Five things we saw in St Albans City's FA Cup replay win at Worthing
PUBLISHED: 06:53 26 September 2019
It was an awful journey down to the south coast but there was some lovely scenery to view and once at Woodside Road there was a good performance and much-needed 3-1 win for St Albans City as well. But what did Herts Advertiser's Neil Metcalfe make of the FA Cup replay. He explains what caught his eye here.
1) Ian Allinson - A few weeks ago we interviewed him following Saints' dismal 4-1 defeat by Weymouth and I was struck by something. In all the years we have spoken to him that was probably the first time I felt he looked a little lost. He has a habit of repeating answers, no problem with that - everyone has some tick that appears during interviews, but after the loss to the Terras he seemed to be doing it more than usual, almost like he was searching for the correct words and the correct solution. Not so here. Even if he was feeling generally under the weather, this was the positive and chirpy Ian Allinson we have seen so often and one who was dead certain about what he was doing and where he was going. Maybe, just maybe, this result will be the reset everybody needs.
2) Positive - That is one feeling that I have not felt a lot of covering St Albans this season but driving back from Worthing and even over the last 24 hours or so I've realised I'm fairly chipper. And if that's how I feel then lord only knows what an actual Saints supporter has been going through. There were a lot of good things to take from the win, the success itself a welcome result. There were players coming back into the team after absences and some of the football was neat, tidy and impressive. I'm sure some will point out the opposition are from a lower league but speaking as someone who watches football lower down the pyramid I can tell you there are some fine teams down there. Worthing are one of them and they played some attractive football themselves so this result should be taken in that context.
3) Injuries - One of the positives to come out of the game was the return of some of the longer-term injured players, primarily Zane Banton and Scott Shulton. Both played 90 minutes here, Zane his first full match since breaking his leg, and both looked impressive. Add Solomon Nwabuokei and David Noble to the mix and if City can clear up the niggles surrounding Joe Howe, Tom Bender and possibly now Oli Sprague too, then Ian Allinson will have plenty of options to keep things fresh. That's what he was after here and with five changes he got it.
4) FA Cup run - The boss stressed the importance of a good cup run with the financial implications intrinsically liked to his thinking. The last two campaigns have seen City fail to reach the first round proper, with last year's exit at Taunton particularly galling. But remembering back to those games against Grimsby and Carlisle shows what can be achieved by a good run. Weymouth will be tough but after that win at Clarence Park a couple of week's ago, they will be marked as the favourites for this one. That may just play into City's favour.
5) Plastic pitch - One moan, other than the drive there, was the artificial pitch. I'm not a big fan of most of them, even if they are 100 times better than the ones I remember from my youth. This one was chock-full of the rubber crumb and it didn't play true with some very odd bounces. Players and management seemed ok with it and Allinson said that after a brief deluge during half-time it played a lot better and suited Saint's game. But if heavily watering it is the best way to get it to play then that seems like a lot of trouble and strife to put yourself through, even if the financial perks of installing one are undeniable.