At last for St Albans City as first win arrives with Concord Rangers success
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City will hope their 2-1 victory over Concord Rangers sends their National League South season into supersonic flight.
A first-half strike from Joe Iaciofano had given them the lead and when substitute Darren Foxley curled home a fine second on 87 minutes, it seemed as if the long wait for a first win this year was over.
It was but a late goal from Brett McGavin ensured a few fingernails were bitten late on.
There were two changes to the side who had performed better even in defeat at Billericay on Saturday.
Out went Darren Foxley, relegated to the bench, and David Noble who wasn't even stripped for action.
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In came Albert Adu for his first City start and Taylor Miles.
But for all that the performance in Essex had been much improved, a good start to the game was always needed here against a Concord side equally in indifferent form.
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And for the most part of the opening 45 minutes the home fans got it.
It was never totally dominant and both Ian Allinson and Glen Alzapiedi were not happy on the bench at times.
But they did manage to get in front thanks to persistence from Iaciofano.
He had been found totally unmarked by a reverse pass from Bobson Bawling and after his first shot from about 12 yards had been saved, he pounced on the rebound to put City ahead.
Bawling had hit the post before that, with the rebound hitting the prone Chris Haigh and bouncing out for a corner.
That had come from a mazy Rhys Murrell-Williamson dribble where he had seemed reluctant to pull the trigger with his right foot.
He used his favoured left shortly after with a hard drive from outside the area that Haigh smothered but the ebst chance to double their lead fell to Adu.
But after cleverly creating the opening with a dragback he pulled his shot wide of the post.
They could have done with a second too as Concord finished the half stronger.
Dean Snedker had already made a good save to deny Decarry Sheriff but he was also needed to block a Joe Gardner effort.
When he was beaten by a clipped Joel Nouble cross, Lemar Reynolds headed over from close in.
The half ended with a flashpoint as Jack Cawley was booked for lashing out at Iaciofano who was on the floor. That caused tempers to boil over on the already hot day as the teams left the pitch.
You wondered if that would lift the passions on the pitch and there was a few raised voices in the City defence, although they were seemingly mostly with the bench as Concord enjoyed more of the ball.
Snedker came to the home side's rescue again as he blocked a Sheriff attempt as the forward burst into the box.
And there was one heart-stopping moment as a ball through hit Oli Sprague's back and bounced away from Snedker and towards goal.
The keeper somehow got a foot to the ball ahead of Nouble and diverted it onto the post.
The rebound was fired over.
A couple of counter attacks was the best Saints could muster although the crowd did rise for the return of Zane Banton after five months out with a broken leg.
His energy was needed too as the final whistle approached with more and more nerves around Clarence Park.
It was therefore no surprised that there were screams or relief and delight when Foxley bent it round Haigh from the right following a quick break.
That was on 87 minutes but moments later that nervous panic was back in spades as McGavin found it far too easy to curl his own effort beyond Snedker.
But despite a few balls into the box it wasn't enough to beat Snedker and City hung on for those valuable three points.
St Albans City: Snedker, Howe, Bender (Sprague 46), Longe-King, Kaloczi, Bawling (Banton 70), Miles, Iaciofano, Diedhiou, Adu, Murrell-Williamson (Foxley 70).
Subs (not used): Bonfield, Merson.
Goals: Iaciofano 15, Banton 87
Booked: Bender 42, Sprague 63, Howe 66
Concord Rangers: Haigh, Olufemi, Claridge, Roast (Krasniqi 61), Pollock, Cawley, Reynolds, Gardner (Green 70), Sheriff, Blanchfield (McGavin 77), Nouble.
Subs (not used): Moncur, Okojie.
Goals: McGavin 90
Booked: Cawley 46, Krasniqi 90+5
HT: St Albans City 1 Concord Rangers 0
Referee: Aji Ajibola (Maidstone)