Saints ‘a joy to watch’ as win sinks Havant

Shaun Lucien and Charlie Walker combined for St Albans City's opening goal against Havant & Waterloo

Shaun Lucien and Charlie Walker combined for St Albans City's opening goal against Havant & Waterlooville. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

Ian Allinson heaped praise on his St Albans City players as Sam Merson’s 94th-minute goal secured a 2-1 win over Havant & Waterlooville at Clarence Park.

Merson found space in front of goal deep into added time at the end of a closely-fought game between two of the sides battling for promotion.

And he slammed the ball home for a vital three points.

But while the result was pleasing, it was the manner of the performance that gave the Saints’ manager most happiness.

“We were outstanding in the first 25 minutes,” he said.

“I felt we played some good football on Saturday but tonight was a joy to watch. We moved the ball so well and could have been 4-0 up.

“But they came back into the game and started to dominate just before half-time and it shows just what a good side they are.

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“Second half I felt they dominated for 25 minutes, even though we looked solid. We were good from that side of things.

“But just when it looked like we were going to weather that, they got the goal and I thought it would be a test for us from then.

“Luckily enough we’ve made three substitutions and all three boys livened us up and gave us a second wind.

“And in the end we’ve nicked a win and it’s nice for us to score a goal in the 94th minute and not be conceding one.”

Charlie Walker had got the first before Bradley Tarbuck equalised midway through the second half.

And Allinson was pleased for his two strikers.

“The movement from Sam was excellent and he finished it really well. Both forwards have scored which is great from our point of view. It’s difficult because they were chasing the game a lot in the second half.”

The result lifts City into fourth, with a game in hand against the side directly above them, East Thurrock United, to come.

Allinson though is not getting carried away just yet.

“There’s a long way to go and we’re aware of what happened last year,” he stressed.

“But we’ve got a different personnel, a different breed in terms of wanting to try things, slightly exaggerated at times but they’ve got the willingness to try.

“They train really hard these boys, they’ve got great fitness and even when things were going against us, they stuck in and dug deep.

“They’re a pleasure to manage.”