Sending off proves crucial but St Albans City still need to dig deep for a big win at Havant

Dean Snedker had to make two crucial saves in the closing stages to preserve the St Albans lead. Pic

Dean Snedker had to make two crucial saves in the closing stages to preserve the St Albans lead. Picture: JIM STANDEN - Credit: Archant

The sending-off of Danny Kedwell proved pivotal but St Albans City manager Ian Allinson was delighted with the response of his side as they picked up a 2-1 win at promotion-chasing Havant & Waterlooville.

Saints were trailing 1-0 when the home striker was dismissed for an apparent elbow on Tom Bender nine minutes into the second-half, a decision that infuriate the Westleigh Park crowd.

But City still had to work hard and goals from Sam Merson and Zane Banton earned them what could be a massive three points in their battle to beat relegation from National League South.

Allinson said: "I was under no illusions how tough it was going to be and I think we were a bit fortunate with the sending off.

"I haven't seen it yet but it allowed us to get back into the game, it allowed us to change our shape and we created good chances after the two goals.

"We set our stall out to keep the crowd quiet and we did.

"We didn't want to do anything that would antagonise them and give them a lift.

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"We're third from bottom and we can't come here and be gung-ho. We have to be disciplined, we have to defend in numbers and be organised and we've done that really well.

"The sending off has helped us go on and win it but it's also part of football.

"The referee has seen something and we can only leave it with him."

A swirling wind and a bumpy surface were other factors City had to contend with, aside from the talent in the Hawks squad.

And although Joe Iaciofano should have wrapped the game up late on, they also needed goalkeeper Dean Snedker to bail them out in the closing stages with full-length stops.

The City boss said: "Their manager will be the first to admit that the pitch doesn't help with the way they want to play.

"They are keeping the ball off the floor a lot but sometimes you have to play the conditions.

"At times we've played really well but we've still had to dig deep because they have put a lot of good quality into the box and they attacked the ball well.

"Dean has had to make two really good saves in that last 10 minutes just to keep it at 2-1 but I'll take the three points all day long, however it happened."

Saints are now up to 16th with three points separating eight teams at the foot of the table.