City young guns sink Fleet

St Albans City 2 (Jonathan O Donnell 27, Tinashe Muskwe 45) Thurrock 1 (Lemar Lemonius 31) James Ronayne at Clarence Park GOALS from Jonathan O Donnell and Tinashe Muskwe helped St Albans City s young guns overcome the odds and see of the challenge of a

St Albans City 2 (Jonathan O'Donnell 27, Tinashe Muskwe 45)

Thurrock 1 (Lemar Lemonius 31)

James Ronayne at Clarence Park

GOALS from Jonathan O'Donnell and Tinashe Muskwe helped St Albans City's young guns overcome the odds and see of the challenge of a highly-rated Thurrock outfit in the FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round.

Just like the previous round's win over Hitchin, it proved to be another lively and enthralling contest, but this time it was played out in front of a vociferous crowd.

The game sparked into life almost immediately and City had already created a couple of openings before James Macey stole ball 25 yards out and hit a low shot that flashed wide of the goal.

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There were just seven minutes on the clock when at the other end Michael Thalassitis rolled his man but the striker dragged his shot wide from 20 yards.

O'Donnell tested Fleet's Lamar Joseph Johnson with a long range effort but the 'keeper was equal to it.

As the game swung from end-to-end a poor header by City defender Aaron Lewis was pounced upon by Thalassitis but the Thurrock man wasted the effort after skewing his shot wide.

City took the lead on 27 minutes through first teamer O'Donnell. The midfielder picked the ball up and ran at the heart of the Fleet defence. He rode the challenge of one Thurrock defender before placing his shot into the bottom corner from 18 yards with Johnson static in the visitor's goal.

The lead didn't last long though as Thurrock drew level four minutes later. Referee Neil Sharp gave a corner that he shouldn't and Fleet took advantage of the referee's error with Lamar Lemonius left free to head home Aaron Matthews' corner.

To their credit City didn't let their heads drop and Luke Jackaman and O'Donnell began to get more involved in proceedings.

Jackaman was given too much space about 25 yards from goal and unleashed a left shot that narrowly went over the bar.

The midfielder got even closer a minute later when he fired in a 35 yard shot that goalkeeper Johnson did well to tip onto the bar. City weren't to be denied though as from the resulting corner they regained the lead. Jackaman swung the corner over and Muskwe wriggled free of his man to glance a header inside the far post.

The second half was much tighter with the ball spending a lot more time in the middle of the park. As a result opportunities were at a premium.

With an hour gone Danny Ford hit a curling shot that Adam McWeeney diverted around the post. From the corner O'Donnell broke, his marauding run coming to an end with a shot that flew inches over the bar.

Midway through the second half City found themselves up against Pele, the visitors introducing the wonderfully named Pele Salmon as a 68th minute substitute.

Things got worse for the visitors when they were reduced to ten men 18 minutes from the end, Hamzah Khan picking up a second yellow card for a late challenge on O'Donnell.

Despite their numerical disadvantage Fleet threw everything at finding an equaliser and City were indebted to goalkeeper McWeeney who pulled off a wonderful reflex save to deny Glenn O'Hanlon.

It was to prove vital as City saw out the game to deservedly take their spot in the next round.

St Albans City: McWeeney; Spaul, Lewis, Dedman, Baker; Jackaman (Adams 46), Magwood (c), O'Donnell, Macey (Eadie 88); Geraldes (Saunders 76), Muskwe.

Subs not used: Inman, Thomas.

Thurrock: Johnson; Hanlon, Lemonius, Conner, De-Viana; Jay, Ford (McKenzie 63), Khan, Matthews (Warner 59), Thalassitis, Stalley (Salmon 68).

Subs not used: Dicks, Hughes.

Referee: Neil Sharp (Welwyn Garden City)

Man of the Match: Jonathan O'Donnell