Hello everyone, Lee Jackson here on a misty night in St Albans at Clarence Park ahead of a potential upset between underdogs St Albans City who sit second in the National League South going head to head with table toppers Forest Green Rovers who are currently the league leaders in the EFL League Two.
St Albans will be looking to cause a classic cup upset here as they are bang in form with six wins in their last six games netting fourteen goals in the process. They’re already at a better stage than they were last year after they were defeated 4-1 by Weymouth in the Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round although they will be really looking to kick on and make a go of it this time due to their great form.
Facing them, Forest Green, who has had fluctuating form as of late are coming into this game off of a 1-1 draw with Bradford. It’s exactly a year to the day since Forest Green were dumped out at this stage last year on the tail end of a 6-2 drubbing against Lincoln City.
The Saints talisman Shaun Jeffers will be looking to manufacture a quality performance in front of goal tonight already netting 17 goals so far this campaign. On the other hand, Rovers have a weapon of their own in the form of Mathew Stevens who has already surpassed his best tally of any season scoring nine goals. Is there a cup upset in the air tonight or will it be business as usual? Here are the lineups for tonight.
A minute silence for the fallen as the jam packed Clarence Park remembers those who weren’t able to grow old, just so we could. Lest We Forget 🌺
KICK OFF! ’01 – It’s St Albans who get us underway as the whistle is met with a roar from the capacity crowd.
’03 – A robust challenge early on for Dave Diedhiou as he slides the ball out of play whilst taking Jake Young in the process, a strong but fair challenge.
🟨 YELLOW CARD ’05 – No surprise as it is feisty midfielder Diedhiou who is the first name in the book with a collection of fouls already to his name.
CHANCE! ’14 – Lovely possession football from the Saints here as Kyran Wiltshire manages to pick out Zane Banton at wide left who continues to drive at the Rovers’ defence, slotting an intricate pass across the box to find dangerman Shaun Jeffers who in turn fires a shot towards goal but a fantastic block from Jordan Moore-Taylor to deny the goal.
⚽ GOAL! (ST ALBANS CITY 0 – 1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS) ’18 – It’s former boxer Mathew Stevens, who delivers the first blow in this match as a curled cross from Josh March panics the defence with Stevens waiting with predatorial instinct to nick it in for his 10th of the season.
’22 – St Albans struggling to get anywhere dangerous here as Forest Green showing why they’re a couple of leagues above. Great control of the game so far but the crowd looking to galvanise their team to get an equaliser.
⚽ GOAL! (ST ALBANS CITY 1 – 1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS) ’25 – Out of nowhere they’ve levelled it as a short pass from a long free-kick is distributed out wide left to Johnny Goddard who cuts inside and delivers a brilliantly weighted cross into the danger area only for Mitchell Weiss to get on the end of with a good headed finish.
⚽ GOAL! (ST ALBANS CITY 2 – 1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS) ’29 – Absolutely astonishing stuff unfolding here as St Albans fire in a couple of quickfire goals to take the lead. Banton is on fire, as a lofted ball up to Weiss allows him to turn provider and delicately head the ball down to Banton who controls and drives into the box slotting home a curled effort into the bottom right corner.
CHANCE! ’34 – So close for a Forest Green equaliser as the corner is whipped into Moore-Taylor who doesn’t quite get the accuracy and hits the bar with a headed effort.
’42 – Brilliant individual duels all over the pitch as the game is tight and tentative, just like a classic FA Cup tie should be.
⚽ GOAL! (ST ALBANS CITY 2 – 2 FOREST GREEN ROVERS) ’45+1 – An incredible first half as Forest Green level it up to 2-2 and what a finish it was. A giant switch of play from Udoka Godwin-Malife gets the momentum going as Ebou Adams receives the ball on the half-turn and drives a pass into the open Jack Aitchison who arrows the ball with power into the bottom left corner with lethal conviction to equalise.
🕑 HALF TIME – (ST ALBANS CITY 2 – 2 FOREST GREEN ROVERS)
’49 – How damaging will that goal be just before half-time for St Albans and will Forest Green impose themselves and take control of this tie.
’60 – A quiet second half so far as neither team looks like they want to make a move in order to try and win this game.
🟨 YELLOW CARD ’63 – Young picks up a yellow card after a cynical trip on Callum Adebiyi stops the counterattack.
SUBSTITUTION ’65 – A substitution for Forest Green as they look to try and grasp this game by the scruff of its neck with Young who’s on a booking being replaced by Sadou Diallo.
’73 – Confidence building for St Albans as they’re playing some fantastic football, knocking the ball around like it’s a training session.
⚽ GOAL! (ST ALBANS CITY 3 – 2 FOREST GREEN ROVERS) ’78 – The upset might well be happening here as top scorer Jeffers fires home his 18th goal of the season and what a crucial one it could be. The Forest Green defence caught sleeping as a lofted kick from Michael Johnson finds its way to Jeffers, who jostles with a defender and somehow squirms the ball out, with Kane Wilson being dispossessed and slipping to the ground as Weiss latches onto the ball and lays it on a plate for Jeffers who fires it into an open goal.
SUBSTITUTION ’79 – A double change for St Albans as they look to sure up the defence and keep hold of the narrow lead with Huw Dawson and Bayley Brown replacing Johnny Goddard and David Noble.
’86 – You would think they’ve scored again as The Saints keeper collects the ball comfortably and a roar of appreciation from the home crowd.
🟨 YELLOW CARD ’90 – Frustration for Adams sees him meet a yellow card after a poor challenge. Not the time to be giving away fouls as Forest Green chase the game.
SUBSTITUTION ’90+6 – A man of the match performance from Weiss with a goal and a couple of assists to boot as he makes way for Liam Sole.
🕑 FULL TIME – (ST ALBANS CITY 3 – 2 FOREST GREEN ROVERS)
Reflecting on the Match
What a night for the underdogs tonight as Forest Green are dumped out of the FA Cup by St Albans in a thrilling affair. A first-half goal-fest from both sides which quickly burst into life with quickfire goals from both sides set the 2nd half up to be a cracker. It was Forest Green who made the initial breakthrough to break the deadlock but St Albans rapidly responded with two of their own taking the lead. Just on the stroke of half-time, an equaliser from Forest Green really kicked the game into another gear. It was Jeffers who got the crucial goal for St Albans and sent them through to the next round after a wonderful display.