St Albans City fight back to progress in Herts Senior Cup

John Frendo scores the Saints first goal of the afternoon. Picture: Leigh Page

John Frendo scores the Saints first goal of the afternoon. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

Despair turned to joy for St Albans City fans as they overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Hadley in the quarter-final of the Herts Senior Cup.

Dom Petrucci scored from the spot and then netted his second with a stunning strike from 40 yards to give SSML Premier Division side Hadley a 2-0 lead.

However, much like in the round before when City fell three goals behind and fought back to beat Cheshunt, the Saints scored before the break through John Frendo and twice after - trialist Michael Malcolm equalised from close range and Frendo headed in a late winner - to secure joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds’ first Senior Cup semi-final.

St Albans came into the game against a team three league below them with a strong starting line-up featuring Sam Corcoran, James Comley, Omar Beckles and David Keenleyside while also giving opportunities to two trialists, right back Connor Roberts and striker Michael Malcolm.

Saints dominated the possession during the early stages but the first real chance came from Hadley as Petrucci thumped the crossbar from a free-kick. Shorlty after Petrucci opened the scoring from the spot following a rash challenge from Jack Green.

Hadley’s lead was soon doubled, again through Petrucci, after he pounced onto a loose ball and delivering a wonderful 45-yard strike which sailed over the head of Tom Coulton, leaving him with no chance. Hadley then came close with Alan Murray striking the woodwork from outside the box.

Saints had failed to capitalise on possession and were staring down the barrel of a 2-0 deficit going into half-time. However, through Jack Green’s clever footwork in midfield and a perfectly weighted pass, Saints claimed one back just before the break through Frendo.

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Soon into the second half Saints levelled the scores through a left footed strike from David Keenleyside, clipping Michael Malcolm on the way.

Saints were starting to gain more control of the game with Keenleyside moving to a more central position in midfield and some creative link up play with Malcolm and Frendo saw them come close on many occasions. Nevertheless, Hadley kept on creating chances and a sloppy mistake from Keenleyside nearly allowed Jernade Meade to capitalise.

Saints had consistent possession during the second half but were lacking a clinical edge in the final third of the pitch. They did eventually take the lead with a beautiful cross field pass from Keenleyside to Yearwood who then sent in a looping cross to Frendo, finishing it off with a well-timed header into the bottom corner.

Hadley were not giving up and at no point was this game wrapped up. In the final 10 minutes Hadley had the opportunity to level the scores as Petrucci went one-on-one with Coulton following a miscommunication at the back but sent the shot miles wide.

In the end Saints were victorious and deserved the win but credit to Hadley who put up a valiant and exciting quarter-final tie.