Match day

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Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Wed Apr 17

Match day

Team logo
Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Wed Apr 17 14:00
The National League U19 Alliance

Saints Not So Simple

St Albans City

St Albans City

Slough Town

Slough Town

Brown (58), Wilson (67)
League Attendance: 530 Kevin Tilley
A brief glance at the league table would have suggested that Slough had little to worry about in their visit to Clarence Park on Saturday.

With the Hertfordshire side languishing near the foot of the table and the Rebels on the fringe of the championship race the outcome looked to be fairly straightforward.

However, things were not as simple as that as St Albans with some recent shrewd signings have had some impressive results of late and none more than the 3-1 victory at Harrow, a ground at which Slough still seek success.

To make matters more difficult the whole of the Slough midfield that operated against Windsor and Eton at Wexham Park were declared unfit while Tony Knight was serving the first of his two-match suspensions as a result of his dismissal against Dover.

Into the side came central defender Chris Wheatley, newly-signed from Staines Town, while Gary Woodcraft switched flanks to allow Paul Gardam to make his debut at left back. The patched-up midfield comprised Kevin Tilley, doubtful after an accident at work Devon Petty, John McDaid and Ken Wilson while only Dodds and Brown were used as front runners.

A bitingly cold wind chilled the bones of the hearty 530 as Slough fought to get on top. The beautiful pitch that appeared to be slightly slow following an overnight soaking helped to make things tricky for defenders and a good run from Devon Petty ended with him shooting wide, then a fine cross from Paul Gardam had the Saints defence at sixes and sevens and Dodds shooting wide.

Suddenly the home side began to find their rhythm and with Phil Driver (the ex-Chelsea winger) looking danger ous on the left Slough defence had to work hard to clear their lines.

After 30 minutes Ray Tucker, picking up a good through pass, drew Graham Cox out of the goal and the Slough 'keeper had to dive at his feet to gather the ball. The St Albans striker hacked it out of his grasp though and banged it into the unguarded net only to see the linesman signalling the infringement.

Following treatment Cox made a superb one-handed save to deny Tucker again then a Tilley free-kick was well held by Pearson at the other end. Straight from the clearance Cox was put under pressure by a high ball well out of his reach, Bateman saving the day by conceding a corner. As the first half finished Gardam headed clear from a dangerous Driver cross while Tilley saw his deeply angled centre elude the advancing Jimmy Brown.

The second half saw the Saints miss two opportunities to take the lead in the first minute, Mick O'Shea fluffed a simple chance and Phil Driver lobbed his effort over the top with only Cox to beat. Robert Smale then looked to be clear but the ever dependable Wheatley stopped him with a precise tackle.

Slough took the lead out of the blue, in the 58th minute Kevin Tilley operating on the left found Jimmy Brown in space, the Slough striker turning sharply lost his marker and saw his shot beat Pearson, hit the post and rebound into the net.

Nine minutes later a splendidly worked goal put the Rebels further ahead. Tilley on the right found Rowan Dodds with a perfect pass and Dodds beat a defender with a clever dummy on the dead ball line and crossed low to Ken Wilson, he shot right-footed past Pearson.

From then on it was backs to the wall for Slough as St Albans pressured the defence with Rob Smale and Mark Biggins causing plenty of problems. In the closing minutes Smale hit a tremendous shot past Cox, only to see his effort strike the underside of the bar while the Slough 'keeper had to bring off two acrobatic saves to keep his goal intact. With the seconds ticking away Kevin Tilley finally succumbed to his back injury, young Tony Galvin making his first appearance as the referee brought the game to an end.

St Albans City Lineup


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