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St Albans City relishing FA Cup clash with Mansfield Town
St Albans City joint manager Graham Golds believes the players will relish the chance to upset League Two Mansfield Town after being handed a lucrative home draw in the FA Cup.
The Saints’ 2-0 victory at Chatham Town booked their place in the first round of the competition and they will hope to attract a big crowd on Saturday, November 9 when they host the Stags.
Golds believes the players will be able to relax, with all the expectation on their opponents, and thinks this could help them play their best football.
Golds said: “We’re delighted to have a home draw against a side in League Two. The home draw is the most pleasing result for us and we will go in as underdogs which should suit. We will relish the opportunity and we are not expected to win but I think we’ll rise to the occasion.
“There is no pressure on us whereas on Saturday it felt like we had pressure on our shoulders and did not want to make a mistake. But this will be a totally different for us because the players will be relaxed and can just go out and show everyone what they’ve got.”
He added: “The FA Cup is great because we’ve won another £12,500 and half of the gate receipts so financially is it great for the club. I would imagine we’ll get quite a few people down for the next round so it should be a money spinner for us.”
The Saints did not find it easy against Ryman Division One North side Chatham on Saturday and had to wait until the end of the first half for John Frendo, who has netted in all four rounds this season, to fire them ahead.
A second goal three minutes after the restart sealed the win as David Keenleyside fired home after Mark Nwokeji headed against the bar.
Golds said: “We just needed to get through the game. It was a no win situation for us because we were the favourites and everyone expected us to get through. In the first half we looked a bit nervous and the boys tended to go a bit long and we were tentative.
“But we had a chat at half-time and felt that if we got on the ball more then we would cause them problems. It was all about being brave and getting on the ball. We were patient and it was pleasing the players responded in the second half.
“We did well just to get through because we knew it was a potential banana skin. If they had scored first, it would have made it very difficult so we were more than happy just to get through.”
Golds added: “The support from the fans was magnificent and they never stopped singing all game which gave us a real lift.”
Striker Greg Ngoyi will miss the next tie after his sending off at Witham Town last week but the club have not yet heard whether he will face further punishment after his altercation with supporters following his dismissal.
Golds said: “His three-game ban starts on the first round of the FA Cup so that is his punishment. He has apologised to everyone and it was so out of character but he’s got to learn from it.”
St Albans extended their unbeaten run to nine games after a 2-1 win over Hitchin Town on Monday night. The victory has pushed the Saints up to seventh in the Southern Premier Division.
The home side were nowhere near their best but a header from Ryan Wharton and Frendo’s 15th goal of the season, from the penalty spot, fired them into a 2-0 lead. Dan Webb headed home for the visitors but St Albans held on for the points.
The Saints turn their attention to the FA Trophy this weekend with a second qualifying round tie at Ryman Premier Division side Billericay Town.
“We beat them earlier in the season in the FA Cup but that won’t have any bearing on this clash,” Golds said. “We have gone on an nine-game unbeaten run which we always felt we had in us. We have turned the corner and I think the FA Cup run has done us a lot of good.
“We always knew that the potential at the club was massive. We just needed to start playing attractive football to get the crowds back at Clarence Park and I think the FA Cup has definitely helped us as well.”
James Comley has been named October player of the month and will receive his award prior to Saturday’s match.
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