Player ratings: St Albans City lose to Ebbsfleet United but who was their star man?

Joy Mukena's header for St Albans City against Ebbsfleet United was pulled back for climbing.

Joy Mukena's header for St Albans City against Ebbsfleet United was pulled back for climbing. - Credit: JIM STANDEN

For 70 minutes St Albans City had this game going just the way they wanted.

In the end one slice of fortune was enough to give Ebbsfleet United the 1-0 win and keep them high in the National League South play-off race, fourth to be precise.

But while the entertainment factor was probably in the negative figures, did the tactical display impress me or not. This is how I rated the home players in the loss at Clarence Park.

Michael Johnson - 6

The ball slipped underneath him but there was deflections and fortune that sent it on its way towards him. One fortuate escape when he missed a punch, he made two decent saves in the first half.

Tom Bender - 7

Beaten in the lunge for the loose ball that led to the goal but no blame attached there. Everything else was done comfortably and looked to be more than enough for at least a point.

Kyran Wiltshire -  6

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Is there to tackle and disrupt and did that to a fairly decent level. Nothing special but if you're doing what is asked and doing it comfortably, not more you can ask. 

Michael Clark - 5

Stuck out a right back and is still fighting back from injury but his fitness levels, and tactical handcuffs, meant he wasn't able to get up and down the wing and be a threat in attack. Did OK in defence but no more than that.

Shaun Jeffers - 5

Ran a lone furrow at times but was never given the service he thrives on. Caught in possession far too much too and looks half the man he was in November. Confidence must be restored and soon. 

Zane Banton - 6

There was some really positive runs and moments from him but never seemed to believe. Needs to trust his ability and shoot, run and cross with a care-free abandon. Has been in better form recently though which bodes well for the run-in.

Huw Dawson - 5

Was a given a job to disrupt and did it to a point I guess but this was not a good performance. Still a young lad and will learn much over the next few years and improve. Chalk this up as part of the learning curve.

Mitchell Weiss - 6

There was passion in there and he runs his heart out but needs to have more of a presence up front. No point doing the hard work on the halfway line of in his own half. Has to score more, has to assist more.

Joy Mukena - 7

Like Bender, his centre-half partner, he looked in control for the most part. There was some heart palpations at times but he got out of trouble more times than not.

John Goddard - 5

Went through the motions a lot and saw the ball a fair bit but none of it gave Saints an edge. He is the playmaker of this team, like it or not. Must be better than fancy flicks which he tries in the first half and failed to come off. 

Cameron Green - 6 

Few good tackles but didn't show anywhere near enough to say he can challenge for a place in the Wrexham team when his loan is up. That, if nothing else, needs to be 

Substitutes

A triple change with 10 minutes to go gave a spark of hope, and then it fizzled and faded as quickly as it arrived. Too late or lacking in belief. Little bit of both perhaps but subs are meant to be game changers. This three didn't do that.

Summary

My word, was this a poor game of football. Done for a reason, I get that, but there will be some in the Clarence Park crowd that will think twice and probably three times about coming back.

I was therefore delighted to hear Ian Allinson talk about "letting the shackles off". Let this team attack, let them run at defences, let them cross the ball and attack the goal. That's when they are at their best.

There are only three home games left so if it s going to be done, it really needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Chances are Hungerford away on April 9 will be the first team the reins come off. Hopefully that is not too late.