Poole trip may have been ended in a loss but St Albans City taking plenty of positives into final play-off fight

Louie Theophanous puts the ball in the back of the net, only for the referee to to blow for offside.

Louie Theophanous puts the ball in the back of the net, only for the referee to to blow for offside. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

St Albans City’s long trip to Poole Town ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat but the manner of the performance was enough to give manager Ian Allinson plenty of hope for the rest of the year.

The stats will say the loss took City’s recent run to just one win in eight – but that doesn’t begin to tell the story of the game.

Saints hit the woodwork, had a couple of shots cleared off the line and had a Louie Theophanous effort ruled out for offside.

But a quick goal on the break 21 minutes from time from Marvin Brooks gave the Dolphins what could be a vital goal in the National League South play-off chase.

It lifts Poole back into the top five, and above the Saints who drop to seventh, two points behind.

Saints’ disappointment was compounded by a straight red card for Ben Herd late on.

However, the City boss was looking at the positives and believes the club are in a perfect position to kick on.

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He said: “The game’s done now, we’ve been beaten but there were so many positives to take from it which is a bonus. As we’ve said before we’re putting a new squad together and it’s working really well and some of the football we played was outstanding.

“We probably had more than a dozen chances and just didn’t hit the target and test the keeper.

“But that’s football. In every league you’re going to win games and you’re going to lose games. What we have to do is hold our nerve. We’ve got a long way to go and if you look at this stage last season we had to win 10 of them to stay in this league.

There’s no pressure on this changing room, there’s no pressure on me or on these players to get in the play-offs. The only thing we had to do was improve on last year and we’ve done that.

“But we’ve got 14 games to go, 42 points. We know what we’ve got to do. With that squad in there we can put a run together, like we did last year. That’s the challenge we’ve got.”

Allinson put Sam Corcoran straight into the starting line-up after his brief sojourn across the M1 to Hemel Hempstead Town and he was pleased with how the midfielder performed.

He said: “He hasn’t played much football and he’s got a lot to prove in terms of leaving the club in the summer but it was right to bring him back and I felt he made a really good contribution to the game.

“I felt him and David Noble already have a good understanding and moved the ball really well. We kept our forwards interested but we just didn’t test the keeper.”

The one blot was Herd’s dismissal which happened right in front of the dugouts.

And there was no doubt about how Allinson felt about it.

“The referee has deemed it was a red card for a challenge that I thought was never a sending off,” he said.

“There’s challenges all over the pitch and if you’re going to deem that a red card, then are some of the others red cards?

“There was a challenge on David Noble just before half-time that, because he doesn’t go down shouting and screaming and squealing like a baby, it doesn’t even get a yellow card.

“Their player goes down, rolls around and screams and yelps and the referee deems it is a poor challenge. For me it wasn’t a poor challenge and there you go. We’ll have to have a look at it and see if we can appeal.”

City will start the final third of the year with another trip to a fellow play-off rival when they go to Chelmsford City on Saturday.