Cheshunt give St Albans City a scare but Saints progress in Herts Senior Cup

Cheshunt nearly gave St Albans City a shock but the Saints progressed to the second round of the Herts Senior Cup with a 5-3 victory at Clarence Park in front of a sparse crowd.

The Ryman North side went three goals ahead before St Albans, led by Sam Corcoran’s brilliance and John Frendo’s eye for goal, scored five times to win the tie.

The Saints’ early season form which saw them reach the top eight in the Vanarama Conference South and regularly attract 700 to Clarence Park seems a long time ago, especially with less than 60 in the stands for tonight’s tie.

A disconnect between the club and fans has formed in the wake of the Frendo incident and it wasn’t helped by the £15 admission fee. The cold weather could be blamed but the attendance has to be a concern for the club. So does the football at times.

Three times they were carved apart in the first-half by a team two divisions below them.

There was an air of bad luck for the first as John Megicks beat Joe Welch from long-range, but the second and third goals, both scored by Adam Bolle, were from the top drawer. He directed Josh Cooper’s cross past Welch to double the advantage before capping off a superb counter-attack with a superb lobbed finish.

City looked shocked but their response was impressive. Abandoning the slow passing approach that had put them three behind, Corcoran found Keenleyside on the right with a pin-point cross-field pass and he cushioned the ball to Frendo who placed it past Sonny Sheed-Ryan. They repeated the trick 30 seconds later but with Keenleyside lashing the ball into the far corner from Chappell’s pass.

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Frendo, who hadn’t scored since the 3-0 win over Wealdstone on September 20, added a second from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute to level the game after Matt Taylor was shoved the ground by Lewis Payne.

The second-half was all St Albans, as many expected, and the frustration was clear as the visitor’s manager, Glen Alzapiedi, was sent to the stands as the hosts had their way.

The impressive Keenleyside headed Chappell’s corner past Sheed-Ryan to give St Albans the lead for the first time before Frendo made the game safe with his hat-trick goal. Danny Green cut the ball back from the byline and Frendo finished with aplomb.

A 5-3 victory was not what St Albans would have expected or wanted but they’re through to the next round of the cup.

They will be hoping more people see their next win.

St Albans City starting line-up: Welch, Green, Chappell, Corcoran, Kaloczi, Beckles, Keenleyside, Clarke, Frendo, Peacock, Taylor. Subs: Mitchell, Longe-King, Watson, Shields, Tewkesbury.

Cheshunt starting line-up: Sheed-Ryan, Sem, Llewellyn, Payne, Elenge, Sands, Illslet, Megicks, Bolle, Fagbohun, Cooper. Subs: Clemo, Edgerley, Bossman.

Att: 57