St Albans manager Ian Allinson felt his side’s inability to kill off their FA Trophy third qualifying round tie at Whitehawk had come back to bite them after they were taken to a replay with a 1-1 draw in Brighton.
The two sides went head-to-head for the second time in three days last night after their original draw on the south coast on Saturday.
Allinson’s Saints dominated possession at the Enclosed Stadium and looked comfortable for the most part, creating chances in either half against their fellow National League South opponents.
Both Louis Theophanous and Junior Morias were thwarted by saves before the break, and a cross deflected off Dan Harding struck the bar, but the hosts survived.
Attacking down the slope after the break, the Hawks’ powerful forwards, Wilfred Tagbo and Danny Mills, caused problems to the visiting defence from the off.
Both should have scored within 15 minutes of the restart, but Mills somehow skewed a rebound wide and then wasted a glorious chance for the opener, letting James Russell get down to the ball and save.
City nearly took the lead themselves in a rare foray forward, but Marvin Hamilton denied Theophanous on the line.
But having seen the home side’s brief momentum off, they again regained the ascendency, without manufacturing any clear-cut chances.
Then came the opener out of nowhere from Theophanous and in fine style. In a year where the Puskas goal of the year nominations are uninspiring to say the least, perhaps the Saints striker can hope for inclusion next time around after flicking the ball up with his foot, turning and smashing it home.
In a tight game without too many opportunities, it might have seemed enough to settle the tie.
But back came Whitehawk, with Tagbo netting a 90th-minute equaliser taking them back to Clarence Park.
After the game, Allinson lamented his side’s lack of a second goal in costing them the chance to progress. He said: “It’s difficult to say you’re home and dry, because a 1-0 lead really isn’t enough. You’re always susceptible to a half-chance or something similar to what happened. “We didn’t clear our lines properly, or gain possession of the ball and to be fair to the lad, he’s picked out a great cross and the player at the far post.
“In the first half we had some really good opportunities, and a couple off the line in the second half, but if you don’t finish teams off you’re always susceptible to them getting a goal from nothing.
“We looked comfortable but gave a goal away and could have given away a second.”