City negotiate Berko replay without any dramas

Saints respond to Saturday’s disappointment with confident display

FA Cup First Qualifying Round replay

Berkhamsted 0 St Albans City 3

A CONFIDENT display ensured St Albans City’s safe passage into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup at the second time of asking at Berkhamsted on Tuesday evening.

Each player was dragged into David Howell’s office on Saturday evening after the Saints’ dismal performance and the manager’s words clearly had an effect as City never looked in danger of being on the end of a cup upset.

Ryan Moran and Man of the Match Tobi Jinadu were watertight at the back and also had a say in the other penalty box with Moran scoring and Jinadu going close on two occasions.

Winger Sean Shields, reprimanded by Howell for his unprofessional behaviour after being substituted on Saturday which saw the player fail to shake the hand of his replacement, responded with just the kind of performance his manager demanded laying on all three goals.

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The former Rushden & Diamonds youngster signalled City’s intent immediately with a long range effort that drifted just wide of the Berko goal but it was the home side who could have taken an early lead against the run of play. A free kick from out on the far side was turned back across goal by the unmarked Jamie Gavin for striker Aaron Usmani but the Berko man could only head tamely into Nick Jupp’s arms.

City were winning almost everything in the air at both ends of the pitch and they gave a warning of what was to come when Jinadu headed powerfully at goal but straight at ‘keeper Eddie Farmer.

Shields’ delivery from set plays was proving a good source of chances and Rob Haworth should have done better when he rose unchallenged but nodded the ball wide of the goal.

City were now camped in the Berko half with the home side struggling to make any ground on the Southern League opponents.

City skipper David Ijaha did well to recover an over-hit corner before bursting down the right and crossing for Jinadu but the big defender’s effort was brilliantly tipped onto the bar before being cleared by a defender.

With chances at a premium for the hosts they were left to resort to long range efforts. With the rain swirling around Broadwater and making the surface very quick, Jupp did incredibly well to get down and keep out Adam Mead’s daisy-cutter before pouncing on the loose ball ahead of the prowling forward.

The opening goal City’s dominance deserved came in the 22nd minute and it was no surprise that it came from a Shields’ corner. The young winger’s delivery was again spot on and this time Haworth made no mistake heading past Farmer and the man on the post for his second goal of the campaign.

Haworth wasted a good chance to double his tally when he beat Farmer to Nathan Ralph’s free kick but the striker directed his header off target allowing a Berko defender to clear.

City really stamped their authority on proceedings with a second goal four minutes after the interval. Again Shields was the provider sending over a free kick for Moran to powerfully head past the static Farmer.

The 306 people who braved the wind and rain saw City wrap up a comfortable victory with goal number three in the 64th minute. Shields, this time out on the left wing, swung over a free kick that somehow found its way to Jerome Walker at the far post and the pacy frontman smashed the ball back across Farmer’s goal and inside the far post.

From then on it was a case of closing the game out for City. Shields came within a whisker of grabbing a goal his performance deserved but the winger’s cheeky free kick was well read by Farmer who scrambled across his line to beat the ball to safety.

With Jinadu and Moran unpassable at the heart of the City defence Berko turned their attentions to the wings but the closest they came to a consolation was Tony Burnett’s cross that flew over Jupp and ran along the top of the crossbar before going behind.

City now travel to East Thurrock United in the second qualifying round a week on Saturday but first attention turns to Saturday’s league game at Stourbridge.

Berkhamsted: Farmer; Gavin (O’Farrell 61), S Carmichael �, Toomey, Rodrigoe; Clark (Chamberlain 61), Welling, Mead; Wardle, Burnett, Usmani (Gallagher 43).

Subs not used: Harewood-Williams, Hester, Gerard, Boad.

St Albans City: Jupp; Ralph, Moran, Jinadu, Watts; Sean Shields (Alebiosu 84), Haisley, Ijaha �, Matthews (Magwood 80); Haworth (Bakare 73), Walker.

Subs not used: Ehui, Cutchey, Bent, Viner.

Referee: M. Tweed.

Att: 306