St Albans City’s improved performance against Leyton Orient pleases manager Ian Allinson

Percy Kiangebeni of St Albans plays a long pass in the pre-season friendly match between St Albans C

Percy Kiangebeni of St Albans plays a long pass in the pre-season friendly match between St Albans City and Northampton Town. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

It’s starting to come together nicely for St Albans City according to manager Ian Allinson after the latest round of pre-season games.

Saints were beaten 6-3 by Sky Bet League One side Luton Town on Saturday before holding Vanarama National League Leyton Orient to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night.

The game against Orient in particular saw a marked improvement in both performance and fitness and the Clarence Park boss was delighted with the way things went.

He said: “It was really good. We got a bit tired late on and being full-time they were a bit fitter and with a lot of ex-professionals they kept the ball better than us.

“But I’m really pleased. I thought we defended well and we posed problems as well.

“I gave most of them 70 minutes and I was pleased with the minutes I got from them.

“We’ll look to do the same on Thursday in terms of certain players getting the additional minutes but it’s coming along nicely.”

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Orient did pin City back late on but the new back-three formation continues to look the way forward, with one of the trio earning praise form the gaffer.

Allinson said: “It was hard for Percy [Kiangebeni] but in the end I thought he got his teeth into it and he was disappointed to be taken off in the second half.

“I thought he was outstanding in the second half even though it took him 15 minutes or so to get into the game.

“By the end though he understood the guy was going to pull his shirt and bring him in and he realised not to get too tight and not let to him spin him and Percy was outstanding.

“But I was really pleased with us. We’ve had to defend some big corners and I thought James Russell in goal gave us a bit more confidence.”

Part of City’s new formation, which involves wing-backs, is a two-pronged strike-force.

Sam Merson and David Moyo got the nod in the first half against the O’s and the pair showed signs of a developing understanding.

And Allinson is convinced that the pair, along with Ralston Gabriel, could be crucial, providing they are given the opportunity.

He said: “The three of them will be a handful for any team, as long as we get the service to them.

“We refuse at times to play to their strength and it gets a little bit frustrating from my side and I’m sure from their side as well because we do tend to play the ball sideways.

“And we were undone again by a cross-field pass that has been cut out and they’ve scored from it.

“It’s stupid. We speak about it at length about where we want to play, where we want to put the ball but we still tend to over play in certain areas at certain times.”