Saints ease past Becks

City enjoy FA Cup victory for first time in five years

St Albans City 3 (Jean-Michel Sigere 6, Drew Roberts 53 (p), Hill OG 86)

Beckenham Town 1 (Danny McKone 44)

AFTER five years without a win in the FA Cup there was finally something for St Albans City fans to cheer about in the competition as the Saints eased past Beckenham Town of the Kent Premier Division.

Saints boss Steve Castle admitted afterwards that he was disappointed in the level of performance from his side but on a day when it was all about the result there could not have been any complaints about City being deserved winners.

The home side had to do it without the services of injured trio Ben Martin, Inih Effiong and Hassan Sulaiman but welcomed into the squad Spanish striker Pelayo Gomez who joined the club on work experience from npower League 2 side Brentford. The striker was given a run out for the last half an hour and looked lively going close with a powerful effort that crashed into the side netting.

In a game that Beckenham had nothing to lose and City everything, an early goal was crucial and Castle must have been mightily relieved when Jean-Michel Sigere stabbed home the opener with the game still very much in its infancy.

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James Fisher began the move with a good ball out to Robbie Martin. The winger cut inside his man and shot low but Beckenham goalkeeper Nick Blue spilt the effort and Sigere was on hand to turn the ball home from close range.

The French striker enjoyed probably his best game in a City shirt and is in good form in front of goal with two from his last two games.

Only the width of the crossbar stopped Pete Smith doubling City’s advantage as his header crashed off the woodwork following good work by Drew Roberts inside the Beckenham penalty area.

City continued to pile the pressure on the Becks defence but just could not find that second goal. Sigere wriggled free in the box before picking out Rob Magwood but the young midfielder shot wide and Dave Deeney fired straight at Blue after exchanging passes with Sigere on the edge of the box.

A single goal lead is always a dangerous advantage because it only takes one mistake to let the opposition back in and so it proved for City as Beckenham crashed home an equaliser.

The warning came six minutes before the break when Quentin Conteh outmuscled Mark Peters but curled his shot wide of Paul Bastock’s goal. There was to be no mistake five minutes later though.

Conteh again caused the City defence problems and although the striker’s run was ended the ball ran to McKone who crashed the ball past Bastock and into the roof of the net.

The goal gave the visitors a real lift and they should have taken the lead heading into half time. Bastock raced out of his area to clear the ball but only succeeded in finding Anthony Weir. The striker rushed his effort though and fired his shot wide of the unguarded net.

The break came at just the right time for City and disrupted the momentum Beckenham had gained in the five minutes prior to half-time.

In an almost identical situation to the Bastock incident before half time, Becks goalkeeper Blue saw his clearance hit Roberts and fall to Sigere. Thankfully for the visiting custodian he recovered sufficiently to block the Frenchman’s shot.

Sigere became more influential as the game wore on and was only denied a second goal by a smart save from Blue. Fisher threaded a clever pass through a crowded penalty area to Sigere who turned his man but Blue got his body behind the effort to keep it out.

The turning point came in the 52nd minute when City were awarded a fortuitous penalty. Smith’s free kick struck an arm in the two-man wall and referee Adrian Oldershaw had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Roberts sent Blue the wrong way from the spot to bag his second goal of the season and restore City’s lead.

Beckenham struggled to fashion much in the second half and when they did Danny Gorman headed Steve McNamara’s cross over the bar.

City should have had a third when Robbie Martin beat Blue to the ball and exchanged passes with Sigere but the midfielder’s effort was well held low at his near post by Blue.

At the other end a quick free kick from Reece Parmenter found Danny Lawson whose curling effort had Bastock scrambling across his line but ultimately ended up the wrong side of the post.

City put the game to bed with a third in the 88th minute, a goal that owed much to the direct running of youngster Sean Shields. The substitute received the ball on the left wing, ghosted past his marker and from the byline played the ball low across the face of goal which Chris Hill could only divert past Blue to wrap up a comfortable victory for the Saints and put them one step closer to Wembley.

St Albans City: Bastock; Deeney, Peters, Frater, Everitt (Gomez 61); R Martin, Magwood (Dedman 66), Fisher, Smith; Sigere (Shields 84), Roberts.

Subs: Addai, Kweme.

Beckenham Town: Blue; D. Gorman (G Gorman 78), Holder, McKone, McNamara; Paul (Parmenter 26), Hill, Curran, Lawson (Jemmott 84); Weir, Conteh.

Subs: Fusini, Jaward, Farley, Foot.

Referee: Adrian Oldershaw (Brentwood)

Att: 303