What was possibly the final match to be played by St Albans City for the 2020-21 season took place at Clarence Park on Saturday but the overriding question has to be why?

The season was terminated on February 18 when a majority of clubs in the North and South divisions of the National League voted against continuing with the season’s fixtures. Some clubs, St Albans City included, sought to overturn that decision and continue playing.

On Sunday, March 7, City played a Brentford XI and followed that on March 9 by playing Braintree Town at Clarence Park. One can only presume that they did so in the hope that Football Association would agree with the minority of clubs who wished to continue.

On March 12 the FA delivered their verdict and rubber stamped the decision made earlier in the month to terminate the season with all games already played declared null and void.

With that in the mind, why did St Albans City go ahead with Saturday’s game against National League North leaders Gloucester City? There were no points at stake, the season is not going to re-start, the decision to play the game defied all logic.

There are wider issues to be addressed beyond the simple playing of a meaningless game.

The pandemic is still with us, the lockdown is still in force yet St Albans and Gloucester officials went ahead with the game. It is difficult to see how the journey made by any of the players, officials and ‘matchday critical’ staff could be considered to have been essential, as per the current regulations.

St Albans City's operations director and club secretary Leigh Page said: "As an elite football club, it is a privilege that we are permitted to continue playing and throughout this unpredictable season we have considered it our duty to bring football to our supporters whenever the opportunity arose.

"Football offers purpose, engagement and positivity that cannot be measured by points won and we were delighted that our friends at Gloucester City chose to honour this pre-arranged competitive friendly, despite Friday’s disappointing news. 

"It proved to be a fitting end to the season for both clubs."

As for the game, it finished as it started, goalless. Gloucester enjoyed the greater share of the play during the opening 45 minutes but clear chances were at a premium. Michel Johnson saved well from Gloucester’s Matt McClure while Shaun Jeffers struck the woodwork from a free kick for the hosts.

St Albans enjoyed a good spell of pressure late in the day but a draw was a suitable outcome.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, D.Stanley, K.Wiltshire (D.Diedhiou 46), J.Kaloczi (J.Mukena 46), M.Clark (M.Sundire 46), S.Nwabuokei (H.Dawson 61), S.Jeffers (J.Chidyausiku 62), R.Shakes (R.Akinola 46), Z.Banton (M.Weiss 46), A.Lankshear, L.Warner-Eley.

Gloucester City: R.Lovett (J.Cole 46), T.Harrison (J.Bremner 66), T.O'Sullivan, J.James (A.Hainault 46), B.Morgan ( Trialist 66), J.Evans, F.Robert, M.McClure (D.King 61), K.Marsh-Brown (G.Omotayo 61), C.McGilp, R.Barnett.