FA Cup: St Albans City finally see off Corinthian Casuals to reach the third qualifying round
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City finally reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup after a solid if unspectacular 3-0 win against Corinthian Casuals.
The saga was finally played to a conclusion at a rain-soaked Imber Court, home of Metropolitan Police.
And two first-half strikes from Ralston Gabriel and a clincher from David Diedhiou sends City to Somerset and Taunton Town.
It was very much a case of doing what they needed to but after all the trials and tribulations that have befell this fixture, that was exactly what was needed.
Saints manager Ian Allinson made four changes from Tuesday’s contest.
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Sam Merson, Zane Banton, Ben Herd and Solomon Sambou all dropping to the bench as Gabriel, Clovis Kamdjo, Khale Da Costa and Percy Kiangebeni came in.
The desire from the boss was that they would add freshness and a zip to the Saints and with two goals in the opening 14 minutes that seemed to be the case.
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Top scorer Gabriel got them both, moving on to 11 for the term, and both were typical centre-forward efforts.
The first came from a sumptuous Ben Wyatt cross which Gabriel attacked in true number nine fashion and forced over the line.
The second was down to a striker’s instincts and reflexes.
His first effort was saved by Bradley Comins but despite being on the floor the Saints man swung a leg at it, getting there mere moments before Dave Diedhiou, to score the vital second.
The pitch wasn’t helping matters with a number of unseen puddles causing the ball to stop suddenly, one such instance stopping a Kiangebeni break.
It left chances at a minimum but the Casuals’ central defensive pair of Jack Strange and Reece Hannigan deserve plenty of praise for their impressive work.
David Moyo had the only other chance of note with the home side’s only chance falling to the dangerous Jordan Clarke, who fired wide from the edge of the area.
Attempts at half-time to clear the pitch of some of the water ended with the pitchfork being used by the groundstaff snapping.
Corinthians equally needed a break of some sort to get themselves back into the game and they almost got it when a looping cross from the right dropped over Dean Snedker and needed the swinging boot of Diedhiou to clear it from underneath the crossbar.
But it was still St Albans were looked in control and a header from Lewis Knight went over as they looked for the game-clinching third.
It finally arrived in the 79th minute and was this one definitely belonged to Diedhiou as he headed home a corner at the far post.
But it came either side of two great chances that had Allinson screaming at his charges in fury.
The first fell to Warren Mfula who was found unmarked in the centre of the box by Gabriel Odunaike.
But although his outstretched foot reached the ball and he diverted it back the way it came, it rolled off the outside of the post and wide.
The second was a shot by Odunaike himself that flew well over the bar from a good position.
It mattered little though and Saints will be glad to finally see the back of the second qualifying round.
St Albans City: Snedker, Kiangebeni, Bender, Noble (Sambou 86), Knight, Diedhiou, Wyatt, Da Costa, Gabriel, Moyo (Merson 89), Kamdjo.
Subs (not used): Herd, Banton
Goal: Gabriel 10, 14, Diedhiou 79
Corinthian Casuals: Comins, Spencer, Morgan, Strange, Hannigan, McAllister (Ekim 64), Maan (Checklit 83), Antonio, Mfula, Clarke (Oldham 83), Odunaike.
Sub (not used): Tucker, Carvalho, Smith, Adelakun.
HT: Corinthian Casuals 0 St Albans City 2
Referee: Ryan Atkin (Chiswick)