Diedhiou ‘missed playing’ but is back with a bang as Saints extend unbeaten run

PUBLISHED: 06:25 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:16 17 February 2020

David Diedhiou is delighted to be back in the St Albans City starting line-up. Picture: JIM STANDEN

David Diedhiou is delighted to be back in the St Albans City starting line-up. Picture: JIM STANDEN

Archant

David Diedhiou wasn’t being drawn into the coincidence of his return to the St Albans City squad and their upturn in fortunes – he’s just delighted to be back playing football.

Joe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENJoe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

The 30-year-old has endured a tough winter with a long period on the substitute's bench as Saints bounced around the bottom places in the National League South table.

Rohdell Gordon in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENRohdell Gordon in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

But he returned in the 3-0 success away to Bath City and played a starring role just in front of the back four as Saints drew 0-0 with Oxford City on Saturday, a third successive game without defeat if you include the Herts Senior Cup win over Royston Town with all three coming with clean sheets.

David Noble in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENDavid Noble in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"I've missed playing," he said. "Watching the boys is never a great feeling especially when we weren't winning but I've kept myself fit so that when I got back into the team I could make sure we didn't lose anymore.

Rohdell Gordon in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENRohdell Gordon in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"I'm just delighted to be back in the side. I respect the manager's decision, he has to do what he has to do to make the team win.

Rohdell Gordon in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENRohdell Gordon in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"But I'm back in now and I'm happy with the way I am performing. I just want to win games, that's what I like to do.

David Noble in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENDavid Noble in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"Fair play to the players and we've kept a clean sheet in three games.

Joe Iaciofano hits the crossbar for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENJoe Iaciofano hits the crossbar for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"It builds the confidence through the team. The boys believe in our abilities and we've got very good players who are more aware of what is happening.

Joe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENJoe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"We're going to keep working hard and keep earning more clean sheets and more wins."

Joe Iaciofano hits the crossbar for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENJoe Iaciofano hits the crossbar for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

Boss Ian Allinson was also quick to signal how well the former Hendon man has done in front of a rejuvenated defence.

David Longe-King in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENDavid Longe-King in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

He said: "We went with the partnership of David Longe-King and Tom Bender and we've got Lewis Gordon who's come in on the left and been excellent and Jamie Fielding who does a defensive job on the right.

David Noble in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENDavid Noble in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"But we have David Diedhiou, Solomon Nwabuokei and David Noble in front of them and that's a nice little threesome in terms of the way they attack and defend.

Joe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENJoe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"David Diedhiou has defended gallantly again. That's helped the back four in that they have someone who is sitting in front of them and protecting them and taking some pressure off them.

Joe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDENJoe Iaciofano in action for St Albans City in their 0-0 National League South draw with Oxford City at Clarence Park. Picture: JIM STANDEN

"There are positives from [the defensive] side and while I would have loved three points, one point is a positive too."

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