St Albans City boss insists Saints have not given up on title

John Frendo netted during the Saints' win on Saturday: Robert Walkley

John Frendo netted during the Saints' win on Saturday: Robert Walkley

First published in Sport St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

St Albans City joint manager Graham Golds insists the side have not given up on chasing down leaders Hemel Hempstead Town and winning the league.

The Saints are 20 points behind the Southern Premier Division leaders but have three games in hand on them and Golds believes the team are capable of going on an extended winning run which could put pressure on Hemel.

Golds said: “We don’t want to rule out winning the league. It’s a tall ask for us to win the league but we won’t rule it out. If we keep winning then we can close the gap on Hemel who have still got to play a lot of matches against the top sides.

“Our ambition is promotion, whichever way it happens, whether that is winning the title or via the play-offs.

“The goal was promotion from day one and we won’t give up on top spot because Hemel could have a drop in form. But we have to go on a massive run which would involve us winning virtually all our games.

“I feel like we are the best team in the league but sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We have got to keep winning to have a chance of winning the league but I think we’re capable of doing that.”

St Albans’ latest victory pushed them up to sixth in the table and within a point of the play-off spots.

Golds insists the side are fully focused on achieving their goal of promotion but is taking nothing for granted until the Saints have consolidated a place in the top-five.

He said: “We’re on the fringes of the play-offs but we have games in hand. Having points on the board is better but the cup runs have meant we’re a bit behind in the league. But now we can just concentrate on the league and pushing up the table.

“I won’t be happy until we are secured in the top five. I want us to get in there and stay in there but it may take a good two or three weeks to get there.”

The Saints’ 16-game unbeaten away run came to an end last week as they were beaten at Hungerford Town. St Albans had also gone ten league games without defeat prior to the setback.

Golds insisted the side needed an immediate response and was pleased with the way City reacted at Clarence Park.

He said: “We needed to bounce back. That was our first defeat in three months and we had been on a good run but we’d seen the defeat coming.

“The boys weren’t really at the races last week and we told them that we needed a reaction. We got what we were looking for and hopefully that is us back on track now.”

The Saints were one of the few clubs to play at the weekend, due to the heavy rain which has dampened the country, and Golds’ side took full advantage.

The joint manager said: “I think there were only about three games played so it was a chance for us to play catch up with quite a few games in hand on other sides. It was good to get another game under our belt and get the three points.”

St Albans led 1-0 at the break but Golds admitted the side were struggling with their formation. The Saints benefited from the half-time team talk and noticeably improved in the second half.

He said: “In the first half I thought the shape of the team wasn’t quite right. We had a lot of space in the middle of the park and we asked the full backs to push on at half-time.

“It seemed to work in the second half when it was one-way traffic so it was pleasing that the boys took on board the information.

“We haven’t had much time on the training ground because of all the games we’ve been playing so the formation and shape is something we just need to spend more time working on.”

St Albans were due to travel to Corby Town this evening [Wednesday] before visiting Chippenham Town this weekend.

The Saints will be without Tom Ward because the defender has a broken bone in his foot while Chris Henry serves the final game of his suspension.

Both of their opponents are languishing in the bottom half of the table and Golds knows the importance of taking maximum points from these fixtures.

He said: “Things are a bit different this year because the top teams have been more consistent against the lesser sides.

“It’s important that we pick up maximum points when we face these sides and also get results against the sides around us.”

The manager added: “We will be disappointed and it will feel like dropped points if we do not return with two wins. But we know that there are not any gimmes in this league.

“If you are not on your game then you will come unstuck as we found out at Hungerford which is a lesson we’ve learnt.”

There is a St Albans City team and supporters’ coach going to Chippenham Town for the Calor League Premier Division game this Saturday. The coach will depart at 10.30am from the Clarence Park entrance to the ground.

Since the coach has a limited number of seats available, anyone going should book as early as possible. To reserve £15 seats, call Ian Rogers on 07714 145862.

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