A fifth consecutive clean sheet, a tenth National League game without defeat and a rise to second in the National League South table were the highlights of a miserable Tuesday evening at Marsh Lane as, with a goalless draw, Oxford City became the latest side to fail to end St Albans City’s impressive start to their league campaign.

Oxford shaded the opening 45 minutes at cold and very wet Court Place Farm whilst Ian Allinson’s Saints enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure after the break that promised a breakthrough but, in the end, a share of the spoils seemed about right.

The Saints made one change from the weekend win by the banks of the Thames with Luke Warner-Eley stepping in for Joy Mukena. The former Royston Town defender did well in his first starting appearance since the end of October.

The Hoops of Oxford City were without leading marksman James Roberts following his sending off in the FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town.

For Oxford there was the joy of welcoming supporters to a home game for the first time since March and the 100 locals allowed in did get to see the whole game. This is more than can be said for those watching the live stream that kept crashing during the opening half and causing great panic in the press box as computer screens went blank.

There was a heavy downpour of rain shortly before kick-off and 20 minutes into the game a much heavier burst threatened to put a complete dampener on matters but, fortunately, it soon eased off. The ‘plastic’ 3G pitch had no problem with the excess water, unlike the mud-bath that it replaced three years ago.

Attacking the clubhouse end, St Albans made the first threat on goal on seven minutes when Mitchell Weiss tried his luck from 25 yards with ground shot that rolled comfortably wide of Ben Dudzinski’s right-hand post.

Goal chances were a scarce commodity for the remainder of the half and a header over the top by Ben Gerring following a corner by Louis Hall on 18 minutes represented the home side’s first serious inroad into the Saints' seemingly impregnable defence.

The lack of chances at either end owed much to neither side being able to keep possession for any length of time as countless passes went astray.

Former Saint Elliot Benyon, receiving a short pass inside from Reece Fleet, had the first on-target shot of the evening, just after the half-hour, but his tame effort from 20 yards was never likely to trouble the faultless Michael Johnson in the Saints goal.

A wayward effort from Lewis Coyle during first-half added time pretty much summed up a disappointing 45 minutes.

The second period began just as the first had ended with passes continually failing to reach their intended target.

Former Oxford midfielder Kyran Wiltshire shook things up when winning the ball and advancing before slipping a pass out to Zane Banton on the left. From his low cross Solomon Nwabuokei scooped a shot high and wide.

Nwabuokei went closer with a second attempt ten minutes later but still failed to call Dudzinski into action.

In one remarkable three-minute spell St Albans penned Oxford into their own penalty area when winning five successive corners but excellent defending by David Oldfield’s side blocked a series of shots and the home goal was not put under any direct threat.

Johnson made his first serious save of the evening on 74 minutes when Oxford won possession out on their right and worked the ball inside to Nana Owusu whose firm drive from around 30 yards was palmed away by the fully extended Saints goalkeeper.

The prospect of St Albans adding to their recent tally of late goals loomed large on 86 minutes when Warner-Eley lined up a left-footed free kick just outside the penalty area but Dudzinski moved to his left to gather safely.

Three minutes later and Oxford’s most flowing move of the evening created an opening for Josh Ashby whose shot, from Zac McEachran’s pass, was tipped around the post by the diving Johnson.

Johnson’s heroics ensured the last time since St Albans conceded a goal was extended to 496 minutes. The run of five league games without conceding a goal was last achieved in February and March during the 2008/09 season.

Should the Saints keep a clean sheet against Tonbridge Angels at Clarence Park on Saturday they will equal the club record of six consecutive league shut outs.

Oxford City: B.Dudzinski, A.Drewe, L.Hall, J.Ashby, J.Oastler, R.Fleet, E.Benyon (H.Bradbury 73), Z.McEachran, L.Coyle (N.Owusu 61), L.Fernandez (J.Bancroft 77), B.Gerring. Subs not used: D.Matsuzaka, P.Martinez.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, T.Bender, K.Wiltshire, J.Kaloczi, M.Clark, S.Nwabuokei, S.Jeffers (J.Chidyausiku 90), Z.Banton (D.Stanley 90), M.Weiss (D.Noble 77), M.Sundire, L.Warner-Eley. Subs not used: D.Diedhiou, C.Onokwai.