St Albans City scrap their way through to the FA Cup first round

Sam Merson continued his hot streak against Egham Town. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Sam Merson continued his hot streak against Egham Town. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

Sam Merson’s hotstreak continues as St Albans City booked their place in the FA Cup first round draw with a 1-0 win over Egham Town – but it was tougher than expected.

Merson’s fifth in the last three games put City ahead in the first half but they had to scrap it out in the second half against the Southern League Division One Central opponents, two levels below Saints.

Chances were at a premium for the opening 29 minutes before Merson’s goal.

Matt Ball had an early effort cleared off the line and Merson himself brought a good save out of Jamie Norris in the Egham goal.

For the 10 minutes after the goal however there was a glut of chances, mostly to the goalscorer.

His pace got him through on more than one occasion, usually from a Theophanous pass from left to right over his shoulder.

City’s top scorer also had a chance but uncharacteristically sliced wide.

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Egham did have a couple of half chances with Chris Moore’s overhead kick that drifted wide the best of them.

But going in at the break City knew, even with a good sized and boisterous travelling army behind them, they needed a second.

And with 15 minutes to go that was most certainly the case.

Egham were much brighter in the second period and City were definitely rattled.

A header from Brendan Matthew from a few yards out bounced up and hit the bar, although he was totally unaware as it came through and hit him.

James Russell also had to make a smart save at the foot of his right post from Reece Yorke.

For City there wasn’t much too shout about with the bench getting more agitated by the minute.

The Saints fans though kept up their constant noise and as rain replaced the bright sunshine City had a number of half chances.

Shaun Lucien had a free-kick tipped over the bar while Theophanous went close.

Egham still had one great chance in added time but Lee Grant miscued when he was 10 yards out.

The final whistle brought a cheer from the fans but more of a sigh of relief from the players and staff.

Either way it is St Albans City who are in the draw fro the first round proper on Monday evening.

City: Russell, Casey, Herd, Chappell, Hill, Martin, Lucien (Akinyemi 84), Thomas. Theophanous, Merson, Ball (Hoenes 76)

Subs (not used): Nolan, Noble, Iwediuno, Komadikis, Pope

Goals: Merson 29

Egham Town: Norris, Sulamiman (Walker 62), Cousins (Henry 84), Yorke, Grant, Daly, Webb, Carey (Berry 88), Moore, Matthew, Pashaj

Subs (not used): Parsons, Jospeh, Gurretridge, Reading


Half-time score: Egham Town 0 St Albans City 1

Attendance: 327

Referee: Lloyd Wood