Preview: Reds in the way of Saints and second
PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 February 2014
St Albans City are finally starting to show their true colours, according to the team’s left back Lee Chappell.
City are third in the league and have a chance to move up to second with a win over Redditch United at Clarence Park on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.
“Excellent” runs in the FA Cup and Trophy competitions saw the club fall behind on fixtures but they have made up the deficit up and are now in the mix to win the league.
“We’ve finally caught up on games and we’re showing our true colours,” Chappell told the Herts Ad.
“After 31 games we’re joint second. For a brand new team that doesn’t have an established identity that’s a fantastic position. We need to keeping putting the pressure on because we’re finally ahead on games so now it’s up to the other teams to win.”
He continued: “Ever since we starting picking up wins regularly, we’ve seen more managers scoping us out at games. It’s building for a fun and exciting end to the season.”
Standing in the way of second place is Redditch United. City won the first meeting 3-1 but it took two late strikes from John Frendo, who also scored the first goal, and James Kaloczi to make the game safe.
Chappell remembers the game well, and knows what the Saints need to do to ensure three points in front of the City faithful.
“The pitch was wonky and the conditions were bad,” the former Wealdstone man recalled.
“It was a game where we almost made it too easy in the first half and then in the second we took a pummelling. Luckily, I was able to whip in a cross for Ben Martin to knock down to James Kaloczi and he fired in.
“[Redditch] are a difficult team to play against but if we can hit the ground running the game will go our way, if not then they might box us in and beat us up.”
He added: “We’re always confident going into any game. You just look around the changing room and see the ability in there.
“We have to play our own game. The managers always preach keeping the ball; that’s what we have got to do. We have to control the game and take our chances. There’s no point in passing the ball to death and not scoring; that’s not going to hurt teams. We need to move the ball, get them tired and hit the net.”
As the player with the most appearances on the team (45), Chappell has a unique perspective on the season having been the only consistent part of an ever-changing back four.
However, in the last three games City have stuck with Ben Martin, Tom Ward, Chappell and either Kerrea Gilbert or Howard Hall at right back and the results have been obvious to see.
“With no disrespect to anyone, we’ve had some consistency in the back four,” he explained.
“Our defensive line was all over the place away at Bideford but we, as a defence, spoke about it and [against Chippenham] we were catching them offside a lot because we know what to expect of each other.”
Knowing what each other will do on the pitch and gelling off it has been a long process for City, and Chappell admitted it’s on-going, but it’s coming together at the right time and the team is showing what it can do.