Herts Charity Cup disappointment for much-changed St Albans City
- Credit: Archant
A much-changed St Albans City side just missed out on silverware in the Herts Charity Cup after a 1-0 defeat to Bishop’s Stortford at Cheshunt’s Theobalds Lane.
Elliott Buchanan got the only goal just past the midway point of the first half, tapping home at the far post after Robbie Willmott’s low cross went across the six yard box and beyond Joe Welch.
Saints improved in the second half and finished with a number of goalmouth scrambles in the final minutes but they couldn’t engineer an equaliser.
The final could have been seen as a distraction by some with Saints’ must-win Vanarama National League South game against Dartford just four days away and talk prior to kick-off was dominated about who Ian Allinson would pick.
In the end there were eight changes with only Welch, named as City captain, Scott Thomas and Harry Anderson, a late change for Michael Thalassitis, the ones remaining from the starting line-up at Wealdstone.
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In came the likes of Al Bangura, Andrew Iwediuno, for his debut, and coach Lee Allinson, also starting for the first time.
The changes clearly affected Saints who, despite plenty of endeavour early on, struggled to create a clear-cut chance.
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Billy Gibson had their only shot on target in the first 45 minutes, curling a free-kick over the wall but straight at Tom Lovelock in the Stortford goal.
Both Greens, Jack and Danny, buzzed around but without a recognised striker, any attacking moves were soon thwarted.
Stortford had looked the more likely to score with Frankie Merrifield having their best chance, heading wide from eight yards when unmarked.
Even after Buchannan’s goal Stortford look the more dangerous with a couple of shots from the edge of the area flying over the top.
Lee Chappell came on at half-time for Anderson and that seemed to steady things slightly.
Chances were still at a premium though and Darren Locke and Gibson were both off-target with two of their better attempts.
The game changed though with a double substitution on 73 minutes.
On came defenders Eddie Oshodi and James Kaloczi and both were pressed into service as emergency centre-forwards.
The move made a huge difference with the pair’s strength and physical presence causing major panic in the Stortford defence.
Twice they had to scramble the ball away from goal in sheer desperation as Saints pressed for an equaliser to take the game into extra-time.
Their best chance fell to Oshodi and found the ball dropped at his feet by Lovelock.
However, with plenty of bodies between him and the goal, he was unable to hit the target and with it went City’s hopes of silverware.
City: Welch, Thomas (Oshodi 73), Bender, Allinson, Locke, Iwediuno, D.Green, Bangura, Anderson (Chappell 46), J.Green (Kaloczi 73), Gibson
Subs (not used): Corcoran, Theophanous
Stortford: Lovelock, Vanderhyde, Lawrence, Adullahi, Lee, Allen (Fortnam-Tomlinson 46), Moore, Church, Buchanan, Willmott, Merrifield (Suarez 78)
Subs (not used): Humphrey, Ekim, Miller
Goals: Buchanan 27