Ian Allinson looking for better defensively after pre-season loss to Stevenage

Michael Johnson claims a cross in the pre-season friendly with Stevenage.

Michael Johnson claims a cross in the pre-season friendly with Stevenage. - Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO

St Albans City manager Ian Allinson was disappointed with the goals conceded as they lost to Stevenage in their second pre-season friendly.

A Jake Taylor strike and an own-goal right at the death gave the League Two side a 2-0 win at a sun-drenched Clarence Park.

And despite the kick-off being brought forward two hours to avoid the excessive heat of the afternoon, it still proved a tough game for both sets of players.

The City boss though wasn't using that as an excuse and felt the goals conceded tarnished what was an impressive overall defensive performance.

"I’m disappointed with the way our ball retention was," he said. "I feel that we didn’t keep the ball well enough especially in the first half. Second half we started to get a bit more possession.

"I’m disappointed with both goals really, because I feel we defended really well for long periods.

"I don’t think our shape was good enough for the first goal, in terms of we didn’t get our lines right and we got caught out.

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“For the second goal, we have to do better from corners defensively. We didn’t clear the ball on the near post area and we let it drift in.

"But, overall, fitness levels are all that matters at the moment."

It was a tough slog in the heat for the Saints players, and with temperatures expected to reach 37 degrees on Tuesday when Saints travel to Enfield Town, Allinson plans to be cautious with his players.

He said: "We know it’s going to be hot, we’ve just got to make sure we get enough fluids into the players and if anyone feels under the weather we’ll make sure to leave them out."

Joy Mukena was the only player to play 90 minutes against Stevenage but Allinson insisted this was purely for fitness reasons, rather than due to a lack of depth in that area of the pitch.

He said: "Michael Clark had 90 minutes on Tuesday night [against Harpenden], Joy’s had 90 minutes here and Callum will probably get 90 minutes on Tuesday.

"It’s just about trying to get 90 minutes into the players legs.

"Joy missed a training session, so he’s one behind, Chez only played 45 minutes but he’s missed a couple of training sessions because of his back.

"We’ve got to try to get these boys up to speed as quickly as possible."