Tom Bender: We still should have won even with me in goal

Tom Bender was forced to go in goal as St Albans City lost to Dulwich Hamlet.

Tom Bender was forced to go in goal as St Albans City lost to Dulwich Hamlet. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

St Albans City didn't reach their usual high standards against Dulwich Hamlet according to Tom Bender - regardless of the fact he had to go in goal for more than 70 minutes.

Saints lost goalkeeper Michael Johnson to a hamstring injury after 19 minutes when Darren McQueen put the visitors to Clarence Park ahead.

And although they stepped up their game in the second half, a goal three minutes from time earned the south Londoners a 4-3 win.

Skipper Bender though felt there should have been a different outcome.

He said: "I knew it was going to be a horrible and difficult evening for whoever went in goal. 

"No outfield player is going to have a great game in goal so if someone was going to have one, I’d rather it was me. 

"We wanted to manage the game with me in goal but we didn’t want to sit back, we still felt we could get something from it. 

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"It shows [the character in the squad] that we’ve had myself in goal for [more than 70 minutes] and we’re massively disappointed that we haven’t won the game, or at least a point. 

"That’s the standard we’ve set and we can be the team that sets the bar so high. 

"But the teams at the top of this league need to keep those standards for 90 minutes every week, not just for 45 like we did."

St Albans City goalkeeper Michael Johnson was injured and forced from the field when Dulwich Hamlet scored their first goal.

St Albans City goalkeeper Michael Johnson was injured and forced from the field when Dulwich Hamlet scored their first goal. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Manager Ian Allinson has a habit of not picking a substitute goalkeeper and said in almost 32 years of management, it hasn't been a problem.

But he was also critical of their first-half display.

"It wasn't good enough," he said. "We didn’t start brightly enough and really didn’t dictate the game. 

"I expected us to be more aggressive than we were, to stop them from playing, but we got caught out by one ball over the top and Michael has done his hamstring. 

"That put us on the back foot and it took us a little bit of time to adjust.

"We had to protect Tom because he was fantastic in goal for us. He’s put the gloves on, he didn’t have to, but he’s put his hand up straight away.

"Individual mistakes have cost us badly. Team-wise, especially in the second half, we were outstanding. First half we weren’t at the races. 

"I don’t think we were ready for a top of the table clash."

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