Saints threaten but fail to register, again

Elliot Bailey breaks through the Boreham Wood defence. Picture: Leigh Page

Elliot Bailey breaks through the Boreham Wood defence. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans City’s struggles to find the net were exemplified on Saturday’s as, despite posing a serious threat in the second half, they were held scoreless by Vanarama Conference South leaders Boreham Wood.

This season, the Saints have failed to score in nine of their 34 matches in all competitions. That equates to 26 per cent of games. Unsurprisingly, all of those games ended in losses.

Saturday, though, was truly a case of City lacking a finishing touch.

Elliot Bailey had a torrid time as a lone striker in the first-half against a Boreham Wood defence that featured ex-Saint Ben Martin. The team didn’t play to his strengths, though, and chances were rare. The one opportunity he did get was blocked by Sam Cox.

His afternoon was ended in the 50th minute when he was replaced by John Frendo, who was joined by Cameron Lancaster, who came on for Charlie Gorman, up front. The pair, together with Charlie Smith and Steve Wales, gave St Albans an attacking edge that, somehow, failed to register a goal. Wales had the best chance of the second-half but his shot struck James Russell’s legs rather than the net.

After the game, joint manager James Gray said Wales apologised for the miss.

“Steve held his hand up for missing the chance but I’m not looking for apologises for missing chance; we need to keep getting in there,” he said. “I’m not so much worried about creating chances; we need to take them during games at time when we’re on top, like we did against Gosport.”

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Saturday’s result was St Albans’ 13th loss of the season in the league. Gray believes the Saints’ inexperience in the Conference South is to blame.

“If you look in our loss column – 13 games – that’s down with the bottom two or three teams,” he said. “If I think back through the games we’ve lost, we could have five, six, seven, eight more points that we do with draws and nicking a win here and there.”

He added: “It’s taken Boreham Wood six or seven seasons to get to the top. In six or seven seasons we might be there or past them. That’s fine; there’s no pressure on us to be top of the league like there is on them.”

Without that pressure, and sitting 11th place in the league, the Saints are enjoying their time in the Conference South.

“There are things that we’re learning but we’re enjoying it. The lads have got a smile on their faces and the place is really good,” said Gray. “We seem really youthful at the moment. Lots of young lads and they’re all trying to impress to training is full on. It’s a great environment to be in.”