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St Albans City
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Cards looking to continue title challenge as league campaign restarts

Glen Harrington
8:54am, Fri 18th Jan 2019
St Albans City vs Woking
Vanarama National League South
Saturday 19th January 2019

The Cards will be looking to make it nine successive league victories on Saturday as they travel to play-off chasing St Albans City.

Manager Alan Dowson will be hoping to have a refreshed squad available following a ten-day break after a 2-0 win over Welling United last week. However, he will have to go without winger Jamar Loza, who has joined Billericay Town, as well as several other key players – with Max Kretzschmar and Toby Edser also likely to be unavailable. Despite the potential for changes the team will high on confidence after a ten-game unbeaten league run stretching back to late October and will be hoping to keep the pressure on league leaders Torquay United with a positive result at Clarence Park.

The Saints currently sit in ninth place in the National League South, one point adrift of the top seven, and only four points off fourth place Chelmsford City in a tightly contested top-half of the table. Only two teams – Woking and Torquay – have scored more goals that St Albans’ 44 so far this year, although they’ve been let down somewhat by their leaky defence, with their 40 goals conceded more than all but six teams, with even second-bottom Gloucester City conceding less. Incredibly, that means Ian Allison’s side have been involved in 84 goals in just 26 games, so there is plenty of potential for a high scoring encounter. In terms of recent form, they enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten run either side of Christmas, including wins over Hemel Hempstead, Billericay and Oxford City, but they’ve since lost their last two games – 2-1 at Truro City and 3-2 away to Dartford. Their last home defeat in the league came against Chippenham Town back in November.

This weekend’s game has all the makings of a pulsating encounter so make the trip if you possibly can and get behind the team!

Woking Team News

Dowse will likely be forced into at least a couple of changes from the win over Welling with Loza gone and Edser, whose loan deal expires on Friday, unlikely to be involved. The game will probably also come too soon for top scorer Kretzschmar who the Cards will hope to have back in time for next week’s game at home to Wealdstone. Aaron Eyoma and Noel Leighton’s respective loan deals have ended whilst reserve goalkeeper Berti Schotterl has also moved on, opening the door for academy graduate Sam Mason to return to the squad. Ben Gerring, who failed a late fitness test against the Wings, should be fit to return.

This all means that Dowse and co will likely return to the regular back four of Gerring, Nathan Collier, Josh Casey and Jack Cook in front of goalkeeper Craig Ross; on-loan Barnet midfielder Harry Taylor, who filled in at right-back last time out, will be able to return to his more natural position alongside Christian Jolley and Armani Little, while Nicky Wheeler looks set for a recall alongside Harvey Bradbury and Paul Hodges. Jake Hyde and Greg Luer provide alternative options as part of the front three.

St Albans Team News

For their defeat at Dartford, Allison’s team included regular goalkeeper Dean Snedker, a back four of Josh McLeod-Urquhart, Michael Clark, Lewis Knight and the experienced Tom Bender, who has also had spells with Dartford and Chelmsford; in midfield was Jordan Sanderson, alongside the powerful Solomon Sambou, who was the club’s Player of the Year last year; out wide were Dave Diedhiou and Zane Banton – not to be confused with former Woking player Jason – and up front was target man David Moyo, scorer of 11 goals this season, and Sam Merson. Top scorer Ralston Gabriel left the club in December.

Last time out, it was Moyo who scored a stunning goal to give the Saints the lead at Kingfield, before Jake Hyde and Ian Gayle stole a narrow 2-1 win for the Cards.

On the Day

Clarence Park can be found on Clarence Road; the postcode is AL1 4NF – a drive of around one hour and 15 minutes from the Laithwaite Community Stadium. The nearest station is St Albans City which is a short walk from the ground.

Supporters can also book a place on the travelling club coach which departs at 12.00pm. The cost for trust members is £10 adults and £5 for under-16s – with a £5 increase for non-members. To book your place please contact Adam Bowyer ( or call the club shop.

Matchday ticket prices are £15 for adults, £10 for concessions, £5 for under-16s and free for under-12s. There is also a family ticket available for two adults and two children priced at £25.

Next Up

The Cards are back at home next Saturday when we take on Wealdstone at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Our January fixture list then concludes with a mid-week trip to Egham Town in the Surrey Senior Cup.

Cards grab a point

Brian Caffarey
9:26pm, Sat 19th Jan 2019
St Albans City 1 Woking 1
19 January 2019
Vanarama National League South

The Cards’ eight-game winning streak in the league came to an end this afternoon at Clarence Park but Woking were perhaps a bit fortunate to come away with even a point in the face of a lively and prolific home attack. The Saints took the lead in the 31st minute after Woking had failed to clear their penalty area but Jack Cook quickly thumped home an equaliser. St Albans hit the woodwork twice in the second half as the Woking goal led something of a charmed life but the best chance of all fell to Greg Luer from the penalty spot, only for the Saints’ keeper Dean Snedker to save his effort.

With Toby Edser (possibly only temporarily), Jamar Loza, Noel Leighton and Aaron Eyoma departing in the last few days, and Max Kretzschmar still injured, Dowse had fewer attacking forces to choose from. Predictably, he lined up with Christian Jolley, Armani Little and Harry Taylor in midfield and, as widely expected, Nicky Wheeler out on the left flank. Up front, though, he started with both Jake Hyde and Harvey Bradbury, with Greg Luer and Paul Hodges on the bench, where they were joined by new keeper James Dunn, Ian Gayle and Dan Spence.

On a cold, dull, misty afternoon, and on a rather heavy-looking pitch, the game started scrappily, with neither side making much impression in the opening exchanges. There were already signs, though, that Woking would have their work cut out in trying to deal with the lively and skilful Soloman Sambou, who was ably supported by David Moyo and Khale Da Costa in an attack which looked more sprightly than Woking’s in this encounter.

