Newton leaves it late as City salvage a point
Winger hits injury-time equaliser at Arlesey
Southern League Premier Division
Arlesey Town 1 St Albans City 1
“THERE are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. A phrase that sums up perfectly St Albans City’s visit to the aRMadillo Stadium to tackle Arlesey Town.
The visitors had a total of 19 shots on goal, 11 of which were on target, compared to Arlesey’s one shot on target. It suggests an easy afternoon for David Howell’s side but it couldn’t have been further from the truth as the Saints relied on Howard Newton’s 91st minute goal for a share of the spoils.
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To be fair to the Saints their failure to win wasn’t for the want of trying but they came up against an Arlesey team scrapping for their lives near the bottom of the table and a goalkeeper in Nick Bussey who enjoyed a splendid afternoon. Former Saints skipper Ryan Frater effectively nullified the threat of Sakho Bakare so much so that the Frenchman found himself on the periphery of the game.
After a two-week break because of the weather, City boss Howell stuck with the same XI that started the win at Redditch last time out and it appeared to pay dividends as the Saints started strongly.
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Newton, who started on the right wing, headed wide from a Ryan Watts cross with just 40 seconds played and Chris Seeby tested Bussey with a long range effort that bounced nastily in front of the Arlesey ‘keeper who did well to smother the ball.
With just five minutes gone City had their hosts on the ropes but they just couldn’t find that knockout blow. David Ijaha stole the ball on the edge of the Arlesey box and saw his shot spilled by Bussey but left-back Dan Hutchins skipped in to clear before Newton could fire home.
City’s failure to score soon came to haunt them as Arlesey broke away to open the scoring against the run of play.
A lapse in concentration gave Chris Marsh just enough time to run free of his marker to collect a throw-in and drill the ball low across the face of goal for Drewe Broughton to turn home from close range.
The goal took the wind out of City’s sails and Arlesey took advantage nearly doubling their tally when Nick Jupp raced out of his goal to clear but he only found Lee Allinson whose audacious attempt from 40 yards drifted just wide of the target.
The visitors regained their composure in the final 10 minutes of the first half but still they couldn’t find a way past Bussey. The closest they came was when Newton connected with Narada Bernard’s looping left-wing cross but the Guyana international could only steer his effort into the arms of the Town custodian.
The Arlesey stopper should have been picking the ball out of his own net early in the second half when Simon Martin ghosted into the box and stood a cross up for Newton who guided the ball past Bussey only for Frater to step in and clear the ball off the line.
Arlesey did have their chances to put the game to bed with Chris Dillon teeing up Marsh to blast over the bar and Stefan Bailey stealing the ball from Jupp only to fire wide of the unguarded net from an acute angle.
Bussey came to his side’s rescue when he denied Bakare with his legs after the former Neuchatel Xamax forward had latched onto Martin’s flick-on.
The home side did have the ball in the back of the net for a second time when Broughton applied the finishing touch to Frater’s flick-on but the former Stevenage striker had strayed into an offside position.
With 10 minutes left City upped the ante and Bussey was called into action once more, gathering Danny McGonigle’s half volley just under the crossbar.
City’s brightest moment came when sub Chris Henry fed Newton with a sublime defence splitting pass but the winger, now operating on the left flank, was thwarted by Bussey with Hutchins blocking Aaron Lansiquot’s follow-up.
As the clock ticked past 90 minutes it looked like being another frustrating afternoon at the office for Howell and Co. but their efforts weren’t to go unrewarded.
Lansiquot displayed a fine burst of speed to get away down the right wing and his low cross was perfect for Newton to slide home at the far post.
With five minutes of added-time to be played City pushed hard for a winner but it didn’t materialise and a point apiece was probably a fair reflection of proceedings.
Arlesey: Bussey; Browne, Frater �, Mawer, Hutchins; Marsh (Cole 90), Allinson, Bailey, Goss; Broughton (Yamfam 86), Dillon.
Subs not used: Patrick, Bufano, Osborn.
City: Jupp; Seeby, Gray �, Ngakam, Bernard (Henry 57); Newton, Hyde, Ijaha (McGonigle 69), Watts; Martin (Lansiquot 83), Bakare. Sub not used: Cutchey.
Referee: M Smith