Duncan Gardner shares his latest Facts of the Match ahead of this afternoon’s home fixture against St Albans.
Historically we have the edge against our opponents today, but only just with a W10 D2 L9 record, although that does improve to W6 D1 L3 at home. Our most recent meeting was just this season when we travelled to Clarence Park in November. On that occasion we left Hertfordshire empty-handed as we ended up on the wrong end of a five-goal-thriller although in truth after first conceding in the 19th minute we would not draw level again, our second consolation goal arriving just two minutes before the end of normal time courtesy of a Tom Bearwish strike. Our opener that day was from the head of loanee Brendan Willson who can repeat the feat today in his second loan stint of the season from parent club Eastleigh. The scorers for the Saints that day were Shaun Jeffers with a brace and a Mitchell Weiss strike. This weekend Jeffers will be looking to cement his National League South golden boot campaign and add to his 21 league goals to date.
Before this current season, we last faced the yellow and blues in our previous National League South campaign in 2019/20. In the league games we shared the points as we achieved a fine 4-1 win on the road in September (with goals from Odubade, Zubar, Hobson & McCarthy) before we succumbed to a 0-1 home loss just before Christmas. Sandwiched in between those league games was the small matter of an FA Cup 3Q round tie in which we also won 4-1 with goals from Odubade (a brace), Wakefield & McCarthy.
Looking further back – in 2018/19 we again had cup success, this time in the FA Trophy, as we won an away replay to proceed to the last 64 of the competition. The annuls then show we tussled with today’s visitors over three seasons in the Southern League from 2011 to 2014 with three wins, two losses and the one draw. We also played them in the 2009/10 Conference South season (two losses), the 2006/07 Conference National campaign (one win each) and two more seasons in the Conference South from 2004 to 2006 (three wins to one). Finally our very first match up was another cup pairing in 1997 in the FA Trophy 1st round proper and a 0-2 loss in the home counties.
Surprisingly few players have featured for both clubs. In recent times we can find just three. Pat Baldwin played for the Terras in 2015/16 and also featured for the Hertfordshire outfit on loan from Colchester United in his youth. Winger Sean Shields also played for Weymouth until last season and similarly had a spell at Clarence Park in his earlier days. Finally, Josh Oyinsan did have a few games at St. Albans in-between tenures at Welling United and Braintree.
Another non- playing connection is our former chairman Ian Ridley who was also on the board at St. Albans a few years later in 2011.