FA Cup thriller ends goalless
Goalkeepers shine in exciting cup tie
FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
St Albans City 0
ST ALBANS City and Kingstonian will do battle once more tonight (Monday) after an absorbing goalless draw at Clarence Park on Saturday.
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Both sides had chances to win an open game that saw both goalkeepers produce fine saves to keep their side in it.
Things did not get off to the best of starts when new signing Moses Odubajo was late arriving to the ground forcing City to alter the team sheet and promote Sean Shields to the starting XI.
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Spurred on by a large and vociferous travelling support, Kingstonian drove straight at City from kick off forcing a corner within 60 seconds.
City survived that early attack and then went on to forge several decent openings of their own.
Jean-Michel Sigere picked the ball up on the left wing and did really well to beat his man tight to the touchline. The striker then slipped the ball to James Fisher but the midfielder fired over the top from 20 yards.
Many inside Clarence Park thought Adam Martin had opened the scoring on eight minutes but Ks’ goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey produced an excellent save to keep him out.
Dave Deeney’s long corner reached an unmarked Fisher at the far post and he lobbed the ball back into the six yard box for Martin to smash goalwards. The volley looked to be heading into the corner of the net only for Tolfrey to spring to his left and push it out.
The game was played at a good tempo and chances continued to come at both ends.
Tom Bird had an effort from distance that was straight at Bastock and the ‘keeper was called into action again soon afterwards to deny the impressive Matt Gray.
Dean Lodge backheeled the ball into Gray’s path and the midfielder burst into the box and shot from a tight angle which Bastock had to turn over the bar.
Another Deeney corner nearly led to a goal for City but Jean Sylvain Dossou was relieved to see the ball prevented from entering his own net by a teammate on the goal line.
Shields went close for City, switching the ball onto his right foot and hitting a swerving effort that Tolfrey did well to palm out with the rebound falling desperately out of the reach of Fisher.
Prior to Saturday’s game Bobby Traynor had seven goals from 11 appearances and the striker really should have added to that tally at the Park.
The striker turned Ryan Frater and left him for dead but snatched at his effort and it flew wide of the goal and then the striker beat the offside trap but with all the time in the world somehow managed to make a hash of the situation and let City off the hook.
Half time did nothing to disrupt the flow of the game with both sides continuing to spurn chances.
A good run by Deeney saw him carve through the opposition midfield before teeing up Pelayo Gomez but the Spaniard’s shot was weak and straight at Tolfrey.
Kingstonian did manage to beat Bastock in the 57th minute but Hamlin’s effort crashed off the outside of the post after a lovely crossfield pass from former City defender Tobi Jinadu.
Gray was proving an influential figure for Kingstonian in the centre of the park and he did well to provide Bird with a shooting opportunity but the left wing-back dragged his shot across the face of the goal and wide.
Odubajo finally made his City bow in the 62nd minute and the on loan Leyton Orient man made an immediate impact with his direct running.
With 68 minutes gone the home side were again let off the hook by Traynor. Hall nicked the ball past Frater just outside the City box and with Tryanor in support and just Pete Smith in attendance the midfielder slipped the ball to his colleague but his wayward effort landed on the York Road terrace.
Bastock then produced the save of the game. Bird’s corner picked out Jinadu six yards out and the big defender nodded it goalwards and was almost setting off to celebrate when Bastock acrobatically knocked the ball away off the goal line.
City immediately cleared the ball upfield to substitute Inih Effiong who outmuscled Max Hustwick but couldn’t get the ball down to get away a clean shot.
In the final 15 minutes the visitors appeared to tire and City took advantage of this forging several sights of goal.
Deeney dinked the ball into the box which Fisher did well to win but the midfielder was off balance and shot wide.
Then Ross Dedman, another City substitute, charged down the left wing and got in a good low cross but Effiong’s first time shot was excellently saved by Tolfrey.
The last real chance of a winner fell to Dedman from the resulting corner but the substitute’s deflected effort went wide of the goal to set up tonight’s re-match at Kingsmeadow.
City: Bastock; Sulaiman, Peters, Frater, Smith; Fisher, A Martin (Dedman 76), Deeney, Shields (Odubajo 62); Sigere (Effiong 69), Gomez.
Subs: Roberts, R Martin, Kweme, Macey.
Kingstonian: Tolfrey; Hamlin, Hustwick, Thompson (c), Jinadu, Bird; Gray, Dossou, Hall; Lodge, Traynor.
Subs: Wilson-Denis, Robinson, Alimi, Clayton, Taylor, McDonald, Duffy.
Referee: Neil Hair (Peterborough)