Semi-final place booked for St Albans City as Royston Town are beaten
PUBLISHED: 21:35 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 22:57 11 February 2020
Two goals in three minutes were enough to send St Albans City through to the semi-final of the Herts Senior Cup against Royston Town.
Antonis Vasiliou and Sam Merson struck in the first 10 minutes of the second half as Saints eased to a 2-0 win.
It wasn't the best of games, the senior county competition tends not to produce classics, but a second win in a row will delight manager Ian Allinson.
And with relegation still looming large in City's consciousness, the sequence of wins may arguably be more of a valuable prize than the last four place.
Royston too have bigger fish to fry this year, with an FA Trophy quarter-final and promotion to the National League South occupying their waking moments.
There was plenty of changes in their side from the success at Ebbsfleet with Steve Castle clearly wanting to look at some of his youngsters.
City too were much-changed from the win at Bath with a first start for Harry Forster, the on-loan Watford winger.
And you can see why the Hornets rate him so highly. Slight in stature but with hidden strength, he possesses electric pace and good dribbling ability.
He showed that in the very first minute and had one good chance later in the first half but delayed ever so slightly and allowed Harry Smart to make the save.
There wasn't many more chances in the first period for either side with a rising moon in rather a fetching shade of orange provided the main highlight.
Chances were also limited in the second half although the two goals were beautifully executed and took the sting out of any Royston fight.
Vasiliou got the first after a quick break through the middle from Forster. The pass out to the left allowed him to take a touch before steering it around the keeper and into the far corner.
The second was the best of the two. Vasiliou this time supplied the cross from a position deep by the by-line on the right.
It was met first-time by Merson who volleyed it up and over the keeper and into the top corner.
Royston huffed and puffed after that and put a bit of pressure on Alex Tokarczyk making his debut in the Saints goal.
But the former Walton Casuals and Maidenhead United man look assured with what they could throw at him, especially from crosses which he claimed with the minimum of fuss.
The Crows will make the short journey down the A505 to face Hitchin Town on Saturday and will more than likely field a much more familiar line-up.
Some of the youngsters did well but are unlikely to find a first-team place any time soon.
It is a different story for Saints.
Forster's night ended on 83 minutes with a decent round of applause from the sparse crowd and it will be interesting to see if he gets a start on Saturday for the visit of Oxford City.
It won't be long certainly.
St Albans City: Tokarczyk, Clark, L.Gordon, Shulton, Longe-King, Bender (Diedhiou 69), Vasiliou, Nwaboukei, Louis, Merson, Forster (R.Gordon 83).
Subs (not used): Noble, Iaciofano.
Goals: Vasiliou 52, Merson 55
Royston Town: Smart, Johnson, Warner-Eley, Green, Parr, Crowther, Ofosu (Bridges 64), Endacott (Brathwaite 46), Adams, Stefanoaica, Nolan (Judge 46).
Subs (not used): Jobe, Costin.
HT: St Albans City 0 Royston Town 0
Referee: Matthew Fletcher (Hemel Hempstead)