National League South: St Albans City 0 Wealdstone 0
PUBLISHED: 19:25 08 December 2018
In a match that was open for both sides, neither team seized the opportunity and took a point apiece at Clarence Park.
Chances were not scarce, but quality in the final third was the determining factor in a fairly lively encounter.
Stones boss Bobby Wilkinson reshuffled the team after the 3-0 loss to Eastbourne last Saturday, with four changes made as goalkeeper Jonathan North made his expected return, and Wilkinson opted for a back four.
Payne, Sheppard and Monakana started ahead of Wilson, Hudson-Odoi and Shomotun.
Stones began with a higher intensity than St Albans and a free-kick from Jake Sheppard and a cross from Rhys Tyler tested goalkeeper Dean Snedker in the first 10 minutes. David Pratt worked tirelessly with balls guided into the channels and the drive from Jeffrey Monakana was troublesome for Ben Herd.
The hosts failed to create more than a single long throw in from Sam Merson, flicked over the bar, in the first 30 minutes.
Wealdstone were first to second balls, piling pressure on St Albans forcing them into mistakes and working incredibly hard to maintain their shape throughout. Sheppard and Pratt were precious with their possession and stood out as top performers on the right side. Pratt’s hold-up play invited teammates to develop opportunities, his work rate was noted by Wilkinson.
The first shot for the home side was by Percy Kiangebeni and sounded ironic applause from the fans, with a lack of any sight of goal for St Albans in the majority of the first half.
On 45 minutes, Pratt missed the best chance of the half. Sheppard ran free from Michael Clark and worked his way towards goal, driving a low shot off the legs of Snedker. The rebound dropped to Pratt on the edge of the box, but he failed to adjust his feet, scooping his effort way over the bar.
On balance, Stones would have been proud of their efforts in the first 45 minutes.
By a significant amount, St Albans were pushing much harder in the opening stages of the second half.
David Moyo curled his shot over and Ben Herd whipped in a deadly ball across the face of goal. The hosts were throwing more forward and showed the determination they had lacked in the first half.
But Wealdstone excelled from the opportunity to counter attack with Monakana darting in and out when released.
The game became more open as the minutes counted down, with both sides picking up loose balls to capitalise as best they can.
Green raced down the right, making a poor decision not to release the pacey Monakana but shooting over instead.
Wilkinson became furious on 65 minutes as Stones gradually took their foot off the gas and allowed St Albans a route back into a game that was fairly in their control.
Kiangebeni weaved through the defence and was inches away from giving his side a lead but mistakes appeared all over the pitch and neither side managed to get a foothold on the game.
St Albans dominated the final stages and were astounded not to score in the 86th minute as substitute Khale Da-Costa sprinted to the byline and flashed a cross to Moyo and Merson but neither could turn in from eight yards.
Da Costa was rapid and cause Stones big problems towards the end but although both sides dominated a half each, it was failure to inject quality in the final third that led to a stalemate.
Wealdstone: North, Tyler, Payne, Stevens, Okimo, Poku, Sheppard (Shomotun 69), Smith, Pratt (Hudson-Odoi 83), Green (Mensah 79), Monakana. Unused subs: Wilson, Regis,
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