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Official News

City claim draw in Cup thriller
Posted by Webmaster
Sep 16, 2017, 17:26

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Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifyer: St Albans City 3 Cambridge City 3

City produced a fantastic comeback as they made light of the 50 league places separating themselves and their opponents to twice come from behind and record a well deserved replay following a six goal thriller.

With St Albans riding high two leagues above the Lilywhites, City really had nothing to lose and went on the offensive from the first whistle. After only two minutes, Tom Knowles left his marker for dead and produced a cross that St Albans struggled to clear behind. From the corner, Ben Robinson attempted a measured shot into the top corner, but just cleared the bar.

City were committing bodies into attack and enjoying a fair bit of possession, but as the minutes ticked by, St Albans began to look more and more of a threat as they got the ball down and found their men. Their approach play paid dividends after only 12 minutes. A ball in from the flank was only partially dealt with, and when it dropped in the six yard area, Rhys Murrell-Williamson was on hand to put away a half volley.

Things got worse for City just minutes later as St Albans doubled their advantage. With City caught upfield, a quick break saw a precision Percy Kiangebenni through-ball send Sam Merson clear, and he made no mistake as he lobbed the outrushing Niall Conroy.

City were rocking and moments later, Solomon Sambou broke through their defensive line. Fortunately for City, Conroy came to their rescue with a fine stop from the marauding midfielder. The pressure didnít let up and soon after, Merson headed narrowly over from a great position. Then Murrell-Williamson saw a fierce low cross evade a sea of legs and skim the post.

City were in danger of being over-run, but to their credit slowly steadied the ship and forced St Albans back, creating some good opportunities. Jordan Gent was only inches from converting as he slid in on a low cross, then Knowles long throw found Ryan Towner in the visitors area, but his shot was deflected behind.

City had suffered a pretty frustrating half where their good play had not paid any dividends, but just before half-time they received a massive boost when Ryan Sharman slammed a half volley past Snedker to put City right back in the game.

City almost snatched the lead right after the break when Knowles cut inside and forced a superb full length stop from Snedker, but as they had in the first half, St Albans began to get control of the ball and pen City into their half.

The home side thought they had a good shout for a penalty just before the hour when Murrell-Williamsí shot struck Mason Spence on the arm, but the referee wasnít interested and waved away their appeals.

With City struggling to make ground it only looked a matter of time before the pressure would tell, but against the run of play, City stunned their opponents by snatching an eqauliser. Spence made his way upfield finding Lewis Wilson who controlled on the edge of the area before smashing the ball into the top corner.

Suddenly it was City on the front foot and seconds later Knowles was in on Snedker, only for the keeper to produce a stunning save to deny him.

With the game swinging from one end to the other, more goals were likely, and another duly arrived on 75 minutes when St Albans retook the lead as Merson rose to head home Zane Bantonís cross.

It was a real blow to City, but undeterred, back they came and Knowles twice went close to levelling, first seeing his teasing effort trickle past the post, then holding his head in his hands as Snedker somehow pushed his stinging shot around the post. City werenít to be denied though and from the corner, Ross Paterson rose to power home a header.

With their tails up, City looked like they could complete a stunning comeback. Wilson forced Snedker to save with his feet and Harold Joseph cleared off the line as St Albans really began to wobble.

In the remaining minutes, both sides had chances to claim the win, but Ryan Town blasted over when well placed and in the final seconds, Merson fired over at the far post following some late home pressure to end a pulsating 90 minutes of football.

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