Owsy relieved at Redditch win

IT wasn’t one of their best performances of the season but it was certainly one of the most spirited and St Albans City boss David Howell was delighted to see his side leave Redditch United with all three points after a difficult evening.

Conditions proved troublesome as the temperature plummeted towards freezing and it looked like the Saints would have to settle for a point after David Ijaha fired them back on level terms but with just minutes remaining new-boy Chris Henry stepped off the bench to hit a late winner much to the relief of boss Howell.

“It was one of those games where we scored early and we looked like we were set to march on then we just lost our way and weren’t able to cope with the conditions,” Howell said afterwards.

“The conditions in the first half were very difficult for the lads to cope with. We had a little bit of a set to – a heart-to-heart – in the changing room (at half-time) and the lads went out and showed what they are made of.

“I think Nick again pulled off another magnificent save… in the first half and one early in the second half but other than that I didn’t think he had a lot to do.

“I think we took the game, controlled it and controlled the conditions and tried to go for the three points.

“We got back into the game to equalise, to make it 3-3, and I just felt with the conditions it was tailor-made for someone like Aaron (Lansiquot), who missed out on Saturday, or little Chris Henry. I think Simon (Martin) had done his bit, contributed, and Sakho’s always liable to pop up and do something even though he was frustrating tonight.

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“I’m just pleased for the team because at half-time we said we would try and show what we are made of and I felt they did against a very competitive and difficult side and conditions.”

The quickly deteriorating playing surface meant the game was always likely to be littered with mistakes and Howell felt the conditions certainly played their part in the contest.

“Defensively we were not at the races today,” he explained. “Jimmy (Gray) and Cedric (Ngakam) have done a lot better for us in the past and I think they’ll be the first to stick their hands up. Ultimately we stuck to the task and second half they were much improved and I thought Chris Seeby settled in a lot better than he did on Saturday.

“It was difficult conditions for defences, not just ours, and in the end I think we did get a grip of it but having said that it was still one of those games you were on the edge thinking, because of the conditions, we could make the unforced error ourselves and give away something at the back.

“When the players are running and they can’t slow down and if they are running they can’t change direction quickly. We just had to adapt.

“I said to the lads before the game that it is the team that adapts to the conditions and makes the least amount of unforced errors that will come away with the three points today. Despite our defensive mistakes I think they were under pressure from us and started to make mistakes and that was what won us the game.

“I’m just pleased that we came all the way here, in difficult conditions, and picked up a very important 4-3 win.”

Next up for City is a trip to high-flying AFC Totton and Howell says that game will provide his players with yet another challenge.

“I think tonight showed that the game throws up different challenges for us and Saturday at AFC Totton will throw up different challenge again altogether,” Howell said.

“It is up to us as a team to get ourselves prepared and ready to go and do battle again.”

* There is a St Albans City team and supporters coach going to AFC Totton for the away game on Saturday, February 4. The coach will depart at 11:00 am from the Clarence Park entrance to the ground.

Since the coach has only a limited number of seats available, anyone going should book as early as possible. To book a seat please call Ian Rogers on 07714 145862 or Barry Hilliard on 07831 859041. The cost is �18 for adults and �10 for juniors.