'Merson's finishing was the difference' says St Albans City's boss after thumping East Thurrock win
PUBLISHED: 13:56 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:56 28 January 2018
Four-goal Sam Merson took the plaudits from St Albans City manager Ian Allinson after the 7-2 win over East Thurrock United but the Saints' boss also felt the result flattered them slightly.
The first 30 minutes saw the lead change hands twice but a sending off for Thurrock’s Marvin Ekpetita put City firmly in the driving seat.
Merson had already out them a goal up and he went on to add another three, with Percy Kiangebeni, Charlie Walker and Zane Banton adding to the tally.
And Allinson was delighted for his striker, who has now scored 13 in the league this year and 17 in all competitions.
He said: “I’m pleased for Sam as he’s gone through a hard time since Christmas in terms of the awful challenge he got at Hemel, which went unpunished and left a lot of damage to the Achilles.
“And just when I thought we were getting him back at Harrogate, he went down with a chest infection.
“That set him back but he came in and looked really sharp on Thursday and we thought long and hard about whether to start him but his performance was outstanding, his movement was outstanding and you’ve seen the one that hit both posts, he could quite easily have had five.
“He needed it as he’s had a hard time and it was good for him, he’s been a little down in himself so it’s good for him and great for the team.
“Good luck to him, he’s deserved it.”
Allinson admitted, however, that the game itself swung on the two yellow cards picked up by Thurrock’s number five.
He said: “It was a tough game and full credit to them because when it was 11 v 11 I thought they outplayed us and deserved to be in front and it could have been worse than 2-1.
“We weathered the first few minutes, got ourselves ahead through a great goal by Sam and Zane Banton probably should have made it 2-0.
“They then had a spell of 10 minutes where they scored two goals and could have two or three more quite easily.
“But the sending off changed the game massively.
Full credit to the players who then punished East Thurrock with their finishing and Sam Merson’s finishing was probably the difference between the two sides.
“I thought their front two in the first 25 minutes were the best I’ve seen all season.
“I felt they caused us loads of problems, their pace and movement and everything they did was spot on and I felt we got a little bit lucky.
“But let’s take it. It’s nice to be back in the play-offs, it’s nice to score seven goals and I didn’t realise it was as far back as 1994 since we scored seven at home in the league.
“Let’s enjoy it as there are going to be a lot more games tighter than that as the season moves on.”