FA Cup nightmare for City
Heybridge Swifts 1 (Ben Codling 77) St Albans City 0 James Ronayne at Scraley Road ST ALBANS City s involvement in the FA Cup is over for another year after a 1-0 defeat at Heybridge Swifts. In what was an awful game the Swifts were deserved winners tha
Heybridge Swifts 1 (Ben Codling 77)
St Albans City 0
James Ronayne at Scraley Road
ST ALBANS City's involvement in the FA Cup is over for another year after a 1-0 defeat at Heybridge Swifts.
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In what was an awful game the Swifts were deserved winners thanks to Ben Codling's 77th minute goal, dumping City out of the competition at the same stage as last year and denying them the opportunity to pocket a welcome �4,500 in prize money.
What was most worrying for City is yet again their failure to test the opposition goalkeeper, with only Luke Thurlbourne's late drive forcing Swifts' stopper Ollie Sanders-Morris into any real action.
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City gave a first start to Godfrey Poku, replacing the injured Drew Roberts in the only change from last weekend's win at Weymouth.
The first half was a turgid affair, with very few efforts on goal and the game lacking any quality.
The home side had the first effort when Luke Hammond saw his shot hit Ryan Frater and deflect wide of Paul Bastock's upright.
A beautiful corner from the otherwise ineffective David Galbraith should have provided City with their first shot on goal but with the ball bouncing in the six yard box both Gary Cohen and Adam Everitt failed to get a touch.
Everitt fired in a cross that was only cleared to the edge of the box, but Thurlbourne's effort went wide.
Bastock was called into action at the other end to deny Nick Muir and Morris-Sanders easily held Solomon Shields' curled effort.
Steve Castle was clearly unhappy with his team's first half showing and replaced Poku and Galbraith with Jonathan O'Donnell and Ryan Maxwell.
A moment of class from Shields released Cohen in behind the Swifts defence but although the pacy striker rounded goalkeeper Morris-Sanders he pushed the ball too far wide. From the resulting cross Thurlbourne was penalised for a foul and picked up his fifth booking of the season meaning a one match ban.
Shields played with more urgency in the second half and he intercepted a ball in the middle of the park and released O'Donnell on the left. The young midfielder raced towards the box and unleashed a shot that crashed off the post and away to safety.
City did get the ball in the back of the net when Thurlbourne's cross was nodded down by Everitt and Chillingworth bundled the ball over the line but the goal was disallowed for offside.
At the other end a Heybridge free kick was knocked on by Phillip Goodwin to his central defensive partner Luke Fisher but his header was saved by Bastock.
An O'Donnell corner found its way to Everitt at the far post and his right foot volley was deflected over for another corner.
The longer the second half went on the more Heybridge looked like threatening and Bastock had to be alert to keep out Liam Coleman's shot.
City were indebted to Bastock minutes later. Coleman beat the offside trap and was in on goal, he hit a dipping volley that Bastock excellently turned around the post.
Disaster struck for City from the resulting set play. The defence allowed the ball to bounce in the box and, Muir poked the ball goalwards and Codling fired the ball home.
Heybridge should have doubled their lead when Peters missed a header at the back post but Codling lofted his shot out of the ground.
Determined play from Shields saw the ball reach Maxwell, his cross was stood up to the far post with Peters lurking but the Swifts defence cleared their lines at the last moment.
As the cross came back in from O'Donnell, Maxwell and Thurlbourne collided, a moment that summed up City's afternoon.
Swifts were reduced to 10 men with less than five minutes to go, a decision made only after the linesman bought to the referee's attention that he'd already booked Ryan Hull.
City should have grabbed an equaliser when Morris-Sanders failed to hold Thurlbourne's long range shot but Maxwell, with the goal gaping slipped and skewed his shot wide.
Heybridge Swifts: Morris-Sanders; Semanshia, Goodwin, Street, Hull; Coleman (Gibson 88), Fisher Hammond (Griggs 42), Shepherd; Muir, Codling (Saunders 90+2).
Subs: Smith, Ewing, Bowyer.
St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter, Peters, Frater, Everitt; Poku (Maxwell 46), Shields L Thurlbourne, Galbraith (O'Donnell 46); Cohen, Chillingworth.
Subs: Clayton, J Thurlbourne, Mortimer, James, Emery.
Referee: Lee Betts (Norwich).
Man of the Match: Solomon Shields.