TT Match Preview – St Albans City by Michael Hill

“3-2 to the Saints with a 90-something minute winner….” 

St Albans City supporter Michael Hill answers our last opposition Q&A for 18-19, as we look forward to Saturday’s game at Clarence Park:

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Before we talk about your team tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you supported St Albans City?

I started to follow the club’s results when I moved to St Albans from Enfield back in 2005. But a young family with Saturday afternoon swimming lessons meant I didn’t get along to Clarence Park until 2013 – the first match being a 6-1 win over Enfield Town in the FA Cup. I soon got the bug and now attend games home and away, with my youngest son, and also volunteer at home games helping to run a pitch-side bar selling local ales. 

How would you summarise your season and has it lived up to expectations?

I’d predicted a mid-table finish so pleased we are still in with a chance of a play-off spot on the final day of the season.

How’s your recent form been?

We tend to perform at our best when facing the stronger sides in the league – and trip over ourselves against those near the bottom. We’ve had good wins against Bath City and Chelmsford City and decent draw away to Slough and our last two games have been a 2-1 home win – courtesy of a 85th minute winner! – and a 2-1 defeat to a well organised and physical Concord Rangers.

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Who are your key players and why?

We have been unfortunate with injuries this season so have been without our midfield maestro and club captain, David Noble (ex-Exeter City, Bristol City etc). However, “Deano” Snedker in goal has been in great form and Clovis Kamdjo has not only added the required physical side to midfield but also grabbed some key goals in recent games. Then up front we have David Moyo and Sam Merson (son of Paul!). Another injury loss was also Zane Banton, ex-Luton Town, who broke his ankle at Chippenham Town.

Who is the gaffer and what sort of tactics does he employ?

Our manager is ex-Arsenal, Colchester United and Luton Town player, Ian Allinson. He also previously managed local rivals, Boreham Wood, and managed them to promotion to the National League. Having been a winger himself, Allinson, does like a good wide player and always like to have some pace on the bench as well for the latter stages of a match.

If you reach the play-offs will you fancy your chances?

We have an excellent record when participating in play-offs and we do tend to raise our game against the best teams so who knows..?

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Could the club deal with the step up to the NL if it happens?

We’ve been there before back in 2006/2007 but of course it is much stronger now with so many full-time clubs. No doubt we’d find it tough – but I am sure we’d give it our best shot.

What’s Clarence Park like for visiting supporters and are you expecting a good crowd on Saturday?

It’s a classic old non-league ground close to the city centre – and has many good pubs nearby. Also, keep an eye out for the carved fallen tree in the neighbouring park – it’s the remnants of a tree that used to sit in the middle of the terraces behind the nearby goal (and prevented us from gaining promotion many seasons ago…). We do also have a pitch-side bar selling local St Albans beer and are hoping to have a pitch-side bar for Torquay fans on Saturday. And yes we are definitely expecting a big crowd given we still have an outside chance of the play-offs.

Visitors guide – https://www.stalbanscityfc.com/visiting-clarence-park/

Where’s best for the Yellow Army to grab pre-match food and drinks near the ground?

The Crown, The Robin Hood and The Mermaid are just a few of the pubs within a few minutes walk of the ground. The Horn close to the station is also great if you want to make an evening of it afterwards as they have bands on. If you have time you can also venture further afield to the (allegedly) oldest pub in the country, Ye Old Fighting Cocks which sits by the River Ver in sight of the cathedral.

And finally give us a match prediction for Saturday?

3-2 to the Saints with a 90-something minute winner….  Cheers Michael, here’s to an entertaining afternoon and good luck for the play-offs if you make it. Dom

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