Merson on the spot again as St Albans City grind out an Arsenal-style 1-0 win over Dulwich

Sam Merson scores from the penalty spot. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Sam Merson scores from the penalty spot. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

Sam Merson was the penalty hero for the second week running as St Albans City came out on top with a 1-0 home win over Dulwich Hamlet in an uninspiring clash.

Merson’s spot-kick at Welling United last week had earned his side a point in their National League South play-off chase.

This week it brought all three as Saints listened to manager Ian Allinson and got a 1-0 win reminiscent of George Graham’s Arsenal side of the 90s.

City enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and were denied an opener by the woodwork after Tom Bender’s header from a Zane Banton corner crashed off the foot of the upright.

The only goal of the game came in the 18th minute after Luke Wanadio was adjudged to have upended Banton in the box.

Merson stepped up and sent Preston Edwards the wrong way.

Wanadio was presented with an opportunity to make amends just three minutes later when he latched onto a through ball but he put his effort wide of Dean Snedker’s post.

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The Saints’ stopper was the busier of the two goalkeepers and made an impressive save from Nathan Green’s vicarious effort, tipping the wide-man’s attempt onto the post with the slightest of fingertip touches.

He was called upon to keep Dulwich Hamlet out again, getting down low to his right to keep out former City man Dipo Akinyemi before Ben Wyatt made a last-ditch slide tackle to deny Clunis who looked poised to turn home the follow-up.

The second 45 saw both sides struggle to control the game, with a number of loose balls and stray passes not capitalised upon.

As the away side pushed for an equaliser the St Albans looked to exploit the counter attack and Zane Banton was presented with an opportunity to kill the game off with five minutes left on the clock following Merson’s knock down, but the midfielder’s headed effort was saved by Edwards.

With the game entering added time the Saints looked like they might be made to rue that missed opportunity when Sheriff turned in the City box and looked to shoot, however his attempt was straight into the side netting.

City are back in action at Clarence Park on Tuesday night when Weston-Super-Mare are the visitors.