FA Cup: Halloween comes early as horror show at Taunton Town sends St Albans City out

St Albans City crashed out of the FA Cup with a heavy defeat at Taunton Town.

St Albans City crashed out of the FA Cup with a heavy defeat at Taunton Town. - Credit: Archant

A first-half horror show was the catalyst to send a shocking St Albans City out of the FA Cup with a 5-2 defeat at Taunton Town.

The long journey to get to the Viridor Stadium can’t be used as an excuse either. This was quite simply as bad a performance from the Saints as has been seen in many a season.

Back was the City defence from earlier in the season that looked shambolic when defending crosses, the method of delivery for all three of the Peacocks’ first-half goals.

Back was the disjointed side who struggled to put a series of passes together.

And back was the side who went long to the strikers, even though there was a yawning chasm of a gap between them and the midfield.

Their only saving grace, and it’s only the smallest, flimsiest of straws, is the fact Taunton were superb.

The Southern League outfit were quicker to the ball, hungrier to get forward and better in the air.

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Andrew Neal had already gone close with a clipped shot from the left wing which bent inches wide of the far post before Matt Buse opened the floodgates.

City had already had warning of the Peacocks prowess in the air but they still left players unmarked at a corner which was duly headed back across goal and swept in by the centre-half.

Five minutes later they had a second with a fine breakaway.

Neal produced a great tackle to win the ball back just inside his own half and he set Town away.

It was passed out to Dan Sullivan on the left and his low cross was turned in superbly by Ryan Brett.

The third saw another man unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box and Ollie Chamberlain didn’t need a second invitation after the ball was fed back to him.

And if the frustrated and annoyed Saints fans hoped for far better in the second half, what they got was a fourth Taunton goal which summed up the match perfectly.

A cross from the right was barely cleared by City, only reaching the edge of the area.

And when it was returned by Chamberlain it took a deflection before slipping through Dean Snedker’s fingers.

Yet somehow St Albans managed to conjure up late resistance that resulted in two goals.

A double substitution helped although by the time Solomon Sambou and Khale Da Costa got on, Ralston Gabriel had already curled one wide of Lloyd Irish and into the Taunton net.

Tom Bender then rifled in a low drive after a corner had come all the way through and found him on the edge of the box.

But you never once felt City could pull off the greatest of great escapes and indeed Taunton had two good chances to put the game to bed once and for all before they finally did.

Neal curled one wide when he was free on the left and then substitute Craig Veal had the best of them but after pouncing on a Bender slip, he slipped it wide of the post with Snedker beaten.

It didn’t matter as Buse fired in his second with a thunderous shot in the first minute of stoppage time.

It was a long journey just to get beyond the second qualifying round and as long a journey to get across the country.

It will give players and management plenty of time to reflect on their performance when they head back to Hertfordshire.

St Albans City: Snedker, Herd (Da Costa 61), Bender, Noble (Merson 71), Knight, Diedhiou, Wyatt, Kiangebeni, Gabriel, Moyo, Kamdjo (Sambou 61).

Subs (not used): Gardiner-Smith, Banton.

Goals: Gabriel 61, Bender 76

Booked: Diedhiou 21, Bender 82, Sambou 90

Taunton Town: Irish, Mitchell, White, Adelsbury, Nelmes, Buse, Chamberlain, Brett, Trowbridge, Sullivan (Veal 67), Neal (Emmerson 79).

Subs (not used): Camilo, Villis, Davies.

Goals: Buse 21 90+1, Brett 26, Chamberlain 39, 53

Booked: Sullivan 57

HT: Taunton Town 3 St Albans City 0

Attendance: 595

Referee: Daniel Lamport (Swindon)