National League South
Hemel Hempstead Town
St Albans City
Shaun Jeffers 74, 85
Sweet smell of success comes after derby joy at Hemel for St Albans City
- Credit: JIM STANDEN
Ian Allinson was delighted St Albans City fans got to celebrate a "sweet" payback win over bitter rivals Hemel Hempstead Town.
Two stunning second-half goals from Shaun Jeffers earned his side a 2-0 victory at Vauxhall Road in a match with very few chances.
And City boss Allinson revealed that painful memories of the 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture at the beginning of January fuelled a terrific team performance.
"I felt the way they celebrated beating us at home was a little disrespectful," he said.
"Some of the comments that were made I felt were wrong at the time, but I didn’t say anything.
"I kept them to myself and that was my team talk tonight: Remember what happened back at ours on January 2 because there were some things said that day about COVID that some of our players had.
"For me it was right for the crowd to have something to celebrate because they’ve been fantastic all season.
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"Tonight, they got behind the players from the first whistle and it was nice to give them an opportunity to celebrate a win, especially on the road and at your derby which made it even sweeter."
The travelling fans erupted when Jeffers struck with 16 minutes remaining, arrowing an unstoppable strike from 25 yards into the top left corner.
His second came 10 minutes later when he wriggled past a challenge and expertly reversed the ball low to the keeper’s right.
“His two goals were fantastic," said Allinson. "They were magnificent. To go four games without scoring was a bit of a barren run for him.
"But when you’ve got a forward like him in your side, you know that at some stage he’s going to come good.
“But I thought overall it was a proper team performance, from Michael [Johnson] in goal right the way through to Shaun."
After a fairly even first half in which Hemel probably had the better of the chances, Saints emerged from the tunnel on the front foot.
The boss said: "We were really trying to get them a bit braver on the ball. The first half was really 100 miles an hour, it was all over the place and no one really had any time on the ball.
“But in the second half we got a little bit more into an area and relaxed on the ball. That made a massive difference to us."
The result boosts St Albans back up into the play-off places and up to seventh, level on points with last Saturday’s opponents Dulwich Hamlet but with a couple of games in hand.
Allinson is not getting carried away though ahead of the visit of Bath to Clarence Park on Saturday.
He said: "Yes, I’ll enjoy tonight, enjoy tomorrow, but then we’ve got to start planning for Bath.
“We know how tough this league is. We lost at home to Braintree who are second from bottom so it’s no good us thinking by winning here, the job’s done on Saturday."