City stop the rot with Bromley draw

St Albans City celebrate Ben Martin's equaliser. Picture: Bob Walkley

St Albans City celebrate Ben Martin's equaliser. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

St Albans City stopped the rot by earning a thrilling point at home against Bromley.

Twice the Saints came back, first through James Kaloczi and then Ben Martin, as they picked up their first point in four games following three successive losses.

St Albans joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds shuffled their pack, deploying James Kaloczi, back from his loan at Wingate and Finchley, in midfield and starting John Frendo, Loick Pires and Geoff Mitchell. Sean Shields and Steve Wales also dropped to the bench.

The first clear chances fell to Bromley as first Danny Waldren headed a tame effort that was no trouble for Joe Welch and then John Kyriacou had to clear the ball off the line after Moses Ademola looped a glancing header towards the back post.

Bromley should have taken the lead in the 18th minute, and it was a set piece, City’s Achilles heel this year, this was almost their downfall. A corner was flicked to Jack Holland at the back post and with the goal at his mercy he headed over the bar.

Pierre Joseph-Dubois was next to miss a golden chance from Bromley, scooping the ball over the bar from six yards out while, at the other end, Mitchell almost scored a wonder goal from 25 yards out but his shot cannoned off the bar with Brown beaten.

Frendo was then guilty of missing a golden chance. Mitchell flicked the ball through the back four for Frendo to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper but Brown saved with his feet.

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The miss proved costly as four minutes later Bromley were in front. Kaloczi lost the ball in the midfield, Moses Ademola worked it wide to Louis Dennis who cut in on his left foot and first it inside the far post from 12 yards. It was no more than the visitors deserved against City’s shaky back line.

City’s defence was stretched to its limit in the 41st minute as Kyriacou made his second goal-line clearance, this time from Grant, and Welch was forced to block Dennis’ rebound but it didn’t break.

For all their struggles with defending set pieces, St Albans utilised it perfectly to draw level. Lee Chappell’s trademark long throw was flicked on by Pires to Kaloczi who calmly headed the ball over Brown.

Bromley started the second half in the same manner they did the first and Welch had to be alert to save down low to his right from Ademola. Tom Ward then did well to block Joseph-Dubois’ shot but, for all the warnings, City were caught ball-watching from the corner and Walden jumped over the top of two defenders to head Bromley back in front.

The third should have followed 60 seconds later, in the 56th minute, but Ademola mis-kicked Udoji’s perfect cross to the back post.

Bromley’s lead didn’t last long, though, as Chappell picked out Ben Martin with a free-kick and the skipper glanced a header across the face of goal and into the top corner.

The visitors nearly hit straight away after Martin was caught in possession at the back but two chances were blocked before Fuseini hit the side netting. Fuseini then set up the next chances from a counter attack but Grant fired over.

Kaloczi almost had a second in the 72nd minute in a carbon copy of Martin’s goal but Joe Anderson was on the back post to hack the ball away. Chappell was then called on to make City’s third goal-line clearance, deflecting Waldren’s drive out for a corner.

Both teams made changes to set up an exciting 15 minutes as Shields and Bromley’s Birchall were introduced.

The visitors had the ball in the net in the 80th minute but Joseph-Dubois had failed to hold his run as Martin stepped up and his goal was ruled out.

Steve Wales was brought on as a last throw of the dice to get a result but it was Ward and Martin that combined, somewhat haphazardly, to stop Bromley’s last chance of the game. It was a fitting way to earn a point after the defence had been found wanting in the last two losses.

The Saints are next in action on Saturday, at home to Maidenhead United. 3pm kick-off.

St Albans City starting line-up: Welch, Kyriacou, Chappell, Kaloczi, Martin, Ward, Gorman, Clarke, Frendo, Pires, Mitchell. Subs: Wales, Shields, Keenleyside, Green, Bola.

Bromley starting line-up: Brown, Udoji, Anderson, Fuseini, Holland, Bailey-Dennes, Joseph-Dubois, Waldren, Dennis, Ademola, Grant. Subs: Williams, Scannell, Birchall, Slabber, Agu.