Gray lauds ‘professional’ Saints

James Gray and Graham Golds were happy with a point at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday. Picture: Bob Wal

James Gray and Graham Golds were happy with a point at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

‘Professional’ was the word joint manager James Gray used to describe St Albans City’s performance in their goalless draw with Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.

In a game between first and third in the league, many would have been disappointed with the lack of goals but a point keeps City in third place and extends their run of games without a defeat to six.

“It’s a great point,” admitted Gray.

“We had to show them the respect they deserve because of the amount of goals they have scored so the way the lads stuck at the task and took instructions was great – it keeps us in the hunt for the play-offs.”

He added: “It was a professional job today. Everything worked for us; we told Ben [Martin] to defend the slope in the first half and then try to get involved going down the slope in the second.

“I think we weathered what they had to do and the it was a more even second half. They had chances but they’ve scored 150 odd goals this season, that’s why we had to respect them.

“You can’t go toe to toe with them and get the points; we came here with a gameplan and it’s worked. We’re happy, we’re in a good position and confidence is high. It’s all good in the camp.”

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The defenders ruled the roost at Vauxhall Road with City’s Ben Martin and Darren Locke and the Tudors’ Moussa Diarra putting in superb displays to ensure their sides won a point.

“The defences were on top,” conceded Gray.

“It was never going to be open and expansive because they were worried about us – they didn’t throw kitchen sink at us.

“To come to Hemel and take a point; not many take anything away. We stay in third and happy with a point.”

The only sour point for Saints was the sending off of Martin, his second yellow card for dissent, in the final minute of the game.

Understandably, Gray was frustrated with the decision.

“I don’t know what the ref is doing; he’s getting involved with things he doesn’t have to,” he said.

“It’s the 94th minute, alright he’s shouted something but doesn’t have to get his card out. We’ll miss him but [Darren] Locke was outstanding and [Tom] Ward will be back after missing today with an illness.

“It’s a good opportunity for him to have a week off, too. We’ll take the positive out of it: Benny and Lockey were monstrous today and there wasn’t a goal threat from Hemel because they were superb.”