St Albans City breezed through to the third round of the FA Trophy on Tuesday with a trio of second-half goals giving Ian Allinson’s side an anything but flattering 3-0 win over Isthmian League Premier Division side Cray Wanderers at Clarence Park.

The Wanderers, who had played just one game in the six weeks leading up to this tie, gave City problems for the opening ten minutes but once City decided to join in it was only an outstanding display by goalkeeper Lewis Carey that stopped the Saints from winning by a far more significant margin.

City were without the injured Tom Bender and rested Michael Clark. Devante Stanley was called in at right-back and Joy Mukena joined James Kaloczi in the heart of the defence. Kaloczi, who gave another near faultless display, was named as City captain for the third time in his 135 games for the club.

Cray won two corners inside the opening four minutes and sent two, quite tame, efforts at Michael Johnson’s goal within seven minutes of the off, but never again seriously concerned the City rearguard.

However, Tony Russell’s team showed themselves to be a good passing side only to find that everything that could have gone against them before the interval did. The Kent side, who groundshare at Bromley’s Hayes Lane stadium, lost both Charlie Allen and Tom Casle through injury before half-time and on 44 minutes had substitute Lee Lewis sent off.

City gave a hint at what was to come with Mitchell Weiss twice going close. Firstly, he headed over from a Luke Warner-Eley free-kick and was then denied at point-blank range by Carey following good work by Zane Banton and Shaun Jeffers.

City played the ball around with an air of confidence but it was route one that almost led to a goal on 11 minutes. Jeffers and Weiss helped Johnson’s long punt across the edge of the visitors' penalty area to Banton whose blistering drive was somehow pushed against the underside of the crossbar by the diving Carey.

After a quiet spell, in which Cray appeared quite comfortable, St Albans upped the tempo. Warner-Eley, looking for his first goal for the club, had a crisp effort punched out by Carey who then excelled to instinctively tip over the top a clever header by Banton after Weiss’s half-volley from a Stanley cross looked to be going nowhere dangerous.

A minute later the injured Allen made way for Lewis. Still City piled forward and Cray had a left off when a Banton corner was headed goalwards by Solomon Nwabuokei but appeared to be blocked on the goalline by team mate Weiss.

On 35 minutes Kyran Wiltshire, who has proved to be an excellent summer signing from Oxford City, crossed from the right to Kaloczi whose header was blocked while his follow up, from no more than a yard out, thudded into Carey’s chest.

Next to miss out was Banton who, after picking the ball up just inside the Cray half, stormed past three defenders but could not seriously test Carey.

Banton was also involved in Lewis’s dismissal when his excellent low pass through the visitors' defence sent Weiss away. Lewis, as the last defender, made a genuine attempt to tackle Weiss but just caught the City striker and was immediately despatched by referee Daniel Simpson.

Warner-Eley sent the ensuing free-kick crashing into the crossbar and Munashe Sundire put his follow up from 18 yards too close to the 'keeper who smothered the ball right on the goalline.

Cray centre forward Joe Taylor appealed for a penalty a minute into the second period but he did look to go down just a bit too easily with Kaloczi in close attendance.

St Albans, now playing against ten men, bossed the game even more than they had done during the opening 45 minutes but Carey stood firm and got down well to push another Banton shot around the post.

Carey’s resistance had to end sometime and on 48 minutes City finally found a way past him. A cross by Kaloczi was headed away, Wiltshire collected the loose ball and darted past Taylor before shooting, right-footed, across the ‘keeper from 20 yards out and into the Hatfield Road goal.

After all that had gone before, it seemed as though Carey was late in getting down as Wiltshire opened his account for the Saints.

A minute later and Stanley, marauding down the right once more, passed to Sundire whose cross was met by Weiss and deflected to Banton. Not for the first time, Banton struck the ball with great power but, again, Carey made a remarkable save to his left and deserved to see Weiss’s follow up blocked for a corner.

City’s second goal, on the hour, concluded a spell of sustained pressure and was pure class.

The ball was worked across the pitch by Sundire, Nwabuokei and Mukena to Warner-Eley who fed Banton. After a quick exchange of passes with Jeffers, Banton fired low to Carey’s right from 17 yards for his fourth goal of the season.

Warner-Eley continued to search for his first goal and it took another fine flick over the top by Carey to keep out the former Royston player’s free-kick from wide of the penalty area.

Banton looked to have teed up Sundire for the third goal but, from virtually on the goalline, the midfielder somehow scooped his shot over the bar.

Persistence paid off on 86 minutes with a third goal that was the culmination of a build-up of 20 passes.

City looked content to just retain possession as substitute Clark and Nwabuokei played keep-ball until Nwabuokei turned just inside the centre circle in the City half and slid a glorious ball into the path of the advancing Stanley. From his low cross to the back post Weiss swept home his sixth goal of the season.

Jeffers, looking slightly off form in front of goal for a change, forced Carey into one last save before skewing a simple chance wide after more outstanding approach work by Nwabuokei and Banton.

City will be at home to National League high flyers Sutton United on Saturday in the third round. Kick-off at Clarence Park is at 3pm.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, D.Stanley, K.Wiltshire (D.Noble 70), J.Kaloczi, S.Nwabuokei, S.Jeffers, Z.Banton, M.Weiss, M.Sundire (M.Dara 87), J.Mukena (M.Clark 82), L.Warner-Eley. Subs not used: A.Lankshear, C.Onokwai, D.Diedhiou, R.Matrevics.

Cray Wanderers: L.Carey, K.Richards, T.Casle (B.Williams 40), T.Phipp, J.Banton (J.Federico 64), M.Nelson, J.Taylor, F.Parker, B.Pritchard, R.Murrell-Williamson, C.Allen (L.Lewis 33). Subs not used: K.Dent, E.Oduguwa, E.Onoabagbe, R.Hall.