Saints survive scare
Herts Senior Cup Second Round St Margaretsbury 2 St Albans City 4 THREE late goals secured St Albans City s place in the quarter finals of the Herts Senior Cup on Tuesday night but they were made to work hard for the win by a dogged St Margaretsbury team.
Herts Senior Cup Second Round
St Margaretsbury 2 St Albans City 4
THREE late goals secured St Albans City's place in the quarter finals of the Herts Senior Cup on Tuesday night but they were made to work hard for the win by a dogged St Margaretsbury team.
Steve Castle named a strong starting 11, with Chris Seeby continuing his recovery from injury and a rare run out for Lee Clarke.
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City dominated the early proceedings, with Hassan Sulaiman and Chris Seeby enjoying success down the right-hand side. Castle's men played some lovely passing football despite a hard and uneven surface and they made the breakthrough in the 17th minute. Luke Thurlbourne's corner was not cleared properly by the St Margaretsbury defence and Gary Cohen was on hand to turn the ball home.
City took their foot off the pedal following the goal and St Margaretsbury started to gain a foothold in the game.
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The Saints were given a warning when Tony Smith headed over from six yards out after Kevin Ashwood's precise cross. Smith wasn't to be denied a second time though and he soon had the home side level. Ashwood again supplied the cross and the diminutive Smith turned Munday before firing past Jake Palmer with 33 minutes on the clock.
Disaster struck for St Albans two minutes later as St Margaretsbury took the lead. Paul Taylor picked the ball up 30 yards from goal on the left wing in what looked like a harmless position, but Saints goalkeeper Palmer was caught out as Taylor's left-footed cross sailed over his head and into the back of the net.
St Albans rallied and the excellent James Fisher slid Cohen in down the right channel but his cut back was cleared with Clarke ready to shoot.
Then Seeby popped up on the left wing and delivered a dangerous cross to the near post but Cohen's shot was off target.
St Albans came out after the break and immediately stamped their authority on the game. Thurlbourne's corner found Munday who headed towards Cohen but the striker's shot was cleared off the line.
Thurlbourne then crossed for Fisher but his volley was well saved by James Sturgeon in the St Margaretsbury goal.
Castle introduced Simon Martin for Lee Clarke and Martin instantly began causing the home defence problems.
St Albans were awarded a penalty in the 71st minute when Martin's run was ended by Steve Barker. Scott Cousins stepped up and confidently beat Sturgeon to draw City level.
St Margaretsbury struggled to break out of their own half in the second period and were soon behind. Seeby picked the ball up on the right wing, cut inside his man and hit a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
Inih Effiong came on for St Albans and impressed with some intelligent running in the channels. One run saw the youngster get to the byeline and cut the ball back for fellow substitute Hector Mackie but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Sulaiman delivered a fine cross to the far post for Mackie but his diving header was stopped by Sturgeon at point-blank range.
City added a fourth two minutes into stoppage time when Effiong again made it to the byeline and cut back for Martin who side footed the ball home from six yards out.
St Margaretsbury did have one last foray into the City half and nearly scored with the last touch of the game. Palmer dropped a cross from the left but Brendan Brien volleyed wide.
It was a good hard-working performance from St Albans in the second half with Fisher, Sulaiman and Cousins all having fine games and City fans will be pleased to see Seeby and Clarke on the road to recovery as Saints look to bolster their injury ravaged squad.
St Margaretsbury: Sturgeon, Hayward, J.Barker, S.Barker, E.Taylor, Ashwood (Bell), P.Taylor, Eldridge, Light (Herod), Smith (Byfield), Brien. Unused Subs: Lovett, Birnie.
St Albans City: Palmer, Seeby, Munday, Fisher, Cousins, Sulaiman, Quilter, Thurlbourne, Hurrell (Mackie), Cohen (Offiong), Clarke (S.Martin).
Ref: Andrew Crawford.