Six-shooter St Albans City ready for FA Cup showdown after comfortable Worthing win
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City moved to within one game of the first round proper of the FA Cup with a comprehensive 6-0 win over Worthing at Clarence Park in the third qualifying round.
It was as comfortable a qualification as the City management team could have asked for.
From the sixth minute when Sam Merson headed them in front, St Albans were always on top.
Merson, getting a rare start, got a second before the break and Shaun Lucien went one better, smashing a second-half hat-trick.
Louie Theophanous completed the win.
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City will find out their fourth round qualifying opponents on Monday.
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If there’s a player in world football who possesses a leap better than Merson, then I don’t know of him.
The young striker produced another sensational jump to put City in front.
The cross from George Casey was inch-perfect but the young striker still had to rise high to get to it.
Mind, the technique for the header was just as good and Rikki Banks in the Worthing had no chance.
His second was also one for the technicians to savour.
Worthing failed to clear a corner twice and when the ball fell at Merson’s feet, his turn and shot was again too good for Banks.
City were good value for their half-time lead.
The Ryman League Premier Division side struggled to contain the Saints, especially down the right side with Casey and Lucien enjoying plenty of joy.
And City should have had more than the two. Josh Hill hit the crossbar and had one cleared off the line while Merson was also denied by a defender on the goal line.
The game, if it wasn’t already, was killed off early in the second half thanks to Lucien.
First, the winger’s low drive was deflected up and over Banks while the second was tapped in after Ben Martin had a header parried by Banks.
That took the wind out of City’s sails and they allowed Worthing to come back into the game, although they didn’t really test James Russell.
Merson was denied a chance for his hat-trick but his replacement Dipo Akinyemi forced Banks into a scrambling save.
Theophanous, naturally, couldn’t stay away from the scoresheet too long and he got away from the last defender to fire low into the corner for five.
And City’s top scorer was brought down minutes from the end to give City a penalty.
It was fitting, and right, that Lucien picked up the ball.
He had looked so confident all day and he kept that going, dispatching the spot kick for his hat-trick.
City: Russell, Casey, Ball (Komodikis 75), Chappell, Hill, Martin, Lucien, Thomas, Theophanous, Merson (Akinyemi 67), Noble (Iwediuno 46)
Subs (not used): Nolan, Locke, Pope, Hoenes
Goals: Merson 6, 33, Lucien 48, 52, pen 88, Theophanous 72
Worthing: Banks, Boiling, Rents, Axell (Fagan 56), Elphick, Edwards, Hendon, O’Neill (Newhouse 89), Bugiel, Wills, Sparks (Brodie 73)
Subs (not used): Piper, Waller, Hallard
Referee: Ian Fissenden