Herts Senior Cup second round
St Albans City
Zane Banton 49, George Morrell 60, Sam Meakes 76
Saints kids in line for opportunities after shining in victory over Hertford
- Credit: NIGEL FRENCH/PA
Ian Allinson believes the St Albans City kids could help guide the club through a tricky period of fixtures after watching them dispose of Hertford Town in the Herts Senior Cup.
Second-half goals from Zane Banton, George Morrell and Sam Meakes gave them a 3-0 and set up a quarter-final meeting at home to Hitchin Town.
And with three more games still to go this month, as well as at least another seven in January, the Saints squad could well be stretched to the limit.
He said: "I’ve watched them a few times now and they are finding ways to win games.
"We’ve used some of them on the bench in the first team but some of them have done themselves no harm whatsoever.
"If we have to call on them in the next five months, then I am under no illusion that we can use them.
"We’re going into a really busy period and we have to make sure we get the squad fully fit.
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"Sam got his goal but his overall performance was good and he’s getting stronger, he’s getting bigger.
"He’s a good size now but we’re going to need him.
"We only need one injury to Shaun and we’ll be light in the forward area so he will get his opportunity.
"But he’ll still need to be patient because they have a lot to learn going forward."
The youngsters usually play for the club's reserve side in the Herts Senior County League Premier Division, their latest game a 5-2 win over Colney Heath Res on Saturday that lifted them one point behind their neighbours and into third.
The worry is the leap from step seven to first-team level at step two will be too severe but Allinson revealed they have turned down approaches to continue their development at Clarence Park
He said: "We’ve had a few step four clubs want to take a few of them on loan but we don’t want to put them too early.
"They have got to get the experience but we want them to get the experience with us so it is important we keep them around us and training with us and playing with us.
"Sam had a small experience at Hitchin but he didn’t get enough minutes so we felt it was best for him to come back and play for us.
"They have a two-week shutdown in the county league so it will be good to get a few of them in training with us because we will need them over the January period."
Tuesday night's game at Hertingfordbury Park took a while to get going before Banton fired them ahead four minutes into the second period.
Allinson said: "It took us a while to get used to the playing surface because the ball was shooting off it.
"As you’re used to passing in front of the person to run on to, some of our passing was actually going out for throws to them.
"But you have to take your hat off to them for the way [Hertford] try to play out from the back.
"That caused us a few problems early on but once we got to grips with it at half-time and gave everyone some details of what was expected of them, the second half was quite comfortable.
"We dictated the pace of the game and we got three very good goals."
St Albans City: M.Johnson (L.Gauthier 61), K.Gauthier, Lankshear, Austin, Diedhiou, Bender (Di Trolio 79), Akinola (Goddard 61), Dawson, Meakes, Morrell, Banton.
Subs (not used): L.Johnson, Mukena.
Goals: Banton 49, Morrell 60, Meakes 76
Hertford Town: Mewitt, Bolden (Njorge 70), Hudson, Payne, Herd, Bunyan, Weyman, Makuendi (James-Thompson 75), Samber-Richards, Gymer (Brown 25), Ogbonna.
Subs (not used): Flemmings, Adrien.
HT: Hertford Town 0 St Albans City 0
Referee: Lee Grimsey (Stevenage)