JJ scores as high-flying Dover held
JONATHAN O Donnell scored for the second time in as many games as ten man St Albans City earned a draw with second-placed Dover. O Donnell s strike on the half hour put City ahead but Dover equalised just four minutes later as Shaun Welford headed home Ni
JONATHAN O'Donnell scored for the second time in as many games as ten man St Albans City earned a draw with second-placed Dover.
O'Donnell's strike on the half hour put City ahead but Dover equalised just four minutes later as Shaun Welford headed home Nicky Southall's free kick.
The second half was particularly costly for the Saints who lost O'Donnell with an ankle injury and had Mark Peters shown a straight red card for a foul on Welford.
The Saints were without skipper Ryan Frater and Drew Roberts who were both suspended with Adam Everitt replacing Frater at centre half and as skipper and debutant Angus McLachlan coming in for Roberts.
City stopper Paul Bastock, in his 200th game for the club, was the first of the two goalkeepers to be called into action saving bravely at the feet of Adam Birchall.
The former Arsenal and Barnet man was the main threat to the Saints defence and minutes later curled a shot from distance over the bar.
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Peter Smith's pace down the left flank meant the Saints were always a threat on the break.
Birchall again looked like getting a shot away but was denied by Peters who got in a great saving tackle.
Despite having to deal with this Dover pressure it was Steve Castle's side who took the lead.
Welford was penalised for a foul out on the right touchline with O'Donnell taking the resulting free kick.
The youngster whipped the ball in which evaded both James Fisher and Adam Everitt but nestled inside John Whitehouse's far post.
Unfortunately for the Saints they were only able to hold onto their lead for a matter of minutes.
Dover were awarded a free kick out wide and from Nicky Southall's delivery Welford glanced the ball past Bastock.
Another Southall set piece just minutes later threatened to produce another goal but Olly Schulz's effort went wide as both sides went into the interval level.
After the break Gary Cohen was gifted an opportunity when Sammy Moore slipped but the former Grimsby man was denied by Danny Walder.
The Saints' attacking threat was weakened when O'Donnell was forced off in the 51st minute, with Danny Johnson taking the goalscorer's place.
The hosts felt they should've had a penalty when Welford went down in the box under a challenge from Smith but referee Paul Harris waved away the Whites' protests.
A long throw from Welford was flicked on by Schulz for Dean Hill but the defender's effort lacked power and was easily held by Bastock.
There was still time for Peters to be shown a straight red card for clattering Dover goalscorer Welford but despite their numerical disadvantage the Saints held on for a point which takes them into the Christmas period in 11th place.
It was another good showing from the Saints with Godfrey Poku and Peter Smith in particular adding to their burgeoning reputations.