Injury-time winner dumps City out of FA Trophy
Aaron Pierre broke St Alban City hearts with a 94th minute winner at Clarence Park in the second round of the FA Trophy in a game that ended in controversy.
Frendo cancelled out Nathan Arnold’s first-half goal from the spot but substitute Pierre turned in an injury-time goal, which was in between red cards for Saints’ Ben Martin and Chris Henry to see the Conference Premier leaders in to the third round.
Frendo was missing his strike partner Mark Nwokeji for the first half after he injured his hamstring in the warm-up but City’s top scorer still had the first chance of the game. Michael Spillane’s back pass was too short and Frendo intercepted but he pulled his shot wide in the second minute.
It was a tough first half for Frendo who was isolated up front by himself. He showed his strength and skill to pull the ball out of the air but the help was often late in arriving and Cambridge won the ball back.
The visitors were also forced to make an early change: Luke Berry replacing Liam Hughes after he picked up a knock in the 12th minute.
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Berry slipped seamlessly into the side and it wasn’t long before Cambridge were threatening. Nathan Arnold should have scored when Spillane teed him up on the edge of the box but his shot was wide.
He wasn’t going to be denied at the second time of asking, though, as he steered the ball past Paul Bastock after Tom Ward’s attempted clearance was chased down.
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Cambridge continued to press and should have extended the lead but Bastock was in inspired form to first deny Berry and then a Josh Gillies’ free-kick.
City had chances to level the game, David Keenleyside having the best chance but directing his shot wide in injury-time, but it was Cambridge who ended the first-half in the ascendency.
Cambridge’s momentum counted for nothing at the start of the second period as City clawed their way back into the game. Comley and Keenleyside both came close before Frendo levelled the game from the penalty spot after the referee saw some shirt pulling during a corner on the hour mark.
The teams cancelled each other out for the next 15 minutes before Bastock, just as he did for the first 45 minutes, rescued his team. A cross into the box was steered goalward by Sam Yorke’s deflection but Bastock managed to shift his weight and fall on the ball.
In the last 10 minutes City gave away dangerous free-kicks in and around the area but they managed to see out normal time but the tie turned on its head in injury time as Martin was shown a second yellow card. Cambridge won a corner which City initially cleared by Pierre smashed the ball into the bottom corner to send the away fans into rapture.
With very little time, City pushed for a last-gasp equaliser but the were scuppered by Henry’s sending off, which turned out to be the last action of the game, and it ended 2-1.