Ugly game and defeat at Hemel not the start to the new year St Albans City had planned
- Credit: Archant
An “ugly game” and a result of an equally disappointing nature made it a miserable start to 2020 for St Albans City.
A solitary goal from home skipper Connor Essam three minutes after half-time gave Hemel Hempstead Town revenge for their Boxing Day loss at Clarence Park.
In keeping with the match it wasn't pretty, a deflection helping it on its way beyond Dean Snedker, but it summed up the contest as a whole for City boss Ian Allinson.
He said: "It was an ugly game to be involved with not much quality.
"Both sides struggled to create chances. We both went from back to front too quick and the one opportunity they got, which took a deflection I was told, got them the goal.
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"The rest of the game the ball was up in the air and it was generally not a good game to watch.
"Sometimes you have to scrap and pick up your 0-0 draws and 1-0 wins and they've had a little bit of luck.
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"That's been the story of our season at times."
Saints came into the match at Vauxhall Road with plenty of confidence even if their five-match unbeaten run, which included that post-Christmas success, had come to an end at National League South leaders Wealdstone.
The performance on that day, another 1-0 reverse, had seen Saints give it a real good go to recover a point.
That though was something that was lacking against their Hertfordshire rivals.
"You have to give them credit as they defended for their lives but we tried to hit Jefferson Louis too much and we didn't have enough width to our game," said a clearly down St Albans manager.
"Some of our players didn't look sharp and we have to be careful as it is the fifth game in 15 days and some of these players looked leggy.
"We never got to grips with the game and that's disappointing.
"It shows how far we've come that we've gone to Wealdstone and Hemel and come away disappointed.
"We've made some inroads and we have improved but there is a long way to go and we need to improve even more if we are to climb the table."