A RELIEVED Ian Allison revealed his delight after St Albans City scored a last-gasp winner to record a 3-2 victory over Hungerford Town in their National League South opener on Saturday.

The Saints left it late to secure all three points in the clash at Clarence Park as Dave Diedhiou struck a winner in the fifth minute of added time.

While City, who trailed 2-1 earlier in the game, were made to sweat on the result, Allinson was nonetheless pleased to have got over the line.

“I have to say I am relieved and happy with the result as well as being really pleased with the performance for a long period of the game,” Allinson said.

“In the second half when they got the goal from a penalty, which I thought was harsh one, they caused us a lot of problems for 20 minutes or so and we lost our way.

“What we can bring off the bench in Zane Banton and Sam Merson, who got 24 goals last season, is quite exciting and that makes a difference.”

Merson’s omission from the starting XI came as a surprise to many after he played a pivotal role for the Saints in the 2017/18 campaign.

His replacement, Ralston Gabriel, made sure City didn’t feel Merson’s absence too acutely and marked a fine performance with two goals.

City made a slow start to the game, a problem which plagued them last term as well, and were behind with just four minutes on the clock when Romone Rose found the net.

The early set back brought a positive reaction from the hosts though and they were soon level when Gabriel helped himself to his first of the game on the quarter-hour mark.

The remainder of the half was played in a competitive manner and it was little surprise to see the sides go in at the break with the scores tied.

Once again, St Albans were found wanting when the game got back underway and were behind in the 50th minute when former City man Harvey Bradbury made the most of a clumsy Percy Kiangebeni foul to score from the penalty spot - the former City loanee firing low to Dean Snedker’s right.

From then on City were stretched but they managed to regain their focus heading into the closing stages and were level with eight minutes to play.

Again Gabriel was the man to unlock the Hungerford defence, nodding in via the post from close range after his initial effort had come back off the bar.

Not content to settle for a point, City pushed forward in the game’s final throes and were rewarded at it’s death when they snatched a winner.

It fell to debutant Diedhiou to score the winner as he arrived unmarked at the back post to head in a clipped cross from the left.

At the time of going to press City were preparing to take on Woking away from home in their second league game of the season.

They follow that match with another away day, which will see them travel to Weston-Super-Mare on Saturday.

Woking started the season with a 1-0 win over East Thurrock United.