Saints’ dogged defending avenges earlier Hayes defeat

Ben Martin directs his header goalwards

Ben Martin directs his header goalwards - Credit: Archant

St Albans City threw everything on the line defensively in their FA Cup win over Hayes and Yeading on Sunday, drawing special praise joint manager James Gray.

With the game goalless, the Saints put their bodies on the line to protect their goal to deny Louis-Rae Beadle, Matty Harriott and Cliff Akurang. Then, in the second half, Lee Chappell scored the only goal of the game to settle the tie.

“That was my team talk, away from home, the way we defended and put bodies on the line, threw everything in front of it, it looked like three blocks on the line to me,” he said.

“We managed to throw something in there every time - it’s coming off people’s knees, chins, faces. In football you have to do that, that’s what I ask for the boys. I’m a stickler for that; when you play a game of football the minimum requirement is to give everything for 90 minutes. Today we did.”

It was a stark contrast to the teams’ first meeting on the opening day of the season when Phil Babb’s side won 1-0 at Clarence Park against an abject St Albans City side.

“It’s not often that I question the boys. I think this season we have matched sides and games we have lost, we have lost by no showing enough heart and desire,” stated Gray.

“The first game against Hayes was a hard defeat to take because we didn’t show enough desire. We asked the lads to correct that and today got enough out of the boys to show the desire it there and we got the right result. It avenges the earlier defeat.”