MAGICAL IS SAINTS SAVIOUR
ST ALBANS CITY came from two goals behind to secure a dramatic point against league leaders Maidenhead United.
Magpies boss Alan Devonshire was forced into changes following injuries to James Comley and Remy Clerima, while City manager Ian Allinson made no less than six tweaks to the side that fell to defeat against Oxford City on New Year’s Day.
The changes for the home side looked to bring a renewed impetus to the team and St Albans dominated the opening quarter of the game, with Lee Chappell going close.
However, Maidenhead have lead the National League South for much of the season, and showed why with 18 minutes gone.
A ball over the top appeared to catch the St Albans defence on the backfoot and the energetic Sam Barratt calmly controlled the ball before finding the far corner.
The first half was one of few chances following Maidenhead’s opener. St Albans had much of the possession but the visitors were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure.
Maidenhead looked to be on their way to securing another three points following the half-time break when Barratt headed home Ryan Upward’s delivery.
Sean Marks thought he had scored his side’s third of the afternoon on the hour mark but he was thwarted by the linesman’s flag.
The drama wasn’t over however, and St Albans grabbed a goal back in the 72nd minute through Tom Bender as he got the slightest of touches on a corner.
The visitor’s started to sit back as they repelled wave after wave of St Albans attacks.
However, the pressure finally told with the game entering the 90th minute. Maidenhead failed to clear a Shaun Lucien corner, and the ball eventually fell into the patch of Sam Merson, who without hesitation took a touch and slotted the ball past Carl Pentney.
Speaking after the game, Maidenhead boss Devonshire was in reflective mood having seen his side fail to defend a two goal lead.
“We’ve controlled the game for long periods, but probably would have taken the point before the game,” he said.
His St Albans counterpart Allinson was understandably much happier with the result.
He said: “The lads have showed tremendous character to come back from two down, and we could have quite easily won in the final few minutes.” STAR MAN: Sam Barratt (Maidenhead) ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★
ROUND THE BEND: Tom Bender led the St Albans comeback, scoring the goal which halved the deficit, inset
UP AND AT ‘EM! Sam Barratt heads United’s second