St Albans City 'got away with it' says boss after snatching FA Cup replay at Corinthian Casuals
- Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY
St Albans City "got away with it" after forcing a replay in the FA Cup with Corinthian Casuals with almost the last kick of the game.
The National League South Saints were trailing 1-0 at King George's Field to an Alfie Bendle goal on 72 minutes and looked destined to go out to lower-league opposition for the fourth time in four years.
But Dave Diedhiou's equaliser, with just 17 seconds of the additional four minutes to go, made it 1-1 and saved their bacon and put them into the draw for the first round proper for the first time in five years.
It sparked wild celebrations among the travelling City support but manager Ian Allinson knows that if they are actually going to play in that round, they need to be so much better in Tuesday's replay.
The boss said: "It was a poor performance. We didn’t raise any level of energy or competitiveness or ability to handle the ball.
"They were better than us and deserved to win the game.
"We got away with it in the end but I’ll take it as there have been many times I’ve been on the end of a defeat and didn’t deserve it.
"These are no mugs though and we’ll have to pull ourselves round for Tuesday. We have to improve in all areas because we have not been good enough.
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"[The goal] was a great moment and I’m pleased, don’t get me wrong.
"I’m really happy for everyone but we were poor. We didn’t turn up and that’s a worry.
"It hasn’t happened so far this season, even in the defeats to Dartford and Dorking but we were second-best all over the park and they were better than us."
Diedhiou's effort was the first on target for Saints, in complete contrast to the home side who forced Michael Johnson into a couple of stops and also hit the post in the second period.
Saints may have had plenty of the ball but they were negligent with it and lacked any sort of intensity when faced with the sea of pink and brown shirts in front of them.
Allinson said: "They were very good at what they did but I didn’t think we were bright enough.
"None of our players in the front three or four were good enough, we didn’t move the ball quick enough.
"We had opportunities to go and break them down and go at them but we didn’t do that.
"We were forever coming back and passing it back to the goalkeeper.
"The energy levels were really poor and we have to be better than that going into Tuesday.
"The players said they felt fine before the game and maybe it is about how you prepare yourself.
"I felt we planned and prepared really well and the report we got was outstanding. It told us exactly where their strengths and weaknesses would be and we haven’t exploited any of that.
"The players have to look at themselves, I’ll certainly look at myself in the mirror to see what I can do better.
"We had to make changes to the shape during the game because it was slipping away from us.
"I don’t think we had a shot on target and that is a worry."
The replay is at Clarence Park on Tuesday night with a 7.45pm kick-off.
The draw for the first round proper comes tomorrow (Sunday).