Cheshunt win was confidence boost ahead of Whitehawk - Gray

St Albans City joint manager James Gray called Monday’s Herts Senior Cup win over Cheshunt a confidence booster ahead of their Vanarama Conference meeting with Whitehawk on Saturday.

Coming in on the back of two losses and were looking to get back on track with a comfortable win. Cheshunt had other plans and quickly went into a 3-0 lead with a trio of excellent goals.

“That wasn’t the plan,” joked Gray after the game.

“We got caught cold and we’d made a lot of changes and the formation was different. I’m not making excuses, though; we gifted them the goals. It’s something we spoke about at half-time and we got a lot better at in the second half.”

A lot better is an understatement. John Frendo scored before the break to give St Albans a glimmer of hope and they took full advantage, showing the two-league gulf between the teams by netting four second-half goals.

David Keenleyside scored either side of Frendo’s second before the formerly out-of-sorts striker completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute, turning in an excellent Danny Green cut back, to wrap up a 5-3 victory.

“We were tenfold better in the second half,” said Gray.

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“We kept the ball and played 100 per cent passes rather than force the issue. We’d tried to force it too much in the final third – I’ve told the boys that if it’s not on then they need to check out and change the picture.”

He added: “We have not scored many recently [but] we created far more chances than the five we got. Their goals were from our individual errors; we were much better defensively in the second half but it is food for thought.

“We put everything right in the second half, which will give us confidence and try to tackle Whitehawk on Saturday.”