FA Cup: Worthing snatch replay after St Albans City throw it away

St Albans City hosted Worthing in the FA Cup at Clarence Park.

St Albans City hosted Worthing in the FA Cup at Clarence Park. - Credit: Archant

A goal deep into stoppage time by Reece Meekums earned 10-man Worthing a 2-2 draw and a replay and continued St Albans City’s disappointing start to the season.

They looked to be heading to a much-needed victory after goals from Joe Iaciofano and debutant Andronicos Georgiou had put them in front.

Saints even had the luxury of seeing Joe Tennant sent off for two bookable offences with 13 minutes to go.

But when it needed a bit of a sense and a bit of control to see the game out, a loose back pass from James Kaloczi was woefully short of Dean Snedker and with City scrambling to cover, Meekums found the corner.

It was all too familiar for the long-suffering Saints fans but it was all avoidable and that is the real crushing point of note.

Truth is this had banana skin written all over it from the very beginning.

City's poor National League form coupled with the potency in front of goal of the Isthmian Premier Division side had some home fans very fearful.

Most Read

The opening few minutes would have done little to ease those worries.

Yes, St Albans had enough of the ball but it was the Mackerel Men who created the early chances.

Lloyd Dawes hit the side netting with a sliced effort and then hooked one wide of the other post.

An unmarked Joe Tennant was inches away from connecting with a Reece Meekums cross and the Worthing wide man also hit the side netting and sliced one wide under pressure from David Longe-King.

But while Saints weren't creating as many chances, they did fashion the half's only goal.

A cross from Georgiou skipped off the turf and a defender which forced Roco Rees to dive to his left and push it onto the post.

The rebound fell for Iaciofano who, as he so often is, was perfectly placed to roll home his eighth of the season.

From then on Saints had a bit better of the play.

Bobson Bawling fired not that far away as he cut in from the left and both Georgiou and Tom Bender fired wide.

The left-back was replaced by Oli Sprague at the break, taking his place by the dugouts without any obvious injury problem visible.

His departure allowed him to have a better view of an incredible five minutes of play.

It all started in the 54th minute with Worthing drawing level.

Taylor Miles had done really well to divert a through ball away from danger but his clearance immediately after only went to Oliver Pearce.

And his cross was ideally placed for Joel Colbran to head home at the far post.

That galvanised Worthing and Snedker made the first of his vital stop, kicking away a Dawes effort from the edge of the area, the Worthing man given far too much time and space.

What followed next was simply miraculous from the keeper.

He palmed a shot up and onto the bar, then clawed one away and blocked another at his near post.

There may have even been a fourth stop but somehow the visitors failed to score.

They were to regret it instantly as a thunderous first-time shot by Georgiou from the edge of the box flew in on 59 minutes to put Saints ahead once more.

The home side enjoyed a decent spell after that even if Ian Allinson wasn't happy with how stretched the game was becoming.

Snedker needed to make another stop from Jalen Jones while at the other end Bawling fired one low that Rees needed to scramble to stop.

An unnecessary altercation saw both Tennant and Longe-King getting booking, both players racing in to complain after a foul by Bawling.

The City centre-half in particular didn't need to do it as the referee had already stopped the Worthing man before he could get involved.

Tennant and the referee were chatting again three minutes later and whatever was said by the Worthing man was enough to earn a second yellow and an early tip to the dressing rooms.

To their credit Worthing continued to press for an equaliser, although they were helped by some poor decisions from Saints and too many fouls conceded.

The final seconds of stoppage time was ample proof of that and sent the Worthing fans into rapturous celebrations.

They will hope for more of the same on Tuesday.

St Albans City: Snedker, Howe, Bender (Sprague 46), Shulton, Longe-King, Kaloczi, Bawling, Miles, Iaciofano (Adu 86), Nwabuokei, Georgiou (Banton 75).

Subs (not used): Merson, Foxley, Sprague, Noble, Diedhiou.

Goals: Iaciofano 29, Georgiou 59

Booked: Longe-King 73, Sprague 82

Worthing: Rees, Colbran, Jones, Barker, Armstrong, Tennant, Dawes (Doughty 69), Aguiar, Pearce (Ayoola 84), Meekums, Starkey.

Subs (not used): Edwards, Mendoza, Pattenden, Long, Stevens.

Goals: Colbran 54, Meekums 90+6

Booked: Tennant 73, 77

Sent-off: Tennant 77

HT: St Albans City 1 Worthing 0

Attendance: 473

Referee: Greg Rollason (Wolverhampton)