Positives to take and lessons to learn as Saints are left frustrated by Dartford's late winner

Tom Bender wheels away in delight after equalising for St Albans City against Dartford in the National League South

Tom Bender wheels away in delight after equalising for St Albans City against Dartford in the National League South. - Credit: JIM STANDEN

Two goals in stoppage time at the end of their opening National League South game proved hugely frustrating for St Albans City but manager Ian Allinson says they must learn from it.

Saints had battled back from conceding a goal at the very end of the first-half, Tom Bender equalising just before the hour, but a double from substitute Dan Roberts after 92 and 96 minutes gave Dartford the 3-1 win at Clarence Park.

And the City boss felt that was harsh on his side as they pushed for the winner themselves.

"It was a tough game," said Allinson. "They shaded the first half even though we had a couple of good chances. 

"They were sharper than us but I was disappointed to go in 1-0 down in the 46th minute. 

"But the players were fantastic in the second half and really took the game to Dartford. I thought there was only going to be one winner. 

"We were getting stronger and we made some positive changes to try and win the game.

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"I’ll look back maybe a little negatively but we’ll have to look at the decisions we made and see if we’ve got them right or wrong. 

"We were positive at 1-1 as we could have shut up shop and took the draw. 

"But we’re at home and we wanted to take the opportunity to win the game against a side who are going to be up there all season. 

"We didn’t take it and they took their opportunities.

"We have to look at the two [late] goals we conceded as both times we were in possession of the ball and both times we gave it away and we have to learn from that. 

"We didn’t make those mistakes last year." 

St Albans City FC celebrate their equaliser against Dartford in the National League South.

St Albans City celebrate their equaliser against Dartford in the National League South. - Credit: JIM STANDEN

The first chance at a response won't be any easier for City though as they travel to one of the pre-season title favourites Dorking Wanderers on Saturday.

They too though are smarting from an opening day loss and Allinson believes that shows the strength of the division.

He said: "It’s going to be a tough league and there have been some really strange results and on the day, anyone can beat anyone else. 

We have to take massive positives out of the game, and there were a lot of positives, and make sure we take them to Dorking."

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