Three valuable points for St Albans City away to Welling United
- Credit: Archant
They wanted three points desperately but the manner of the 1-0 victory at Welling United may mean so much more to St Albans City.
It is only their third National League South success this season picked but it was the way the patched-up side had to scrap for the win, especially in the last 20 minutes that will be so vital.
The clean sheet is a mere bonus.
Albert Adu's goal towards the end of the first-half proved to be the winner and lifts Saints off the foot of the table.
Ian Allinson made five changes from the side that lost to Bath, the most interesting choice being the inclusion of James Kaloczi as a striker with both Sam Merson and Joe Iaciofano on the injured list.
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One who has just returned from a spell on the treatment table was Adu, keen to replicate his two goals in midweek against Hemel Hempstead in the Herts Charity Cup.
The pair made an unlikely strike force but it was David Longe-King who had the first chance, a header from a corner that got through a crowd of players and safely into the arms of Daniel Wilks.
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In fact chances were few and far between for either side.
Jack Jebb had Welling's first attempt but that was on the stretch and well away from Dean Snedker's goal.
Connor Dymond had their best chance with a volley from the edge of the area that went wide to a chorus of oohs and aahs from the home support while Zane Banton perhaps should have scored when he finally shrugged Dquame Copeland's attentions but his stabbed effort was too close to the keeper.
Saints spent most of the half seemingly trying to come to grips with their new formation and their cause wasn't helped when Joe Howe eventually succumbed to a injury picked up after a 50-50 clash with Anthony Cook.
It brought plenty of conversations from bench to back five on who was meant to be doing what and picking up who at set-pieces.
And it was while all this was going on that City took the lead.
Adu picked the ball up on the right and began to cut in along the edge of the box. He had company all the way and even when he had a shot there appeared to be little danger.
The ball had other plans and skipped up off the turf to beat Wilks and find the bottom corner.
They endured a further injury worry when Scott Shulton went down holding his fingers and appeared to be in plenty of pain as the half closed.
He was still feeling it at the start of the second period, although he reappeared with no strapping on them.
Welling came out with their remaining two substitutes used, having already lost Bradley Goldberg in the first half to a knock.
It didn't bring too much change in the pattern of the game. St Albans continued to enjoy some good positions but chances were still limited.
One minute midway through the half could have been pivotal, for both sides.
City found themselves on a three-on-one break after two Welling midfielders collided in the middle of the park.
Oli Sprague had options right and left but made it too easy for the defender and in his attempts to recover the situation he committed a foul that the home fans were incensed at.
The referee felt it worthy of a yellow and no more but it raised the noise levels and the passions of the Wings' players.
It meant a difficult end to the game as Welling pressed in search of an equaliser and St Albans employing desperate and determined efforts to keep them out.
It got bad-tempered towards the end and Welling picked up two bookings.
One ball rebounded off a defender and had Snedker scrambling across his goal. It went wide to the keeper's relief.
That relief became joy a few minutes later as the referee brought an end to proceedings, with boos coming from the frustrated home fans.
Welling United: Wilks, Ming, Anderson, Dymond (McCallum 46), Swanie, Copeland, Jebb, Waldren (Widdrington 46), Goldberg (Cosgrave 21), Coombes, Cork.
Subs (not used): Rich-Baghuelou, Green.
Booked: Dymond 30, Coombes 85, Ming 89
St Albans City: Snedker, Howe (Diedhiou 31), Sprague (Bender 71), Longe-King, Musanda, Knight, Banton, Kaloczi, Nwabuokei (Noble 76), Shulton, Adu
Subs (not used): Bonfield, Foxley.
Goals: Adu 42
Booked: Sprague 65
HT: Welling United 0 St Albans City 1
Referee: Philip Staynings (Cricklade, Wiltshire)