FA Trophy: Replay needed as St Albans City are held at Weymouth

Solomon Sambou drew St Albans City level early in the second half at Weymouth. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Solomon Sambou drew St Albans City level early in the second half at Weymouth. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

St Albans City produced a fantastic response to a miserable first-half but they could only leave the Wessex Stadium in Weymouth with a 1-1 draw in the FA Trophy.

City’s latest long-distance away trip was arguably as daunting as any of their recent ones in the Vanarama National League South.

Weymouth are leading the Southern League Premier Division South pack as they battle to reach the same tier as Saints.

And for 45 minutes it looked like being another St Albans horror show against opponents from further down the pyramid.

It seems as they often need to up their game in the second period this season but for once the small travelling army of fans had their prayers heard.

Solomon Sambou equalised and they could and perhaps should have got a second as they piled forward.

As it is though it’s back to Clarence Park on Tuesday for the replay.

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This game started as if it would provide enough grumbles for supporters to easily fill the three-hour journey back to Hertfordshire.

Saints had managed one shot on target through the whole of their last encounter at Gloucester City which came in the opening 30 seconds.

They had to wait a lot longer this time round although as it turned out it was worth the wait.

Saints looked bereft of ideas when they crossed the halfway line with David Moyo looking a lonely figure up front on his own.

When they did pass forward though, more often than not the ball was harmless and away from a purple shirt.

Their best chance saw Moyo’s turn and shot blocked while a chance for Sambou when he broke clear of the defence ended with him turning back and passing to Wyatt behind him.

His return to Sambou rolled apologetically out of play.

Weymouth, however, were a constant menace when they went forward even if their final ball was also just lacking.

Some of that was down to David Diedhiou who threw himself into challenges three times in the opening 20 minutes to block shots.

He couldn’t keep doing it and when the ball arrived at the feet of Jake McCarthy just outside the box, his shot was low and through Dean Snedker.

There could have been more but the Terras just couldn’t seem to find the killer blow even if City looked rattled.

Sambou’s equaliser two minutes after the break, their first shot on target was therefore both a huge surprise and a blessed relief.

A cross from Ben Herd saw Moyo challenge a defender with the ball dropping to the feet of Sambou who bent it round Lloyd Thomas in the home goal.

It heralded a turnaround of fortune where Saints pummelled their south coast hosts.

Lewis Knight forced the keeper into an unconvincing save before Wyatt was twice denied by some last-ditch defending.

Khale Da Costa then had a diving header turned round the post by the feet of Thomas.

It was the kind of pressure you expected form a side like St Albans playing lower-league opposition.

It was also the kind of pressure that needed a second goal to cement their dominance.

In the end neither side could find a winner although both tried as the minutes ticked down under a blanket of rain.

St Albans City: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Noble, Knight, Diedhiou, Da Costa (Z.Banton 90+1), Sambou, Kiangebeni, Moyo (Gabriel 88), Wyatt.

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

Goals: Sambou 47

Booked: Diedhiou 23

Weymouth: Thomas, Ngalo, Buckley, Zubar, Sherring, Carmichael, Wakefield (Glover 74), McCarthy, Thomson, Goodship, Baggie (Baker 88)

Subs (not used): Martin, Sa, Wells.

Goal: McCarthy 20

Booked: Buckley 90+1

HT: Weymouth 1 St Albans City 0

Attendance: 518

Referee: David Spain (Hastings)