National South: St Albans left to rue missed opportunities as Gloucester snatch win
PUBLISHED: 17:07 23 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:34 24 March 2019
St Albans City continue to be the biggest threat to their own play-off hopes after a second-half double for Gloucester City left them nursing a 2-1 defeat.
Cruising with a 1-0 half-time lead courtesy of a Michael Clark header, Saints switched off twice after the break with their relegation-threatened visitors pouncing both times to snatch three vital points.
Jake Jackson and Fabien Robert were the scorers for the Tigers and a late City onslaught couldn’t change the outcome.
But it shouldn’t have got to that stage as Saints were dominant before the interval with numerous chances.
That they only took one of them would still have been only a minor worry among supporters buoyed by an impressive performance.
However, the fire was missing on their return to the field and that undid all the good work at the start of the contest.
There still may be a chance to rekindle a charge into the top seven as teams around them continue to drop points as well but this defeat will hurt all at Clarence Park.
The first-half though gave little indication of what was to come as Saints peppered the Gloucester goal.
Solomon Sambou, playing in a much-more advanced role thanks to the arrival in the week of James Kaloczi and Scott Shulton, was the chief protagonist.
His first effort on nine minutes should have seen the net bulge but after being found by a nod down from Sam Merson, he took a touch rather than hitting it first time and the angle narrowed too much.
His second big chance came after he was slipped through but although he got their slightly before Will Henry in the away goal, the keeper was able to make the save and the ball back in was behind David Moyo.
A third chance saw Gloucester bodies fly in to knock it behind for a corner.
Merson also had a couple of efforts, a meaty header that the keeper smothered and then a snapshot that clipped the bar and went over.
Gloucester though could, and probably should have also found the back of the net but after Dean Snedker dropped a cross Dejon Noel-Williams fired high over the top from just seven yards.
The Tigers’ number 10 also had a chance late on but Ben Herd made a fine block.
And those missed opportunities, together with a lacklustre display, came back to haunt the hosts.
The equaliser was still out of nowhere having said that as a corner from the right was flicked into the path of Jackson and he swept the ball home.
It was a similar story 13 minutes later although this time it was Noel-Williams’ cross and Robert’s shot that did the damage.
The second though saw a worrying recent trend of St Albans players standing looking for an offside flag that didn’t come.
The expected charge came but a penalty shout and a pinball-type effort that went wide were the only real chances.
Joyous scenes greeted the win among the visiting supporters but Saints will have huge regrets as another glorious chance to win promotion slips away.
St Albans City: Snedker, Herd (Kamdjo 81), Bender, Shulton, Knight, Clark, Wyatt (Sole 73), Da Costa, Sambou, Merson, Moyo, Kaloczi (Da Costa 73).
Subs (not used): McLeod-Urquhart, Bonfield.
Goal: Clark 36
Booked: Herd 68
Gloucester City: Henry, Hodges, Mawford, Hamilton, Avery, Hanks (Knowles 59), Parker, Russe, Jackson, Noel-Williams (Kotwica 90+1), Robert.
Subs (not used): Peck.
Goals: Jackson 58, Robert 71
Booked: Robert 68, Mawford 76
HT: St Albans City 1 Gloucester City 0.
Referee: Robert Whitton (Braintree)