St Albans City 3-4 Dulwich Hamlet: St Albans’ unbeaten run comes to a disappointing end, as Dulwich Hamlet edge closer to top spot after the seven-goal thriller
By Harley George
After a 15-game unbeaten streak in all competitions for St Albans City, Dulwich Hamlet ended it with a 3-4 win at Clarence Park on Tuesday evening.
After 19 minutes the away side took the lead, after Darren McQueen rounded Saints keeper, Michael Johnson, and scored with a precise finish and this led to Johnson getting injured whilst attempting to scramble back to goal and forced a substitution for the Saints.
With substitute goalkeeper Liam Gauthier not being in the squad, defender, Tom Bender was called into action and played as goalkeeper for the remainder of the match.
McQueen seals the points for the vistors
By Harley George
Speaking after the match, St Albans manager, Ian Allinson was quick to praise Bender on his performance and courage to play between the sticks, stating, “he’s [Tom Bender] been fantastic for us in goal there. He [Tom Bender] put the gloves on and he didn’t have to do it, but he put his hand up straight away.”
Allinson also highlighted how unfortunate the injury to Johnson was, after he only selected one goalkeeper in his squad including substitutes stating that, “in my 32 years of being a manager I haven’t had a situation like this, I’ve always taken a chance by not putting a goalkeeper on the bench.”
It got worse for the hosts, as Danny Mills doubled the lead for ‘The Hamlet’ after he capitalised on a defensive error and substitute, Chike Kandi was composed and finished on the stroke of half-time, to cancel out Johnny Goddard’s 42nd minute goal for the Saints.
There was a glimmer of hope for St Albans in the second half, as they managed to pull level courtesy of top scorer Shaun Jeffers who netted his 19th goal of the season and winger, Zane Banton equalised.
However, with just 3 minutes of normal time remaining and against the run of play, Kandi scored his brace for the away team and secured his side a crucial league win.
This victory for Dulwich Hamlet sees them move up into second place, leapfrogging their promotion rivals, St Albans. Whereas, for the Saints, this was a shock to the system as this was their first defeat since August 2021.
St Albans next take on Hungerford Town at home, hoping to bounce back from this disappointing defeat and Dulwich hope to take all three points and put pressure on league leaders, Dartford as they travel to Court Place Farm to face Oxford City who are unbeaten in their last seven league games.