Memories of Stortford pain should lead to St Albans gain says Tom Bender
- Credit: JIM STANDEN
Tom Bender says the memories of last year's exit from the FA Cup should be used to make sure it doesn't happen again.
A 3-1 win over Metropolitan Police on Tuesday night, the sides replaying after a 0-0 draw on Saturday, has put St Albans City into the fourth qualifying round, one game from a chance meeting with a League One or Two side in the first round proper.
And like a year ago, when step three Bishop's Stortford shocked them with a 2-0 win, they have been paired with another side from the Isthmian League Premier Division, this one Corinthian Casuals.
And the thought of that defeat to their Hertfordshire rivals has Bender more than determined to avoid a repeat.
He said: "Getting to the first round proper when you are a non-league club is the benchmark everyone sets themselves.
"We said that last season and we had a good opportunity to do so.
"If you could handpick a draw, you probably always pick teams in the league below but Stortford were better than us last year and they got through.
"When it came to our first qualifying game this season, we set the benchmark again.
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"A lot of the boys were here last year and we need to draw on that experience and remember how much it hurt when we lost.
"We need to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
Two first-half goals from Shaun Jeffers was followed by Zane Banton sealing the win after Jack Mazzone had pulled one back.
Bender was happy with the victory, if not the performance.
He said: "Ian made his thoughts clear in the changing room and we knew on the pitch that it was far from perfect and it was far from what we expect and shown in the last few games.
"But it is the FA Cup and it is just about getting through to the next round.
"It was good that we scored just before half-time, it would have taken the wind out of the sails, and we knew they would have nothing to lose and press us in the second half.
"We’re not going to keep a clean sheet every week but the pleasing thing for me is we got goals.
"I feel our finishing has been poor and we haven’t killed teams off when we should have so three goals is pleasing."