Misfiring Saints held on opening day

Louie Theophanous puts the ball in the net, but it's ruled out for offside. Picture: Bob Walkley

Louie Theophanous puts the ball in the net, but it's ruled out for offside. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

A misfiring St Albans City drew 0-0 at Gosport Borough on the opening day of the National League South.

The Saints should have ended their two-year run of not winning in their first game but they were found wanting in front of goal.

New signing Louie Theophanous came closest for City, almost scoring a debut goal, poking home Sam Corcoran’s cross only for the assistant’s flag to cut short his celebrations.

It was the story of the game for St Albans, who time-after-time looked like they could break the deadlock only to shot high, wide and straight at the goalkeeper, Nathan Ashmore.

Simon Thomas had a good game, albeit mainly as a target man, set the tone early in the game when, with time and space, sliced his shot wide from seven yards out. Theophanous was largely a spectator - not for lack of effort on his part - as the Saints struggled to get him involved. They will looked to change that on Monday against Oxford.

The other new faces didn’t fare much better, with Billy Medlock shooting wide when well placed and Lewis Hilliard thrashing at the ball when he had time to bring it down. Luke Allen provided the forward impetus expected but he left his shooting boots at home. James Comley, playing in midfield, played a perfect ball through for the former Hemel Hempstead man but he toe poked his shot at Ashmore.

Justin Bennett could have snatched the game for the hosts but he thundered the ball against the bar from yards out and City’s defence cleared. Gosport were otherwise held very quiet by the Saints back four and Scott Thomas, who sat just in front.

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All the Saints’ missed chances didn’t come back to bite them in large part due to Joe Welch’s excellence. Last season’s player of the year was superb in between the sticks, with his best save coming in the dying minutes. Lee Wort controlled the ball in the box, and, in one movement, turned and fired a shot towards goals. As is customary, Welch was in the right place to reach out his left hand to tip the ball over his bar, preserving the draw.


St Albans City: Welch, Chappell, Kyriacou, Martin, Locke, Comley, Allen (Medlock - 79), Corcoran (J Green - 72), Thomas, Theophanous (Hillard - 72), Thomas. Subs: Longe-King.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Williams, Scott (Barker - 58), Poate, Woodford, Harding, Robinson, White (Wort - 74), Bennett, Dunford. Subs: Carter, Walker, Ryan.

Attendance: 389

Referee: Sam Allison