Saints and Harlow must replay
WHEN these sides last met in the FA Cup in 1937 City won 6-1. In contrast this scoreless draw was a relatively featureless affair
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Second round qualifying
St Albans City 0 Harlow Town 0
David Willacy at Clarence Park
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WHEN these sides last met in the FA Cup in 1937 City won 6-1. In contrast this scoreless draw was a relatively featureless affair with clear cut chances few and far between.
City were once again powder puff in attack and the Essex side were well organised in defence. The City Supporters Club had sponsored real ale at the St Albans beer festival in anticipation of celebrating a win but the net result was a stalemate and a place in the draw at Soho square.
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City manager Steve Castle made three changes to the side that beat Newport County. Ben Bowditch, ever-present this season, gave way to Luke Thurlbourne in midfield, Lee Clarke played alongside Paul Hakim at the expense of Simon Martin and Rod Hicks replaced the injured Sulaiman. The visitors had former Saint Beckett Hollenbach in their defence.
In perfect conditions Paul Bastock was soon in action gathering a straight shot from Daniel Green and in the eighth minute Alex Bailey burst into the area on the left and fired in a shot which James Hassall, in the Harlow goal, acrobatically turned over the bar.
Injury prone Hicks was prostrate in the 28th minute and replaced by Scott Cousins. The reshuffle meant that Bailey switched to right midfield and Jonathan Hunt played on the opposite flank. The move gave City more balance and most of the possession but still they could not create a clear-cut chance.
In the 39th minute Bailey broke quickly and with both Hakim and Clarke free in the middle failed to deliver a decent cross and in stoppage time Hunt skipped past three defenders but his cross was just too deep for Clarke to get on target with a header.
Despite Harlow's player manager Ryan Kirby organising his defence the Ryman League team were stretched at the beginning of the second half. Neat interplay between Cousins and Hunt created a chance but Hassall saved well at his near post and on the hour the Harlow goalkeeper was relieved when a Hunt cross came straight to him with Hakim and Clarke in scoring positions. When Hakim did lose his marker he scuffed a shot at Hassall and was immediately replaced by Gary Cohen.
Harlow might have scored three times in as many minutes midway through the half, Henry shooting straight at Bastock and then the lively Danny Green first shooting wide and then testing Bastock's reactions.
Towards the end both teams made substitutions to little effect and both teams wasted well placed free kicks in stoppage time. It had been that kind of game. The Supporters Club Ale was called 'Balance and Poise'. City had a smidgen of the former but were lacking in poise. But as supporters visiting the beer festival to restore their spirits found out, the sponsored barrel had been emptied on Friday night.
St Albans City: Bastock GK, Protheroe (RB), B. Martin CB, Fisher CB, Bailey LB, Hunt RM, Thurlbourne CM, Quilter CM, Hicks LM, Clarke CF, Hakim CF. Subs: Cousins for Hicks (28), Cohen for Hakim (61), S. Martin for Protheroe (81). Unused subs: Bowditch, Adams, Rieck, Mortimer.
Harlow Town: Hassell GK, Taylor RB, Kear CB, Kirby CB, Hollenbach LB, Lalite RM, Chapman CM, Fowler CM, Green LM, Richards CF, Henry CF.
Subs: Roberts for Kirby (70), Akers for Fowler (81), Adeyinka for Henry (81). Unused subs: Gliddon, Dumoulin, Warren.
Referee: Lee Venamore (Maidstone).