Five talking points following St Albans City draw with Dorking Wanderers
PUBLISHED: 16:49 18 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 18 August 2019
It was better than Tuesday night's horror show against Braintree Town, it would have been difficult not to be, but the 1-1 draw with Dorking Wanderers was a case of could have won but should have lost. Herts Advertiser's Neil Metcalfe tries to unpick through all that in his reflection on the game.
1) Formation - Ian Allinson made two changes to Tuesday night's team, bringing in Dave Diedhiou and David Noble while relegating Sam Merson and Tom Bender to the bench.
The introduction of Diedhiou as the defensive midfielder was arguably the choice that should have been made for the Braintree game. As important as Bender is to the Saints, finding a place for him when the former Hendon man is available, and more than well suited to the holding role, wasn't the right call.
Fair's fair though as the boss admitted as much after the game, although most of the debate was made moot by the injury to Oli Sprague in the first half.
The formation certainly seemed to suit City better and while it wasn't all champagne and flowers, they did create much more and looked far more of a threat going forward. Time to stick with it and get that win.
2) Rhys Murrell-Williamson - Many have been calling for the winger to be given a chance, having only featured fleetingly off the bench so far this year. May have been the one to turn this game in St Albans' favour but was left frustrated again after the early injury to Sprague and then Allinson opting for Albert Adu and Sam Merson to close the game out.
He has looked eager to please in those rare appearances this year, perhaps too keen at times, but he is such a talent and everybody in the league knows what he can do when given the chance. However, knowing what the mercurial man is going to do is one thing, stopping him is entirely different.
If he can add just a little bit to the defensive side of the game it will be only a matter of when, not if, he is given his chance to shine. Won't be long surely?
3) That first win - I put it to Ian after the game that maybe the pressure of delivering that first win is getting to the players. He avoided answering it directly but did admit that too many draws will be a bad thing and to climb the table they need to pick up three points on a regular basis.
But that first success, or lack of it, certainly seems to be a worry for the fans with a number openly questioning where and when it will come. Billericay and Concord over the bank holiday weekend don't seem to the perfect teams to be playing when you are desperate for a win but then again this is St Albans we're talking about and even with a slightly different team, you half expect them to raise their game when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.
If it doesn't come in the next seven days then an away trip to fellow strugglers Slough Town at the end of the month acquires even greater importance. The relief of a potential game against a lower-ranked team in the FA Cup is still a long way in the distance.
4) Changes - Talking of Billericay reminds me of last year's contest, played on the same weekend. Harold Joseph's sending-off at 2-0 up signaled a collapse there and ultimately a new broom sweeping out a couple.
The boss is mentioning changes in personnel again as well, although that was more a case of bringing someone in rather than bodies leaving. However, by logical extension, you would assume one would automatically lead to another.
There is a growing injury list at the club with Scott Shulton seeing a consultant on Tuesday over his troublesome heel and Solomon Nwaboukei already a big miss in the middle of the park. Zane Banton remains at least a couple of weeks away despite returning to full training on Thursday following his broken leg so new faces may lift the gloom or add a park at the very least.
It sounded like Allinson had someone in mind though so for now watch this space.
5) Steve King - We had a surprise guest sitting next to us in the press box, the former Whitehawk and Welling United manager Steve King who was doing a spot of commentary for the Surrey side.
Now most people will say he's an argumentative and irritating little so and so when he's on the opposition bench, and to be fair he said something similar about himself on Saturday, but listening in to one or two of his thoughts during the game it struck me how reasonable and well-informed he was.
I mean it's obvious when you think about it. You don't become a successful manager without having a good knowledge of the game, but I still found myself surprised by it.
Whatever next? Maybe I'll think Mike Ashley is a genius when it comes to running a football club? Then again, maybe not…