Preview: City hoping to bounce back after FA Trophy loss


Bashley - Credit: Archant

St Albans City will be looking for a response to Saturday’s loss when they face Bashley at Clarence Park tonight (Monday).

City bowed out of the FA Trophy in controversial fashion at the hands of Conference Premier Division leaders Cambridge United. Aaron Pierre scored a 94th minute winner after John Frendo’s penalty had cancelled out the opening goal by Nathan Arnold.

The exit means City are out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy and can focus all their attention on getting out of the Calor Southern League.

“I’ll challenge the boys to raise their game as there’s a massive three points on offer against Bashley,” said joint manager James Gray.

“We made some good money for the club from the FA competitions but all our focus goes on the league now. We have a busy schedule over Christmas and we’ll be fighting to get back into the play-off places.

“Now is the time to kick on in the league.”

Mark Nwokeji is expected to start after sitting on the bench for the first half of Saturday’s game. The striker tweaked his hamstring in the pre-game warm-up but felt good enough to get 25 minutes at the end of the game.

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Jamal Lowe will also be back. The Barnet loanee had to sit out the Cambridge game as he was cup-tied.

Tonight’s opponents sit rock bottom of the division having picked up five points from 18 games. The Bash’s sole win came against Bedford Town on November 30 and they drew against Biggleswade Town and Truro City in the opening two games of the season.

In their last two fixtures joint managers Paul Gazzard and John Pyatt have seen their side lose 7-1 to Cambridge City and 3-0 to Poole Town. They were also on the wrong end of a 10-0 loss to Hemel Hempstead earlier in the year.

The visitor’s third worst defence will be bouyed by the signing of Ryan Ferguson, 19, but they will need to change their fortunes in front of goal - they have scored just 15 goals in the league - if they hope to earn any points.

Kick-off for tonight’s game is 7.45pm.