Gray praises “superb” nine-man City

Tom Ward, his defence team-mates Ben Martin, Lee Chappell and Kerrea Gilbert and goalkeeper Paul Bas

Tom Ward, his defence team-mates Ben Martin, Lee Chappell and Kerrea Gilbert and goalkeeper Paul Bastock were in outstanding form against Bideford. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

A titanic defensive effort from nine-man St Albans City ensured they won a point against Bideford at Clarence Park on Monday night.

John Frendo’s 19th minute penalty cancelled out Sean Downing’s opening goal before he became the second Saints’ player to be sent off, following James Comley to the dressing room.

Facing 50 minutes with nine men, City put in a “superb” defensive display to keep Bideford out.

Chris Henry was introduced late on and came close to scoring the winner but the game ended one-all; not before Bideford’s Nick Milton received his marching orders for a last-man foul on Henry.

After the game, joint manager James Gray praised the work-rate of his entire team.

“This team has got a togetherness and resilience that we don’t want to get beaten.

“It’s been coming over the past couple of months; it took us a while to get the squad together as we brought in a lot of new faces, but we’ve gelled, had great results and we’re right into the play-off picture.

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“It’s another step for us and tonight has brought us even closer together.”

He added: “We said at half-time the lads would have to defend the edge of the box and don’t let them have shots at [Paul Bastock].

“They put a shift in and I’m so proud; they were superb.”

Gray’s praise was not just targetted at the players; he also gave credit to his management team for getting their tactics “spot on”.

“We had to think about how we could salvage a point. We went down to 10 men at Tonbridge [Angels] and got the result but nine men is diffucult because you can’t play many formations - you have to think on your feet.

“I think we got it spot on tonight and the players did everything we asked to the letter.”

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