It's another game where we didn't turn up. I've lost my voice from getting frustrated with things. I cannot believe that this is a 10-game unbeaten run and yet we looked like a bottom-of-the-table team who just didn't have a clue. I've tried to tell them well done for winning but to be perfectly honest with you - and they knew it - there were so many very, very poor individual performances.
"I just want the lads to play and to be confident and to be honest with you the lads we played against, they were just so much more comfortable on the ball. I know for a fact that Rushden & Diamonds were here looking at a few of our lads and to be honest with you they're probably looking at more Dartford players than they are us tonight.
"We lost it and but for an unbelievable goalkeeping performance we'd be out of the Trophy and we'd have had no complaints."
Castle was lost for words to describe his goalkeeper's superb performance: "I can't describe what I feel in praise for him. He keeps himself in tip-top condition and I'm so glad that he's at the football club. He's an example to the lesser characters."
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The game saw City loose Paul Hakim and Gary Cohen to injury with Castle doubtful that he'll have top scorer Hakim available for Saturday.
"Gary Cohen's got a dead leg and we're hopeful for him this weekend. With Hassan Sulaiman we're still struggling with his ankle and blisters. The one that is a major doubt is Paul Hakim who's probably rated, at this moment in time, as very doubtful for Saturday."
City's reward for seeing off Dartford is a tie against one of Castle's former sides, Blue Square Premier team Stevenage Borough. The City manager said: "It's nice and local, with a big crowd hopefully and a chance for us to show that we can play at this level. The performance that Dartford have put in against us is what we've got to match against someone like Stevenage, who are a full-time team with a lot of money."
City return to Blue Square South action on Saturday when they visit Braintree Town with a 3pm kick-off. Castle is hoping that his side can rediscover the form that saw them win seven league games in a row.
"Let's hope we get back to our league form. We've certainly got to put in a better performance. It'll be down to the bare bones again but we're used to that but we're not complaining. These lads know they've got out of jail tonight. It might be a bit of a catalyst for us. We didn't have a good performance against Harlow in both games and it was a bit of springboard for a good league run."
Braintree were also in action on Tuesday night, losing 6-2 to Southern League leaders Farnborough Town in an FA Trophy replay.
l The St Albans City Supporters Club is running a coach to this Saturday's game at Braintree. The coach leaves Clarence Road at 12am and costs adult supporters club members £13 and juniors £8. To book a place on the coach contact either Ian Bangs on 07733381874 or Peter Knock on 01727847484.