Saints boss believes his side may be guilty of trying to score ‘perfect’ goals
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ST ALBANS City boss Steve Castle thinks his team may be guilty of trying to score ‘perfect’ goals.
The Saints created enough chances to see off Kingstonian – who themselves had a decent number of opportunities – in Saturday’s FA Cup Third Qualifying Round tie at Clarence Park but a combination of wayward shooting and excellent goalkeeping from Kingstonian’s Rob Tolfrey meant the Saints had to settle for a draw and another bite at the Cherry tonight at Kingsmeadow.
With a lucrative tie away at Blue Square Premier title hopefuls Luton Town awaiting tonight’s winner, Castle, now more than ever, would be happy to win with a scruffy goal.
“I was reasonably pleased,” said Castle of Saturday’s performance.
“We had a good few chances, we do need that goal that will calm everything down then I think the play will come a little bit more.
“I think there is still a high level of anxiety amongst the players. I’ve just said to them that I think maybe they’re looking for a perfect goal, trying to get it out of their feet and make sure they get it on target. I think if they get it into areas, especially from wide, and get bodies in there we’ll take a scrappy goal.”
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Kingstonian came to Clarence Park off the back of a 1-0 win over title-rivals Sutton United and the performance suggested a team very much high on confidence.
Deploying three central defenders and wing-backs, the Ks were solid at the back but also got men forward in numbers and in Matt Gray had an experienced campaigner in the middle of the park pulling the strings.
“I think we gave them a lot of credit, they’re used to winning and drawing games and you could see that they were a very resilient, strong team that are probably going to do well in the Ryman Premier league,” said Castle.
“They had a very good player in (Matt) Gray who for the first hour controlled things and really did make them tick. Obviously everything seemed to come off for him, obviously we’ve got to address that and I think for the last 10 minutes when we put Ross Dedman in there in the three I think things worked out well.”
The Saints didn’t enjoy the best of preparation on Saturday by having to alter the team sheet after Moses Odubajo, the club’s new loan signing from Leyton Orient, got delayed on his way to the ground.
“Moses hasn’t had the best of preparation, going the wrong way round the M25 and then going on a road that was shut,” revealed Castle.
“He’s beside himself with guilt. I know Andy Edwards, his youth team manager, has given him a slaughtering and I wasn’t going to add to that one.
The City boss hopes to have Ben Martin back for the trip to Kingsmeadow with Rob Magwood rated 50-50.
Spanish forward Pelayo Gomez is likely to continue in attack for the Saints after showing he is adjusting to first team football with a good display on Saturday.
“It’s quite a funny thing,” explained Castle. “When they come from the league clubs and they’re playing reserve team football, I’ve seen enough and played in enough to know they’re played in third or fourth gear really and they come into first team football at whatever level against lads that live and die for three points and I think it is a bit of a shock to them.
“He’s adjusting and I’d like to think if we keep persevering we’ll get a good player in him.”
The Saints head to Kingstonian with confidence from the fact that they’ve had some of their best performances on the road this season.
The Ks have only suffered one defeat at Kingsmeadow this season, a 1-0 defeat to Maidstone, and Castle believes the playing surface will be conducive to good football.
“I think we’ve got an unwitting advantage in that we train on Mondays and Thursdays and we do a full session on a Monday for various reasons so it won’t be a complete culture shock to us to be working hard on a Monday,” said the City boss.
“They’ll be a tough, resilient team. We’ve got to be nice and positive, I think the pitch is different class over there and a night game with a bit of dew on the grass might make for an even better spectacle.
“We’ve produced some good performances away from home and hopefully Monday can be another one.”
For those of you who are unable to make the trip to Kingsmeadow tonight, you can keep tabs on how City are doing via our CITYLIVE service. Updates will begin at around 7.30pm – just click on the link in the top right hand corner.