Diedhiou salvages late draw for St Albans City as referee takes centre stage

Dave Diedhiou celebrates his late equaliser. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Dave Diedhiou celebrates his late equaliser. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

A goal just two seconds from the end of four added minutes by Dave Diedhiou rescued a point for St Albans City in a 2-2 draw against Truro City – but sadly the game will be remembered more for the referee than anything else.

St Albans City hosted Truro City in the February sunshine at Clarence Park in the National League So

St Albans City hosted Truro City in the February sunshine at Clarence Park in the National League South. - Credit: Archant

All four goals came in the second half, Tyler Harvey and Connor Riley-Lowe giving the White Tigers what seemed to be a winning advantage despite Michael Clark equalising for Saints.

Diedhiou’s strike, sweeping in from six yards after Liam Sole had wriggled along the byline from the left wing, was perhaps justice as neither side had done enough to really warrant the three points.

But for the most part the focus on the field was referee Dean Skipper, with the official giving some baffling decisions against both sides.

It had both benches shaking their heads in disbelief and laughing during the second period and had the crowd roaring in exasperation.

St Albans City hosted Truro City in the February sunshine at Clarence Park in the National League So

St Albans City hosted Truro City in the February sunshine at Clarence Park in the National League South. - Credit: Archant

Frustrations had run high for those wearing yellow on the pitch and on the home bench as the referee interjected himself far more than was needed in the first half.

One free-kick handed to the visitors early on saw Tyler Harvey’s header hit the post with Dean Snedker well beaten although the award in the first place, given for a battle on the floor where the ball got stuck in between the legs of a Truro player, seemed harsh.

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So to a number of other decisions, including a booking for Zane Banton moments after a perceived foul on the tricky forward had gone unpunished.

And the referee further irked the home support when he ruled out a David Moyo, flicked into the net from a Ben Wyatt corner right on the stroke of half-time, for what could only be presumed to be either a push or holding.

Those incidents did add a bit of life though to a game and a crowd that seemed flat despite the unseasonal warmth.

Opportunities were limited for both teams, Snedker forced to push out a snapshot late on the only other chance of note for Truro while for City a pull-back from Banton was played behind Moyo and in front of Ewington.

The former Harpenden Town striker, signed during the week, had been playing in a 0-0 Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division draw with Holmer Green just over 12 months previously, but his amazing run of goals had quite rightly earned him a shot in the National South.

And he didn’t look out of place in the slightest.

But the key to victory seemed to be which side would ignore the officials first and get on with their game.

However, less than two minutes into the second half the man in the middle and his linesman were involved again, awarding a penalty to the visitors.

It was for handball by Clark although Mr Skipper was in a bad position to see it and from the press box it appeared to have hit the chest.

The linesman had a better view but remained quiet.

Harvey promptly sent Snedker the wrong way.

Justice seemed to have been done when Clark nodded in a Tom Bender long throw from close range but three minutes later Truro were back in front, Riley-Lowe sweeping it home at the back post.

That came after Saints stopped waiting for an offside that didn’t come. If the first goal was extremely harsh on St Albans there can be no excuse for stopping when there is no whistle. First rule most of us learn when we’re kids.

From there City huffed and puffed but rarely had a clear sniff of goal.

Meanwhile the game descended into more farce as the referee continued to be the centre of attention.

He dished out a booking to Niall Thompson for time-wasting over a throw-in. In the same incident though substitute Jordan Copp said something and it warranted a red card.

But having been duly reprimanded he sat back down on the bench and play went on.

It caused the referee’s assessor to hold his head in his hands and that act summed up the man in black’s game.

Fortunately Diedhiou gave home fans something to cheer and help banish ever so slightly that performance.

St Albans City: Snedker, Herd (Da Costa 72), Bender, Diedhiou, Knight, Clark, Wyatt (Sole 72), Kamdjo, Ewington, Moyo, Banton (Merson 72).

Subs (not used): McLeod-Urquhart, Sambou.

Goals: Clark 50, Diedhiou 90+4

Booked: Banton 18, Bender 35, Diedhiou 84

Truro City: Rivers, Thompson, Rile-Lowe, Richards, Grimes, Bentley, Rowthorn, D.Rooney (Harding 84), Allen, Harvey, Herve (L.Rooney 28).

Subs (not used): Harding, Battle, Copp, Ziboth.

Goals: Harvey (pen) 47, Riley-Lowe 53

Booked: Harvey 35, Thompson 76.

Sent-off: Copp 76.

HT: St Albans City 0 Truro City 0

Attendance: 724

Referee: Dean Skipper (Hornchurch)

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