Late goal denies St Albans City after battling performance at Maidstone United

Graeme Montgomery looked lively

Graeme Montgomery looked lively - Credit: Archant

A goal 15 minutes from time broke brave St Albans resistance in their Vanarama National League South game away at Maidstone.

Home favourite Alex Flisher, who had only arrived as a substitute four minutes earlier, pounced on a loose ball before drilling it across Joe Welch and into the far corner.

It was harsh on City who had looked like they would get at least a point after a battling performance.

Saints knew they were in for a tough game. Maidstone were fifth at the start of the day and had won their last five in the league, six undefeated in total.

But neither team really looked like doing enough to grab all three points until Flisher’s intervention.

It was the hosts who started the brighter with plenty of possession but only had a Manny Parry header, which went went inches wide, to show for it.

And as the half went on Saints came back into it.

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Luke Allen pinched the ball off Parry before finding Louie Theophanous. His shot however was kicked behind at his near post by Stones keeper, Lee Worgan.

Welch had to use his feet to deny Maidstone later on.

The Saints stopper spilled a Callum Driver shot but recovered to brilliantly kick away the follow-up.

The big crowd of 2,103 had started the game very loud.

But the more the half went on, the more frustrated they got, and especially with referee Carl Fitch.

One shout of “open your eyes ref” though was instantly responded to by the man-in-the-middle by booking Maidstone’s big striker, Jay May, for a push.

He followed Ghassimu Sow into the book.

The second half saw another slow start before Saints had a purple patch midway just after the hour.

First Graeme Montgomery hit a dipping volley straight at Worgan before Billy Gibson turned right instead of left and also hit his shot straight at the keeper.

Allen was the third to test the Maidstone custodian but again it was straight down his throat.

Flisher’s introduction was greeted with huge cheers and that noise was doubled when he scored.

The striker, who was looked at by league scouts last year, has just come back from injury.

It wasn’t the last action of the game as a goalmouth scramble followed a Harry Crawford lob which came back off the bar.

Sadly it was not to be and Saints return home to focus on next week’s FA Cup tie against Weston-super-Mare.