St Albans City boss Allinson 'gutted' by last-gasp loss at leaders

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

St Albans City boss Ian Allinson admitted he was 'gutted' for his players after their late 3-2 defeat at National League South leaders Maidstone United on Saturday.

Saints hit back from going two goals down inside seven minutes to level at the Gallagher Stadium thanks to a Shaun Jeffers brace.

But they were left empty-handed and contemplating a fifth successive defeat after Johl Powell struck in the sixth minute of injury time to claim all three points for Stones.

"I'm obviously very, very disappointed and gutted for the players," Allinson told the club website.

"Everyone's heads on the floor. It's taken a mammoth effort over the past six weeks, with Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday and we've gone toe-to-toe with a full-time team that is top of the league and lost out in the 97th minute to a goal I feel we could stop.

"We haven't defended well enough and it's such a shame because we've had a crazy first five minutes, we speak at length about some of the things we do in those five minutes and I use the word naivety in the changing rooms. Maybe we're just too young."

Less than two minutes had been played when Sam Corne took advantage of a poor clearance to open the scoring and it was 2-0 on seven minutes as Jerome Binnon-Williams fired home a low free-kick.

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But Jeffers hit back on 26 minutes, after a mix-up in the home defence, and headed home his 25th goal of the season to square matters early in the second half.

Shaun Jeffers scored both goals for St Albans City against leaders Maidstone

Shaun Jeffers scored both goals for St Albans City against leaders Maidstone - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

It looked like City would claim an excellent point, until Christie Pattisson cut the ball back for Powell to squeeze a shot past Michael Johnson for a last-gasp winner.

And Allinson added: "I felt we didn't manage the game early on and didn't manage it late on. But inbetween that spell, I thought we were outstanding, got back in the game and could have gone on and won it if we'd kept the ball a bit better.

"I'm immensely proud of what the players have done and immensely proud of the crowd we've had today, we still had some numbers, but just really disappointed, personally for the club and players because they've gone toe-to-toe and just fell short a little bit at the end."

Saints now face a break from league action - although they host Dagenham & Redbridge in a Game for Ukraine fundraiser friendly on Saturday - before a trip to Hungerford Town on April 9.

And Allinson praised his players for their endeavours during a difficult run, adding: "We've lost six and drawn one of the last seven. Have we been totally outplayed, outfought, outbattled? No, we haven't.

"I just think in that period some of the mistakes we didn't make at the beginning of the season, we've now gone and made them.

"I said it eight, nine weeks ago. No-one is ever going to be allowed to criticise this team for lack of effort, because their effort is outstanding.

"The commitment to training, the commitment to work-rate, we just might not be quite good enough in terms of both boxes and I think it has told again."