St Albans City survive late onslaught to grab point against Dorking Wanderers
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City bounced back from the disappointment of their game with Braintree Town to claim a 1-1 draw at home to Dorking Wanderers – but they had to survive a late onslaught by the visitors.
City had done well to get themselves level through David Longe-King but the last 10 minutes saw Dorking go close time and time again as the home side threatened to capitulate again.
They will take the point but the wait goes on for a first National League South win of the season and this will have been one game they would have targeted especially as a winnable contest.
Club captain David Noble said Tuesday night was "not acceptable" while manager Ian Allinson wanted to see a "drastic improvement".
He made two changes, bringing in David Noble and David Diedhiou for Sam Merson and Tom Bender.
The introduction of Diedhiou into a defensive midfield role was arguably the right call, certainly he is more at home in that position as compared to James Kaloczi who filled that place on Tuesday.
It meant Kaloczi was reunited with David Longe-King in the centre of defence while Noble's inclusion was made in the hope that City could find a creative spark so sorely lacking in the previous two home games.
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Not that it made too much of a difference as Oli Sprague came off on 22 minutes, thrusting Bender into the fray earlier than anticipated.
It was also noted before the match that referee Mark Howes also took charge of the Torquay game back in April and while there wasn't the same explosive start this time around, the visitors still had two very good chances.
Elliott Buchanan fired a powerful effort from distance not far over before Dean Snedker had to make a fine one-handed stop to deny a Jason Prior header.
The keeper also had to palm away a dangerous Niall McManus cross but slowly Saints got back into it.
Bobson Bawling fired an effort over the top after a decent passage of play and the openness of Dorking's play was certainly playing to the home side's strengths, giving them time and space into which to move.
They should have scored on 12 minutes when Joe Iaciofano picked up a loose pass across the back four and raced in alone on goal.
The ball was bobbling a lot on his approach and he ended up opening his body too much as put it to the left of Slavomir Huk and off the post.
The rebound fell perfectly for Bawling but he blazed well over the bar.
Claims that a Darren Foxley corner and had swung over the line before being cleared were waved away but the delivery from set-pieces wasn't always as ideal, something which was costing Saints good field position on too many occasions.
St Albans' next big chance came with just over 10 minutes to go to the break when Foxley was slipped in by Noble but from a central position Huk spread himself well and pushed the shot out.
The improvement was clear, with City definitely creating a lot more chances compared to previous matches, but the worry at half-time was they hadn't converted any.
The last time I saw Dorking they had soaked up a lot of first-half pressure at Potters Bar Town before converting their only real chances in the second-half in a 2-0 win.
And almost inevitably they took the lead here, to the fury of the home bench.
Bawling was caught in possession in the middle of the park and Dorking broke quickly although the initial pass forced Buchanan wide.
However, he found Tom Richards and found the deep cross Prior headed back across Snedker and into the far corner.
After Tuesday's capitulation the feeling of frustration was tangible around the Park and the crowd were starting to get a bit tetchy.
It was therefore a great relief that out of nothing City were level just 10 minutes later.
It was a silly foul from Jack Gallagher on Iaciofano that brought the Dorking substitute a yellow card and City a free-kick 40 yards out and in a central position.
And this time they got the set-piece delivery spot on with Noble clipping the ball into the back post where Longe-King looped his header over Huk.
It sparked activity on the bench with the City boss throwing Albert Adu and Merson on as they chased a winner.
But it worked against the home side who were guilty again of giving the ball away cheaply and had Allinson screaming for more from his players.
He was yelling even more when Buchanan should have put Dorking back in front on 79 minutes but when presented with a glorious chance six yards out by Matthew Briggs, the striker completely miscued his effort wide.
The winger was causing all sorts of problems and three further chances in the final few minutes should have brought the away side all three points.
The first saw him deliver a low cross that Prior may or may not have flicked past Snedker. Either way it was fortunate that the ball hit Kaloczi and City could scramble it away.
Briggs then raced in alone with the City defence standing still and seemingly uninterested. Somehow though he put it wide.
And then in injury time a long cross flew over Snedker but bounced out the face of the post.
St Albans City: Snedker, Howe, Sprague (Bender 22), Miles, Longe-King, Kaloczi, Bawling, Noble (Adu 72), Iaciofano (Merson 72), Diedhiou, Foxley.
Subs (not used): Bonfield, Murrell-Williamson.
Goal: Longe-King 65
Booked: Miles 25, Bender 59
Dorking Wanderers: Huk, Philpot, Harris (Beard 50), El-Abd, McManus (Briggs 68), Prior, Buchanan, McShane, Taylor (Gallagher 59), Moore, Richards.
Subs (not used): Ray, Sole.
Goal: Prior 55
Booked: Harris 37, Philpot 81, Beard 90
HT: St Albans City 0 Dorking Wanderers 0
Referee: Mark Howes (Solihull)