Stalemate for lacklustre Saints
PUBLISHED: 11:36 24 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010
St Albans City 0 Dartford 0 FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round James Ronayne at Clarence Park. St Albans and Dartford must battle it out again after a dull 0-0 draw at Clarence Park on Saturday. Saints, who are unbeaten in eight league games, were unable
St Albans City 0
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
James Ronayne at Clarence Park.
St Albans and Dartford must battle it out again after a dull 0-0 draw at Clarence Park on Saturday.
Saints, who are unbeaten in eight league games, were unable to break down their Ryman Premier Division opponents in a game that never sparked into life.
Saints had the early pressure with the returning Hassan Sulaiman whipping in some dangerous crosses early on. It was a Sulaiman cross that lead to the first opportunity of the game after five minutes but Gary Cohen's close range header went over the bar.
Dartford had not come to Clarence Park to hold out for a draw and created several chances of their own. Former Saint Rob Haworth flashed a dangerous ball across the face of the goal and Paul Bastock had to be alert to tip Lee Noble's dipping 35-yard volley over the bar.
The Darts launched a counter-attack following a City corner, with Ryan Frater producing a last ditch-tackle as Cody McDonald approached the City box. The danger wasn't over there though as Jamie Day's left-foot shot flew narrowly past Bastock's post.
The best chance of the game came in the 34th minute when Sulaiman's shot was cleared off the line by Jamie Coyle after Cohen had beaten goalkeeper Young to Scott Cousins' cross.
A right-wing free kick from Day found McDonald at the far post but his tame header was saved by Bastock as neither side could find a breakthrough. Cousins found himself in referee Neil Hair's notebook after coming together with Noble, the Dartford man also having his name taken.
After a lacklustre first half, most fans would have been thinking that things could only get better but how wrong they were.
Sam Hurrell crossed for Cohen but the striker's left-foot effort bobbled harmlessly wide of the Dartford goal.
Chances were at a premium with both defences on top. Captain Ben Martin was again in top form for City, dominating in the air and clearing up on the deck.
Day sent a free kick into the Saints area which Cousins could only clear to Noble on the edge of the area but the Dartford man volleyed wide of the City goal.
With a replay looming, Saints stepped up a gear, creating more clear-cut opportunities than they'd managed in the previous 80 minutes. First Paul Hakim beat his man to the line and cut back for James Quilter but his effort was deflected over the bar by the impressive Coyle.
Substitute Bradley Gray cut in from the left-hand side and shot but his weak effort was easily claimed by Young. Thurlbourne's 25 yard strike flew high and wide and seemed to sum up a frustrating day at the office for Steve Castle's men.
St Albans City (4-4-2): Bastock, Fisher, Frater, B.Martin, Cousins, Sulaiman (Hunt 59), Quilter, Thurlbourne, Hurrell (Gray 72), Hakim, Cohen (S.Martin 79). Unused Subs: Austin Byfield, Everitt.
Dartford (4-3-1-2): Young, Osbourne, Flanagan, Coyle, Gross, White, Dafter, Day, Noble (Butterworth 75), Haworth, McDonald (Cass 79). Unused Subs: Hayes, Eferakero, Ibrahim.
Ref: Neil Hair (Peterborough)