St Albans City’s hopes of play-offs hit by Weymouth draw
ST ALBANS City threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Weymouth at Clarence Park this afternoon (Saturday).
The result saw The Saints slim play-off hopes diminish further; they head to fellow Southern League Premier Division play-off chasers Chesham United on Easter Monday for a must-win encounter.
Second half goals from Howard Newton and Sean Shields looked to have put the hosts on the way to three points against the Terras following a goalless first 45 minutes.
They could and should have been three up, but striker Sakho Bakare somehow fired wide when clean through.
The miss was to prove costly for David Howell’s side as sub Matt Ford struck five minutes after coming off the bench to give his side a chance of rescuing a point.
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They did just that on 88 minutes as Craig Duff’s powerful diving header beat City keeper Nick Jupp to the disbelief of the home faithful.
The Terras could have gone ahead in the opening minute of the match, but Byron Napper was unable to convert from close range.
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St Albans struggled to get March player of the month Bakare on the ball, with David Ijaha over-hitting a through pass when looking for the forward on one occasion.
Weymouth left winger Jamie Beasley knocked the ball across field to Craig Duff on the other flank, he touched the ball into the middle of the park where Ollie Tribe struck first time from 25 yards straight at Jupp on 11 minutes.
The away side then went close from a corner as Duff’s far post diving header from Stephen Reed’s set piece flew wide of the target.
For the hosts Sean Shields did see some of the ball on the right, regularly beating full-back Scott Dixon, but failing to deliver the killer cross.
Shields did whip a dangerous corner into the visitors’ six-yard box at the end of the half, it caused havoc before being hacked clear.
Right on the stroke of half-time a Weymouth defender had to clear the ball from under his own cross-bar as Cedric Ngakam connected to a Newton ball in.
St Albans came storming out for the second period and took the lead as a move down the left flank resulted in the ball dropping for Newton.
From the edge of the box his looping effort sailed over keeper Alex Hards and into the top left corner.
Continued pressure then saw Shields pick out Simon Martin at the near post, he turned and fired off target from eight yards.
Shields was at it again minutes later dribbling down the right before thumping an effort against the bar, Bakare’s follow up was blocked.
Bakare twisted and turned in the box on 58 minutes before slashing his effort wildly over.
At the other end Duff jinked his way down the left before unleashing a 25 yard attempt straight to Jupp.
City’s second did arrive as Martin flicked the ball on to Shields on the right.
He cut inside Dixon and fired low into the bottom right corner.
In a rare Weymouth attack during that period Jupp saved from Duff after a mistake from Moussa Diarra had let him in.
With 20 minutes to go Bakare should have added the third before the Weymouth fight back began.
Firstly Ford latched on to a Reed effort to divert past Jupp.
With their tails up Weymouth could sense a leveller and they got it as Duff’s diving header from Reed’s super cross denied St Albans all three points.