St Albans City still in play-off hunt despite Concord Rangers loss
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City’s National League South play-off hopes will go the final weekend of the season despite a 2-1 defeat at Concord Rangers.
A double from Dartford’s Tom Murphy in the final two minutes of their game with Billericay Town means the Essex side are just one point ahead of Saints with one game to play.
The likelihood is they will have to beat champions Torquay United at Clarence Park on Saturday to stand any chance of that happening but after events at Thames Road, that is something to be happy with.
Sam Ashford and Alex Wall scored twice in the opening 18 minutes to give Concord the lead and although James Kaloczi pulled on back, Rangers held on to seal their own place in the post-season showdown.
The opening goal saw the experienced Jack Midson burst down the right and cross for Wall, and his flick found Ashford virtually on the goal line to nod home.
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Concord wasted no time in doubling their lead.
Michael Clark failed to clear the ball and that allowed Ashford to pay back Wall with a pass that needed, and received, a first-time finish.
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Ian Allinson looked for an immediate response from his side but their attacks, largely centred down the right and former Concord man Khale Da Costa, were easily dealt with by the imposing home side.
However, with five minutes left of the half the Saints started to pass the ball round well and Solomon Sambou won a number of tackles in the middle third, prompting a reaction from both the travelling Saints supporters and the players around home.
City suddenly looked rejuvenated and they reduced the deficit through Kaloczi after the defender met a Sam Merson throw at the near post and directed it past Sam Beasant.
The Beach Boys looked rattled and the Saints came within inches of equalising before the break when Da Costa’s whipped delivery from the right came off the head of Concord captain Tyrone Sterling and flew inches wide of the target.
The interval seemed to come at just the right time for the hosts and they began the second 45 like they started the first, well on top.
They looked to have been rewarded when Midson turned the ball home at the back post only to see the linesman’s flag raised on the far side.
City struggled to break down a resolute Concord defence and were largely restricted to efforts from the edge of the box.
Both Clovis Kamdjo and Sambou saw strikes from 18 yards blocked by home defenders.
Dean Snedker was called upon to make a smart save low to his right with 10 minutes left on the clock after Ashford controlled and turned on the edge of the City box.
With the game entering the final stages City searched for an equaliser but a lack of quality in both the final third and their delivery into the area meant that the home side held on in relative comfort.