The Cards suffered an early setback when Hyde injured his hamstring and had to be replaced by Luer. Although Bradbury and Luer worked hard, neither was able to provide the control of the ball up front which Hyde might have offered.

The Cards’ first real attack did not occur till the 21st minute when Jolley put a pass into Luer’s stride. The substitute did well to cut the ball back into the path of the advancing Little but the young Oxford United midfielder could not get it out from under his feet. Woking’s pressure continued with a couple of corners, from the first of which Taylor did manage to get a deflected shot away.

The initiative swung back to the home side as the free-ranging Sambou shot straight at Craig Ross. And in the 31st minute St Albans took the lead. Both Taylor and Jolley had chances to clear the ball from the Woking area but it eventually fell to Zane Banton, whose low, left-footed effort went in off the base of the far post, with Moyo adjudged to have got a final touch.

Sambou forced another corner before, somewhat unexpectedly given the lack of attacking moves hitherto, the Cards grabbed an equaliser. Josh Casey floated in a free-kick. Jack Cook challenged and, when the ball hit the deck, thumped it unceremoniously past Dean Snedker to make it 1-1 with 36 minutes gone.

The Cards tried to build on this recovery as half-time approached, with Casey, Cook and Ben Gerring all prominent in attack at one point. They nearly paid the price, though, as St Albans counter-attacked, with Ross having to save with his feet from Moyo.

Half-time: St Albans City 1 Woking 1

Woking started the second half slowly, taking a good 15 minutes before they mounted an attack of any note. In the meantime St Albans hit the bar with a header, with a shot then being blocked before the ball was scrambled away; and Da Costa fired narrowly over the bar after cutting inside Casey. In addition, Gerring had to make a vital interception as he cut out a dangerous Sambou cross.

On 60 minutes Woking at last managed to achieve some attacking momentum as Little set Luer free on the right. The latter cut inside nicely but his shot was deflected away by Snedker for a corner. The keeper then tipped a Gerring header over the bar, with the giant defender heading narrowly wide from the resulting corner-kick. Woking threatened again as Cook lofted a ball over the home defence but Little could not quite connect with the ball as it came over his shoulder. Cook then tried to add to his goal tally with a fierce shot, which was, however, blocked. The attacking spell culminated in the 73rd minute in a typically darting run from Paul Hodges, who had come on for Wheeler. Slaloming past several defenders into the box, he tumbled to the ground as he was challenged, with the referee pointing to the spot in spite of the protestations of the home defenders. But they need not have worried because Snedker stuck a leg out to deny Luer’s effort.

Predictably, this ‘let-off’ galvanised the home side. A header went narrowly wide and then another was cleared off the line. A few minutes later Cook was booked for a foul on Da Costa as he threatened to break clear. The Woking goal survived again as another header came off the post. A goal looked certain as Lewis Knight swung his leg to convert the rebound but somehow Gerring managed to get in the way.

In a rousing finale to a game which had started unpromisingly, the Saints’ Jordan Sanderson powered a fierce effort wide and Cook managed to foil Moyo. Woking responded with several long balls into the box but could not breach the home defence again.

On an afternoon when Torquay United lost at Bath City, this draw was probably a point gained, given that, apart from the missed penalty, the home side created more and better chances. Although Little in particular got around the pitch well, the liveliness of Edser seemed to be missed in midfield as well as the outlet provided by Loza’s pace. Bradbury was not really able to get on the ball, while Luer threatened only occasionally. Cook and Casey – the latter also the instigator of a good proportion of Woking’s attacking moves – stood out in defence.

Woking: Craig Ross, Nathan Collier, Ben Gerring, Jack Cook, Josh Casey, Armani Little, Christian Jolley, Harry Taylor, Nicky Wheeler (Paul Hodges 62), Jake Hyde (Greg Luer 20), Harvey Bradbury

Unused subs: Ian Gayle, Dan Spence, James Dunn

Goal: Jack Cook 36

Booked: Jack Cook

My Woking MOTM: Jack Cook (pictured)

St Albans City: Dean Snedker, Joshua McLeod-Urquhart, Tom Bender, Michael Clark, Lewis Knight, Dave Diedhiou, Ben Wyatt (Jordan Sanderson 90), Solomon Sambou, Khale Da Costa, David Moyo, Zane Banton

Unused subs: Percy Kiangebeni, Jacob Gardiner-Smith, Alfie Bonfield

Goal: David Moyo 31

Booked: Khale Da Costa, Tom Bender, Solomon Sandhou

Attendance: 1017

Referee: Mr Matthew Russell
St Albans City LINEUP
1Dean Snedker
2Josh McLeod-Urquhart
3Tom Bender
4Michael Clark
5Lewis Knight
6Dave Diedhiou
7Ben Wyatt ('90)
8Solomon Sambou
9Khale Da Costa
10David Moyo
11Zane Banton
12Percy Kiangebeni
14Jordan Sanderson ('90)
15Jacob Gardiner-Smith
16Alfie Bonfield
1Craig Ross
2Nathan Collier
3Josh Casey
4Jack Cook
5Ben Gerring
6Christian Jolley
7Harry Taylor
8Armani Little
9Jake Hyde ('19)
10Harvey Bradbury
11Nicky Wheeler ('63)
12Ian Gayle
14Daniel Spence
15Paul Hodges ('63)
16Greg Luer ('19)
17James Dunn

St Albans City 1 - 1 Woking | Dowse Interview

St Albans City 1 - 1 Woking | Christian Jolley Interview

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