National League South: St Albans City held to draw by Eastbourne Borough

PUBLISHED: 16:57 25 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 August 2018

Ralston Gabriel put St Albans City ahead against Eastbourne Borough. Picture: Leigh Page

Ralston Gabriel put St Albans City ahead against Eastbourne Borough. Picture: Leigh Page

Copyright - Leigh Page 2018

St Albans City had to be content with a point after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Eastbourne Borough.

The biggest wish from the passionate home support prior to the game was a decent performance from the boys in the yellow shirts.

And to be fair, for the most part they got it and they will go home thinking they probably should have won this.

There may still be 122 days until Christmas but both defences looked as if they were eager for Santa’s arrival with way the goals were scored.

Tom Gardiner was guilty of the first gift as the former City man played a back-pass to Eastbourne keeper Mark Smith that was woefully short and Ralston Gabriel nipped in to poke it into the net.

But three minutes later the visitors from Sussex were level.

A free-kick from Mike West was swung in to the box from the left looking for a touch. It got one but unfortunately for Harold Joseph it glanced off his head and found the bottom corner to the left of the diving Dean Snedker.

City were the dominant team in the first period and should have been ahead by the time the half ended.

The best chance came in added time when Gabriel went through one-on-one with Smith but the striker choose to go round the keeper and he couldn’t apply a proper connection to slot the ball home.

Another chance for David Noble was only prevented from finding the goal by a fantastic block from Kristian Campbell.

For the rest of the opening 45 minutes St Albans pressed with the much-discussed wing-back system looking promising.

Both wide men, Ben Herd and Ben Wyatt, got forward to great effect with the delivery from either side causing problems.

But it wasn’t always the case and that’s more often than not where the hosts fell down, with the last pass just not finding the right man.

It was promising though and the hope was City could continue in the same vein after the game.

They certainly started the second half like that. Gabriel was hounded out when he could have shot early and David Moyo headed over from a superb Tom Bender cross.

Herd even had the ball in the net but the offside flag was up sharp.

However, they couldn’t keep the pace and intensity up all the time and one five-minute spell of pressure from Eastbourne ended with Snedker making himself big and pulling off a good save.

The visitors did see more of the ball for the rest of the half but Saints kept looking the more-likely to score, even if the passing game that had served them well for the most part did desert them.

They did have one massive let off when Kane Wills struck the crossbar after City failed to close down a short corner.

St Albans’ substitutions arrived in the 89th minute, too late for some and too late to prevent the teams sharing the points.

St Albans City: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Noble, Sho-Silva, Joseph, Wyatt, Sambou, Gabriel, Moyo (Merson 89), Kiangebeni (Banton 89).

Subs (not used): Da Costa, Michael-Percil, Sage.

Goal: Gabriel 12

Booked: Herd 7

Eastbourne Borough: Smith, Day (Hamilton 60), Campbell, Wills, Ransom, Gardiner, Cox, West, Walker (Odubade 70), Dawes, Martin (Torres 65).

Subs (not used): Pollard, Briggs.

Goal: Joseph (og) 15

Booked: Gardiner 77

HT: St Albans City 1 Eastbourne Borough 1

Attendance: 510

Referee: Amy Fearn (Burton-on-Trent)

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