Passage to first round proper of FA Cup not a foregone conclusion says St Albans City boss

Shaun Lucien scored a hat-trick in the last round of the FA Cup. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Shaun Lucien scored a hat-trick in the last round of the FA Cup. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson has warned his side they will need to be on their game if they are to progress in the FA Cup.

Saints will travel to Egham Town on Saturday, with the Surrey team all that separates them from a place in the first round proper.

But although the wonderfully-named Sarnies ply their trade in the Southern League Division One Central, two divisions below City, Allinson was quick to say that progress was not a foregone conclusion.

He said: “I was there to watch the replay [against Faversham Town], and it’s going to be a tough game, make no bones about it. They’ve got some players in there that have played at this level before.

“It’s one of those games where if we are we are not right on our game then there could be an upset on the cards.

“They’ve done well and they’ve been through four rounds of this competition to get to where they are.

“They are going to come out and cause us problems, and there’s lots of things they can do to try and upset what we do, but we’ve got to be brave on the ball and go there and play our style of football and hopefully get into the hat for the next round.”

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Saints warmed up for their big game with a dramatic 2-1 win over Gosport Borough at Clarence Park.

Sam Merson scored twice, the second in added time at the end of the game, and Allinson was delighted that City are still fighting at the top end of the Vanarama National League South table.

He said: “Today was about us winning, about us staying in that top six or eight, because we’re not going to win the FA Cup and when we do get knocked out we’ve got the league to come back to. It’s important we stay in touch with the teams above us.

“I think the first 25 minutes was the best we’d played all season; our movement and passing was outstanding.”

City’s win came despite losing Ben Martin to a freak injury in the warm-up, aggravating a recurring knee problem when a Gosport player ran into him.

“It was unfortunate,” said Allinson. “He was a big player for us to lose at that stage. We’ll have to see how he reacts to see whether he’s done any permanent damage, or whether it’s just a minor injury.”