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St Albans City 0-0 Kingstonian

Kingstonian came away from a leafy Clarence Park with a fairly comfortable 0-0 draw in the third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup against Conference South side St Albans City. Alan Dowson will be the happier manager of the two after seeing his side generally have the better of the match, producing their third clean sheet on the trot, and with the prospect with a replay at Kingsmeadow on Monday night to look forward to.

The K's started very positively by managing to force a corner after only 10 seconds following a mazy Lodge run straight from the kick off. After the corner was comfortably cleared it was St Albans who produced the more penetrating moves as the left back Smith pressed forward and combined well with the young winger Smith. In fact it was Traynor who had to track back in the seventh minute to provide the defensive cover down the left at the expense of a corner. Tolfrey then produced a smart save from a Martin shot as the K's failed to clear the corner properly and shortly after had to be on his toes as Hustwick underhit a back pass.

Kingstonian now started to gain the upper hand as the midfield cut out the supply to the lively Smith. An influential Gray seemed to be enjoying a lot of possession as the midfield retained the ball well and started to generate a number of openings. With the K's now gaining some success down the left flank Bird turned inside and let off a snap shot after some clever support play by Traynor. Gray was then played in behind the defence with the keeper doing well to push his fierce left footed drive over the bar. Soon after Hustwick found Bird with precision 50 yard pass and a dangerous looking cross was headed nervously over by a relieved defender.

St Albans now created a couple of chances of their own. A shot from Shields was well saved by Tolfrey but almost fell invitingly to Fisher who was following in. Soon after as miss-hit shot from Deeney looked like it would break kindly for Gomez before a smart intervention from Hustwick snuffed out the danger. However, it was Kingstonian who ended the first half much the stronger side. With Hamlin now having exerted his authority on the baby faced St Albans left winger he was increasing providing a useful outlet on the right. Charging through on the overlap he squared the ball to Hall who flashed his volley wide. Traynor was then played in by a clever ball from Gray but possibly expecting an offside flag delayed his shot fractionally too long and ended up with a cross between a chip and a cross which was comfortably saved.

As the second half got underway it was Jinadu who produced a glorious diagonal ball over the top to the energetic Hamlin who raced in on goal and saw his fierce shot deflected onto the post by a defender. Hall then showed great desire to both win and retain the ball to produce a penetrating run into the area before squaring to Traynor who decided to go for power and clipped the top of the bar when he would have hoped to have found the target. Shortly afterwards Jinadu produced a strong downwards header from a corner which Bastock did well to palm away.

By now St Albans had made three substitutions which made them a bit more lively upfront. They finally started to play as if it was a cup match and applied more pressure in the final third of the pitch than they had hitherto. This mostly manifested itself by way of long balls into the box, which were well dealt with by the K's defence, with Jinadu in particular remaining strong under pressure. St Albans then had their best chance of the game in the 85th minute with Gomez latching onto a loose ball which Tolfrey did very well to save.

Dowson resisted the urge to bring on any substitutes in an attempt to end the game there and then so the game petered out as referee Hair blew the final whistle on a game which he has officiated with calm authority.

With Kingstonian retaining the ball much better than in recent weeks and the defence producing another highly effective display, it was only a finish that was lacking, although Lodge was lively throughout. Whilst sound defensively and winning most balls in the air, St Albans looked less certain when the ball was played to feet. For long periods of the match it felt as though the K's were the home team, particularly as they enjoyed the better vocal support.

Sat 9th Oct 2010
Clarence Park
FA Cup 3rd qualifying round
St Albans City0
1Rob Tolfrey
2Dean Hamlin
3Tom Bird
4Adam Thompson
5Max Hustwick
6Tobi Jinadu
7Matt GrayCautioned
8Jean-Sylvain Dossou
9Bobby Traynor
10Dean Lodge
11Lee Hall
12Carl Wilson-Denis
14Gary MacDonald
15Bashiru Alimi
16Sam Clayton
17Nic Taylor
Match Report By
Peter Allan