Lucien shines as Wealdstone dump Saints out of FA Trophy

Steve Wales was sent off in the second half against Wealdstone. Picture: Bob Walkley

Steve Wales was sent off in the second half against Wealdstone. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

Shaun Lucien scored a superb free-kick and posed a threat that St Albans City found too much to handle as he guided Wealdstone to the first round proper of the FA Trophy.

On a freezing cold night at Grosvenor Vale, the fans were looking for something to cheer about. Lucien provided that. The right-winger was everything the Saints were not: he was creative, he ran at defenders, his first touch was perfect and his free-kick deserved to grace the grandest of stages.

Ben Martin, who had a header cleared off the line in the second minute, was forced into a foul on the edge of the box and Lucien made him pay. He curled the ball right into the top corner. City goalkeeper Joe Welch scrambled across his goal but there was nothing he could do.

And he wasn’t at fault for the second either as James Hammond whipped in a cross from the right and Dan Brown guided the ball into the top left corner of the net with his head. Two-nil and Wealdstone were in control.

It could have been more but Wright missed badly when he beat the offside trap and ran through on goal only to blast his shot high and wide. And at the other end, Elliot Bailey directed Steve Wales’ powerful cross over the bar when he perhaps should have done better.

The Saints were, seemingly, still in the game, though, as, in the second half, they had the bracing wind at their backs and the slope in their favour. But still they did little to worry Jonathan North, Wealdstone’s goalkeeper, even with a front three of Bailey, John Frendo and Joel Nouble, who replaced Charlie Gorman at half-time after a poor performance.

City’s night was summed up in two moments that all but ended the contest. Wales and Frendo were in a two-on-one situation but instead of either pulling the trigger, they tried to be too cute with it and the chance went begging. Less than 10 minutes later, Wales was given his marching orders for kicking out at a Stones player.

Most Read

Gordon Bartlett’s side were on top when the sides had the same number of players and even more so with one more as Scott McGleish, the man who earned the Stones a replay with late equaliser on Saturday, capped off a fantastic counter-attack with a simple finish.

St Albans knew they were out of the tie and threw on U21 players Alex Yearwood and Jack Green. Experience with the first-team it may have been, but, along with Bailey, they were destined to fail in a side that is struggling to present Frendo with chances, let alone two players under 20.

After the game, James Gray, St Albans’ joint manager, was left to question the desire of his players. Bartlett had no such worries and he can now look forward to a home tie against Hayes and Yeading in the first round proper.