Saints boss talks about last Saturday’s match at Evesham

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ST ALBANS CITY boss David Howell was not impressed with the referee’s decision to award Evesham their goal during the 1-1 draw against the Robins on Saturday.

Wayne Daniels’ 24th-minute strike looked to have been cleared off the line, but the match official, with the help from his assistant, decided the ball had completely crossed the whitewash.

What made the goal even more frustrating for Howell was the fact it came against the run of play, after his side had dominated the opening 20 minutes.

However, Cedric Ngakam’s equaliser 15 minutes from time ensured a share of the spoils, although Howell was disappointed not to have won all three at St George’s Lane.

“It wasn’t a goal,” insisted the Saints manager. “The referee said it was over the line but my players were adamant it wasn’t. I think their player (Daniels) turned away more in hope than expectation that he’d scored but the referee decided it was a goal.

“I thought we started the game well and were camped in their half for the first 20 minutes before they got a rare chance and scored.

“We came in at half-time a goal down and I just felt we weren’t posing enough of an attacking threat. Evesham had three strong defenders and I think they intimidated our strikers. We bossed the second half and it looked like we were going to come away with nothing to show for our efforts.

“Our strikers struggled with the defenders, but I thought when Simon Martin came on [in the 68th minute] you started to see a real difference up front as he gave us a platform to build from.”

Martin was on the bench at Evesham due to a groin strain and he hadn’t trained in the week prior to the match – but Howell admits he is pleased to have him back fit for this Saturday’s home match against Bashley.

“We need someone like him or Paul Furlong – or both – because they hold the ball up well and allow us to build a platform.

“Our ball-retention is not as good when we play [other strikers] because their skill lies in providing the unexpected and using their pace. Simon will be available at the weekend and Paul Furlong should be back next week.”

The Saints are currently on a six-match unbeaten run in the Southern Premier Division, and despite having played more matches than the teams around them, Howell says he is only concerned with winning as many games as possible and putting pressure on their play-off rivals.

“All we can do is pick up points where we can and just see how other teams get on with their games in hand,” he added. “Most of the teams around us are playing midweek games most weeks at the moment whereas we have a week between our games for the next few weeks. That is ok if you’re winning but it’s not as good if you’re not.

“We’ve got four home games in a row and we need to try and get maximum points to have a chance of putting pressure on the teams above us.”

n The Harpenden Construction Limited February Player of the Month is Nick Jupp. His award will be presented by supporter Dan Hill, prior to Saturday’s game with Bashley.

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