FA Trophy to provide the catalyst for Saints in second half of the year hopes boss

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 December 2017

Sam Merson scores a late equaliser for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Sam Merson scores a late equaliser for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

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Ian Allinson is expecting another tough game on Saturday as he takes his St Albans City team to Whitehawk in the FA Trophy but believes if they can start converting their many chances on a more regular basis, the New Year could see plenty of glory.

Zane Banton's header was well saved by Jack Stevens. Picture: BOB WALKLEYZane Banton's header was well saved by Jack Stevens. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Saints were held to a 1-1 draw in Brighton in October, which was Steve King’s first game back in charge at the Enclosed Ground, but since then the south coast club have failed to kick on and sit bottom of the Vanarama National League South with just four draws to their name.

But the City boss is still confident of a victory which could help kick-start their season.

He said: “It was a tough game and he hasn’t added to the squad since then.

“We’ve got the slope to deal with and you don’t know what the pitch will be like after the bad weather.

Kieran Monlouis battles for possession. Picture: BOB WALKLEYKieran Monlouis battles for possession. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“But it’s a great opportunity to get into the last 32 and a great opportunity to have the cup as a carrot going into January.

“We’ve got a tough run of games before the next round and nothing’s being taken easy.”

He pointed towards their struggles turning chances into goals as being the key to victory.

Those problems raised their head again on Saturday as despite laying siege to the Oxford City goal in the second half, they only had Sam Merson’s late equaliser and a 1-1 draw to show for their efforts.

Ben Herd & Rhys Murrell-Williamson celebrate with Sam Merson. Picture: LEIGH PAGEBen Herd & Rhys Murrell-Williamson celebrate with Sam Merson. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Allinson said: “It’s a season we’ll probably look back on and think how many good areas have we got into and how many chances have we had and we’ve not finished teams off.

“As a team we should be scoring a lot more goals than we have considering the chances we’ve created.

“We’ve had three or four good chances in areas by the byline [against Oxford] where we’ve not picked out the right option.

“And the players have done great to get there. They’ve worked ever so hard and the pattern of play has been good to get us in those areas but then the final ball, final cross or final shot has been poor.

Kieran Monlouis is unable to find a way through a crowded Oxford penalty area. Picture: LEIGH PAGEKieran Monlouis is unable to find a way through a crowded Oxford penalty area. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“For me it’s not just today though, it’s been like that all season.

“That’s why we’ve got to keep working with these players but trust me, if you see these boys in training their finishing is unbelievable.

“Hopefully one day it will click in the game.”

But Allinson also knows there are plenty of positives to build on in the second half of the season.

Rhys Murrell-WIlliamson in action against Oxford City. Picture: LEIGH PAGERhys Murrell-WIlliamson in action against Oxford City. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“If we keep performing like we are and creating the chances like we are, our season will turn around,” he stressed.

“We might have to bring one or two in just to liven the squad up and make us a little bit more robust.

“But five points off the top of the table with half the games gone, we’d have taken that.

“It’s those who keep their nerve and keep their composure who will profit.”

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