It was a meeting between one of National League South’s best offences against one of the best defences and on the day the attackers came out victorious. St Albans came into the match without their top scorer Ralston Gabriel but their free-flowing attack still found ways to create chances and score goals.
On the coldest day of the season so far it took the match a few minutes to warm up. The first real chance of the game came after 10 minutes as Jack Turner sent a pinpoint clearance up the pitch to Mathew Stevens with a bit of space out wide left to control the ball and turn. Stevens quickly stepped past his marker, taking the ball into the box before striking low and hard. The ball took a big deflection off a defender which took it up into the air and over St Albans keeper Dean Snedker to open the scoring.
Saints had the most ball possession in the first half but didn’t create many chances with it, unlike Slough who made the most of the ball when they had it.
The Rebels were awarded a free kick wide out right which James Dobson whipped in towards Guy Hollis, who got a decent connection but couldn’t beat Snedeker.
With chances at a premium, St Albans should have got themselves an equaliser around the half hour mark. Somehow the ball was whipped low across goal which beat everyone before a second cross was immediately sent in which again evaded everyone. A huge let-off for Slough as any kind of touch on either cross would have resulted in a goal.
At the other end of the pitch, Sam Togwell put a high ball into the box which wasn’t properly cleared with the ball falling to Warren Harris who controlled the ball before shooting. The shot was slightly scuffed but took a big deflection which nearly wrong-footed Snedker, but he readjusted and saved.
Saints had another great chance to equalise as Khale Da Costa beat the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with Jack Turner, but the Slough keeper was off his line quickly and put in a great slide tackle to break up the chance.
Just before half time St Albans eventually found an equaliser, and it came in similar fashion to Slough’s opener. Ben Wyatt played in Clovis Kamdjo, who shot low but a deflection off Mark Nisbet saw the ball jump up and past Turner who was helpless to react.
The second half started a little quicker than the first, with Jack Turner being inspired by Ben Harris’ goal at Eastbourne the previous Saturday. Slough were awarded a free kick just inside their own half and Turner decided to try and beat Snedker, but the keeper ran back quickly to get a hand to the ball.
St Albans were very direct in the second half, relying on their pace to create chances. Solomon Sambou broke well from his own half but couldn’t test Turner with his shot.
Just a minute later St Albans took the lead. An apparent foul on George Wells was ignored and Da Costa was able to cross. The ball was partially cleared but Wyatt put the ball back into the box and found Kamdjo unmarked at the back post for an easy tap in.
Slough, who had already introduced Louie Soares in place of Dobson, brought on Scott Davies for Lee Togwell as they looked to get back on level terms. Instead, Saints almost extended their lead on 70 minutes with Sambou again though on goal, but he put his shot wide.
Slough then made their final change, bringing on Chris Flood for Ben Harris, and Flood almost made an immediate impact. Snedker’s clearance was poor and showed the striker a glimpse of goal from fully 40 yard out, but he had to rush his effort and put it over the bar.
A few minutes later Flood had another great chance with Snedeker again out of position. Instead he was cynically taken down on the edge of the box by Tom Bender, earning the St Albans man a yellow card.
Five minutes later, St Albans looked to have put the game to bed. David Moyo picked up the ball on the edge of the box and hit a shot low into the bottom corner – whilst not the most powerful of efforts, the precision of the shot was enough to beat Turner and make it 3-1 to the hosts.
It took until this third goal for the home fans to start making some noise, but this brought a positive reaction from the Slough players who finally stepped up their tempo in search of a goal to get back into the game.
Josh Jackman put in a long cross to the back post which Flood controlled on his chest, taking a quick shot which was blocked. The ball came back to him and he was able to toe the ball back towards goal – and it somehow found a way through and trickled over the line before a defender could get back to clear.
The final few minutes were all Slough’s, with a few long throws and corners providing the best chances. However, the only real chance came in the final minute of added time as Slough sent everyone forward for a corner, including Turner. A good ball came in which was met by Wells, but he couldn’t keep his header down.
Slough very nearly grabbed an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and in reality, it would have been fairly unjust on St Albans who were the better team on the day and deserved the three points. The Rebels are back in Hertfordshire on Tuesday evening to take on Hemel Hempstead Town.
St Albans City Line up
Dean Snedker, Ben Herd, Tom Bender (Zane Banton 90+2), David Noble (c) (Jason Banton 85), Lewis Knight, Dave Diedhiou, Ben Wyatt, Solomon Sambou, Khale Da Costa, David Moyo, Clovis Kamdjo. Unused substitutes: Sam Merson, Percy Kiangebeni, Jacob Gardiner-Smith.