FA Cup: Saints put to the sword by Mansfield
The FA Cup dream is over for St Albans City after losing 8-1 to Mansfield Town in the first round proper at Clarence Park.
A goal from Darren Locke gave City the lead and had 3,000 fans starting to believe that an upset was possible but two late goals in the first-half and an onslaught after the break ensured it was the League Two side that progressed.
The Stags didn’t have it their own way, though, and fell behind. David Keenleyside swung in a perfect ball for Locke, who was unmarked at the back post, to head past Alan Marriott.
Lee Stevenson and Anthony Howell turned the tie on its head with two goals within three minutes before the break but City still looked competitive.
After the break, Mansfield ran riot. Led by Sam Clucas, who scored five goals, Stags were ruthlessly efficient in front of goal.
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It could have been very different though as, at 2-1 down, John Frendo smashed a volley from the edge of the area into the net but the linesman had his flag raised because the ball had gone out in the build up.
In the end Mansfield were the better team - 8-1 is flattering – but City can take heart from their performance. Comley wass superb in the middle of midfield and was City’s engine through the game.
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The fullbacks, Lee Chappell and Howard Hall, attacked well and coped well at times with the threat of Mansfield, as did James Kaloczi and Locke.
Frendo and Mark Nwokeji linked up well, yet again, showing at their strike partnership continues to flourish, but against a very physical back line their chances were limited.
The main challenge now for joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds is to not let the confidence from the 11-game unbeaten run subside and push on in the league.
If they can bottle up today’s performance, the only way is up for Saints.