FA Cup: St Albans City finally put Worthing to bed with replay win

Solomon Nwabuokei scored his first St Albans City as they beat Worthing in their FA Cup replay. Pict

Solomon Nwabuokei scored his first St Albans City as they beat Worthing in their FA Cup replay. Picture: JIM STANDEN - Credit: Archant

Three goals in 14 first-half minutes ensured safe passage in the FA Cup for St Albans City as they eased to a 3-1 win at Worthing in their FA Cup second qualifying round replay.

A second meeting was needed after a goal in the sixth-minute of stoppage time at Clarence Park on Saturday left the sides locked at 2-2.

But first David Noble and then Joe Iaciofano, his ninth of the season, and Solomon Nwabuokei, his first for the club, did the damage.

They will now go to fellow National League South side Weymouth in the third qualifying round.

Ian Allinson had made sweeping changes to the side, with five of Saturday's starting line-up replaced.

Out went Andronicos Georgiou, who didn't even travel, Tom Bender, Joe Howe, Taylor Miles and Bobson Bawling.

In their place came David Noble, Dave Diedhiou, Darren Foxley, Oli Sprague and Zane Banton, making his first start in six months.

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Plenty was said about the manner of Saints' collapse in the first meeting and they may have still been fragile about that in the opening exchanges as they had to endure a couple of narrow and nervy escapes.

Lloyd Dawes forced Dean Snedker into an early save, the keeper forced to push it away from close range as the lively forward made contact at the second attempt.

The City stopper, who had arguably kept his side in it with a miraculous series of stops in the first match, was beaten on 10 minutes but despite looking in all the way, Reece Meekums' shot rebounded off the post.

Snedker collected the rebound and a boot form David Diedhiou for his troubles, as the defender slid in to clear.

The heavily-rubbered artificial surface didn't make life easy for either side with a number of irregular bounces.

Worthing weren't helping their own cause either by playing out from the back far too often, something the exasperated moans from the home support should have told them.

Neither of those was the reason for the first goal.

Nwabuokei was fouled by Marvin Armstrong 30 yards out, an incident which caused the Worthing to signal immediately to be replaced.

He was still on the pitch as Noble looped the free-kick up and over the wall and seemingly down the throat of Roco Rees.

However, the ball wriggled loose from his grasp and slid under his body and in.

The second on 39 minutes also saw a mistake from a Worthing player, Jalen Jones, although a generous view would point to the pitch again.

He sliced a Foxley cross and the always lurking Iaciofano pounced, firing in from a narrow angle.

Nwabuokei was slightly further out on the right-hand side of the box two minutes later but the result was the same, the ball nestling in the back of the net.

Those two goals were needed to ease any worries that Saints wouldn't see the game out.

They certainly looked a lot more confident in the opening 15 minutes of the second half as they probed and pressed Worthing back, without it has to be saying creating too many chances.

That pattern continued for the majority of the half although the hosts almost pulled themselves back into it with a moment of madness from Snedker.

He raced out of his goal to the left wing but missed the ball.

Substitute Shola Ayoola's effort from out wide but bounced off the post and Ollie Pearce sliced the rebound over.

City did concede when Jones slammed in an effort in the third minute of stoppage time but that will just be a minor irritation for the City staff.

Of slightly more worry will be any damage to Sprague who limped out of the game late on.

St Albans City: Snedker, Diedhiou, Sprague (Bender 88), Shulton, Longe-King, Kaloczi, Foxley, Noble (Miles 82), Iaciofano, Nwabuokei, Banton.

Subs (not used): Bonfield, Merson, Howe, Adu, Bawling.

Goals: Noble 27, Iaciofano 39, Nwabuokei 41

Booked: Iaciofano 90+2

Worthing: Rees, Colbran, Jones, Barker, Armstrong (Parsons 27), Tennant, Dawes (Ayoola 48), Aguiar, Pearce (Pattenden 82), Meekums, Starkey.

Subs (not used): Doughty, Edwards, Mendoza, Long.

Goal: Jones 90+3

Booked: Tennant 36, Colbran 90+2

HT: Worthing 0 St Albans City 3

Attendance: 637

Referee: Sunny Gill (Slough)