Eagles swoop to leave City stunned
City let two-goal lead slip for second time in three days
Southern Premier Division
Bedford Town 2 St Albans City 2
FOR the second time in three days St Albans City let slip a two-goal lead, this time at Bedford Town, as two goals in a minute from former City striker Drew Roberts salvaged an unlikely point for the home side.
It was a desperately disappointing outcome for a Saints side who had for 70 minutes looked in total control of the game after first half strikes from Sakho Bakare and Ryan Watts but the team’s failure to convert several good chances early in the second half came back to haunt them as Roberts took advantage to net his 14th and 15th goals of the campaign.
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Howell made two changes to the XI that started Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Arlesey Town bringing in Kosi Ntlhe for Sean Shields and Bakare for the injured Rob Haworth and it was the latter of those changes who handed City an 11th minute lead.
The French forward looked to have got in the way of a City attack as he robbed the ball off captain David Ijaha’s boot but the Parisian knew exactly what he was doing as he swivelled and arrowed the ball into the bottom corner of Ian Brown’s net from 20 yards out.
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The home side rallied after the early setback but they found themselves up against a stubborn City defence.
Bedford winger Callum Lewis twice fired over the bar from distance and James Faulkner saw an effort blocked by Matt Cutchey who also put his body on the line to deny Gareth Price after the Bedford man had raced through the Saints midfield.
When Bedford did eventually find a way through the City rearguard they found Jupp in decent form, the ‘keeper getting two hands to the ball to divert Lewis’ fierce drive over the bar after intricate build up play from the home side.
City had no such problems though as they doubled their lead in first half stoppage time. A long ball forward found Watts who exchanged passes with Jerome Walker before driving the ball across the face of goal and into the net from the left hand side of the box.
City were guilty of not turning up for the second half of Saturday’s draw with Arlesey but they didn’t make that mistake this time round coming out with a positive intent.
Bakare forced Brown into a decent save early in the half but then missed a golden opportunity to kill the tie off.
The French forward swung the ball out to Hart on the right wing before racing into the penalty area to meet the cross only to head wide of the target from six yards. At the time it didn’t look like being a costly miss but by the final whistle it proved to be the match-defining moment.
By now Bedford looked dead and buried but that all changed when Faulkner created half a yard of space out on the right wing and drove the ball across goal to the far post where Roberts fired home.
That gave Bedford 14 minutes to find an equaliser but they needed less than 60 seconds.
The City defence looked well placed to deal with Roberts’ threat when he received a long ball out to the left of the City area but the former Clarence Park favourite drove inside Reece Yorke and placed his shot low into the corner of Jupp’s goal with the City goalkeeper totally wrong-footed.
Both sides had chances to win the game with substitute Jermaine Hall heading over from six yards for Bedford and Sean Shields denied by Brown as City were left to reflect on another case of two points dropped.
Bedford Town: Brown; Cooper, Thorne (Hall), Darby, Simpson; Price, York, Beech, Lewis; Roberts, Faulkner.
Subs not used: Cole, Ivy, Damon, Kavanagh.
St Albans City: Jupp; Yorke, Moran, Cutchey, Ntlhe; Hart (Sean Shields), Matthews, Ijaha �, Watts; Bakare, Walker.
Subs not used: Ehui, Haisley, Alebiosu, Viner.
Referee: John Scott (Buckingham)