National League South: Late drama denies St Albans City victory over Woking
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City saw what would have been a hard-fought but surprise win snatched away from them in an incredible finale at Woking.
They lost 2-1 in the Vanarama National League South despite David Moyo’s wonderful debut strike giving them the lead with 10 minutes to go.
But Jake Hyde equalised within two minutes and after Ben Herd was shown a second yellow card, Ian Gayle pounced on 86 minutes to send most of the 1,671 crowd home happy.
Ian Allinson made three changes from the side that clinched a dramatic 3-2 win over Hungerford Town on Saturday.
In came James Sage, Harold Joseph and Sam Merson for Tarik Moore-Azille, Khale Da Costa.
Defensive concerns have been well documented but Saints were impressive in the first period.
They continued with the back three which has been showing signs of working and the three incumbents for this fixture, Sage, Joseph and Dave Diedhiou were disciplined, well-organised and strong.
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Not much got beyond them and when it did they were quick to respond and get goal-side.
That said Dean Snedker still had to make some saves, a sprawling one from a close-range Nicky Wheeler header was as vital as it was good, as was a second from former Stevenage striker Jake Hyde.
But while the hosts were slightly on top in terms of possession and chances, certainly for the first 30 minutes, St Albans grew into the game.
Merson had the one clear chance, pulling his shot wide of the post from the edge of the area.
The other big opportunity came from a long throw which was flicked over the onrushing Herbert Schotterl who had come charging out of his goal.
He was relieved to see Nathan Collier hook it away from inside the six-yard box.
The feeling at half-time was Woking had missed an opportunity when they were on top and they clearly returned with a few choice Geordie words ringing in their ears after manager Alan Dowson’s team talk.
They peppered the Saints defence and a couple of corners forced a few desperate clearances.
City weathered that opening five-minute spell but the Surrey side continue to look dangerous.
They were helped by two substitutions for Saints which forced a change in formation and while City tried to adjust, a header from Reggie Young flashed across the face of the goal after a corner was whipped.
The match concluded with rain lashing down and it made the well-prepared surface very slick.
Strangely it was as the rain was at its heaviest that City crafted their best chance, a cross from Da Costa found Moyo unmarked at the back post. He could only glance his header wide though.
He made up for it with a wonderful curling shot which flew into the top corner and seemed to signify an unlikely victory.
But Hyde tapped in after the ball came back off the bar and then Herd’s second yellow gave Woking even more momentum.
And Ian Gayle tapped in again after Snedker had made another great stop.
It was harsh on City but they will take plenty of positives.
St Albans City: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Noble (Banton 87), Diedhiou (Moyo 63), Joseph, Sage, Sambou, Gabriel, Merson (Da Costa 66), Kiangebeni
Subs (not used): Michael-Percil, Wyatt
Goal: Moyo 80
Red card: Herd 85
Woking: Schotterl, Spence, Casey, Jolley, Gayle, Collier, Luer (Hodges 72), Ferdinand, Hyde, Kretzscmar (Kinda-John 90+3), Wheeler (Young 57).
Subs (not used): Saraiva, Mason
Goals: Hyde 82, Gayle 86
HT: Woking 0 St Albans City 0
Referee: Alex Blake (Waterlooville)