St Albans City frozen out of the FA Trophy after big defeat to Harrogate Town
PUBLISHED: 21:44 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:44 16 January 2018
St Albans City's hopes of progressing in the FA Trophy were well and truly extinguished after a 5-0 defeat at Harrogate Town.
Two goals from Warren Burrell and one each for Dominic Knowles, Joe Leesley and George Thomson gave Harrogate a deserved victory.
The expected heavy snow failed to materialise, just a light dusting covered the 3G surface at kick-off, and even though there was a bitter wind dragging temperatures down towards freezing, there was never any doubt that this one would go ahead.
City will probably wish it had been postponed.
They simply could not cope with the wave after wave of attacks coming from the hosts in the second half who could have ran up a few more.
It leaves City focusing on the league but they will also probably rue that late, late equaliser on Saturday at Clarence Park.
Both sides made changes, three for City and six for Harrogate but what followed in the first half was similar to the meeting on Saturday, with both teams very evenly-matched.
The only difference in that opening period, apart from the first goal, was the number of chances created by the hosts on the break and from beautifully-delivered crosses.
It was how the goal came, Burrell leaping high to guide his header into the corner away from Dean Snedker, and there could have been others; City’s back four were certainly being given a thorough workout.
Simon Ainge had two chances, one saved by Dean Snedker, the other put wide after the keeper had pushed out an initial effort.
Jack Emmett and Thomson both had shots from distance as Town looked for a second,
The thing was it wasn’t all one-way traffic.
City had plenty of the ball, a stat which grew as the half went on. They just couldn’t force Joe Cracknell into much action.
The keeper, who came off the bench on Saturday, had to make a good stop from a Solomon Sambou run and shot minutes from the end of the period.
But that was really it. For all City’s good work outside of the box, Kieran Monlouis in particular impressing, their final ball or shot was either miscued or not fully connected with.
Harrogate kept giving them sights of the ball with sloppy passes but any chance to knick it back high up the pitch went begging.
That was probably the biggest moan you could have with City; a bit more desire to stick the foot into the tackle could have reaped plenty of rewards.
Getting near to a yellow shirt in the second half proved difficult though as Harrogate dominated after the break.
It took them 19 minutes to score which was the biggest surprise. Knowles wriggled left and right on the edge of the box to create the space before curling it past Snedker.
But Town had some wonderful chances prior to that. Snedker made a couple of big saves, one especially good one from Leesley, and there were blocks and a few slices of fortune.
If the second didn’t kill the game, two goals in two minutes did.
Burrell diverted Josh Falkingham’s shot from the edge of the area into the corner on 72 minutes and then Leesley turned in number four, converting after a good tackle ran nicely to him.
With Salford City coming on Saturday Town rang the changes bringing on all three subs.
St Albans had already thrown caution to the win in an attempt to get back into it by then.
It didn’t look like happening and Thomson’s injury-time goal was the final insult for them.
They will have store any frustration up for another long trip on Saturday to Eastbourne Borough.
City: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Noble (Bradbury 67), Gardiner, Kiagebeni, Murrell-Williamson (Hippolyte-Patrick 67), Sambou, Merson (Walker 61), Monlouis, Lucien
Subs (not used): Joseph, Eadie
Harrogate: Cracknell Fallowfield, Parker, Falkingham (Agnew 75) Lees, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett, Ainge (Beck 75), Knowles (Thewlis 75), Leesley
Subs (not used): Kennedy, Vann
Goals: Burrell 12, 72, Knowles 64, Leesley 74, Thomson 90+3
HT: Harrogate Town 1 St Albans City 0
Referee: Paul Marsden (Lancashire)