St Albans City leave it ridiculously late again before snatching victory over Poole Town
- Credit: Archant
A few weeks ago I said that should St Albans City get to the play-offs or promotion then people would remember their late-late show against Chippenham Town as a pivotal moment.
Well now they will have to add this 2-1 success over Poole Town to the list.
Saints were a shadow of the team that had gone into the game on the back of two solid away wins at Concord Rangers and Weston-super-Mare.
But against all odds they somehow managed to grab all three points and the looks on the faces of the Poole Town players at the final whistle spoke volumes.
A bizarre equaliser had brought City level after Marvin Brooks had put the relegation-threatened visitors ahead in the first half.
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A long clearance up the left wing saw Rhys Murrell-Williamson sprint away from inside his own half.
But as he turned he was met by the unlikely figure of Nick Hutchings, the Dolphins keeper, coming to tackle him a good 45 yards from goal.
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However, the Saints man got to the ball first and poked it through the keeper’s legs and over the next few seconds it rolled agonisingly into the corner.
But then with just 30 seconds of added time left, Saints grabbed the winner.
Percy Kiangebeni appeared at the near post to bundle it in after a corner was headed back across the box by a Poole defender.
It was a goal that saw Clarence Park erupt.
And they needed an excuse because simply put, for the most part this was not good enough from St Albans.
Ian Allinson wanted this to be the game where the fans carried the team into the play-offs.
But from the word go there was a muted, almost eerie feel around City’s home.
Not that you could really blame the fans because the fare that was being offered on the pitch was nothing to get you excited.
Saints were lifeless from the start and Dean Snedker was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers.
He had to make saves from James Constable and Michael Walker in the opening 20 minutes as well as punching clear from a corner.
At the other end one shot from Antonio German, which was easy for Hutchings to gather, was the best Saints could muster.
A Zane Banton dribble across the field summed things up as he passed up a number of opportunities to lay it off and keep the move going before losing it.
As it happened that came roughly 60 seconds before Brooks swept the ball in from the edge of the area.
City have made a habit of scoring late goals to kill games off in recent weeks but at half-time they needed a massive swing from lacklustre to intense before that could happen.
And there was a swing in the second half, although nothing that would have got Peter Snow excited.
In fact Poole could have put the game out of sight for the hosts but they found Snedker in great form again, kicking Constable’s shot away.
But from there Hutchings’ rush of blood gave them an unlikely way back into the game.
And afterwards City looked a bit better.
Sam Merson should have put them ahead within minutes but side-footed Murrell-Williamson’s cross wide of the post from eight yards.
Then a long throw saw Sendles-White fail to connect properly and the ball went wide.
And it looked as if their one big chance had gone when Merson headed inches over from Tom Bender’s cross two minutes after the 90 had elapsed.
But then came yet another late twist in this strange promotion chase. – one that may again prove vital.
St Albans City: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Noble (Merson 60), Gardiner, Sendles-White, Murrell-Williamson, Sambou, German (Kiangebeni 77), Monlouis, Banton (Lucien 84)
Subs (not used): Bradbury, Lucien, Walker
Goal: Murrell-Williamson 69, Kiangebeni 90+4
Poole Town: Hutchings, Moore, Smeeton, Walker (Gillespie 85), Whisken, Pettefer, Balmer, Devlin, Constable, Brooks, Bentley (Otodeko 77)
Subs (not used): Rees, Waters, Lindsay
Goal: Brooks 38
HT: St Albans City 0 Poole Town 1
Referee: Paul Howard