Having moved inside the play-off places with a win against Hampton & Richmond Borough a last weekend the Saints will be looking to consolidate their position inside the top seven this coming Saturday as we welcome Weston-super-Mare to Clarence Park.
That win against the Beavers was secured by Zane Banton, who struck in the 62nd minute following Khale Da Costa’s brilliant back heeled layoff. While the Saints had chances to extend their lead, the victory was built upon an impressive defensive performance which limited the home side to just two efforts from distance.
Following the game Ian Allinson expressed his delight with both the performance and the result “The second half was very good. We looked strong, we looked powerful and the only thing that let us down was that we weren’t out of sight by the end” before adding “We’ve got some really good players in this team, they’re really honest, they’ve put their body on the line for us and I can only congratulate them following today’s performance”.
This weekend’s opponents have suffered a difficult season so far and are currently bottom of the table with twenty points from twenty-eight games played, although recent results mean they have closed up the gap on the sides above them and are now only three points from safety.
The Seagulls recorded their first win of the season in November when they defeated Hungerford Town and while their form has been up and down since then they have managed to drag themselves back into the fight for survival. Of their last five league games they have only lost one, away at Billericay Town at the start of January, and are currently three games unbeaten following draws against Eastbourne Borough (1-1) and Truro City (3-3) and a victory last time out against Slough Town (2-0).
Their win against Slough Town was Weston’s first victory on home soil of the season and sets the Seagulls up perfectly for a trip to this part of Hertfordshire. While goals from captain Jacob Cane and Marlon Jackson secured the three points it was goalkeeper Luke Purnell who starred, making a number of impressive saves to keep the visitors at bay.
Manager Marc McGregor, who arrived in 2017, has looked to the loan market to boost his squad in their bid for survival and in recent weeks has extended the deals from Bristol City for defenders George Nurse and Aaron Person, while also bringing in Tom Harrison, again from the Ashton Gate based club.
Nurse scored the opening goal in the reverse fixture earlier this season at the Woodspring, but the defender was on the losing side as the Saints came from two goals behind to win on a wet afternoon in Somerset thanks to a Ralston Gabriel strike and a brace from Zane Banton, who scored the winner with just under twenty minutes left on the clock.
That victory was City’s sixth straight in league meetings between the two clubs and you have to go back to 2015 to find the last time that the Seagull’s triumphed.
In terms of team news for the Saints Ian Allinson will be hoping to have Sam Merson available for this clash, however both Ben Herd and David Noble are doubts as they continue their recoveries from injury. This week also saw the departure of Percy Kiangebeni after it was mutually agreed to terminate the midfielder’s contract.
With both sides needing the points for very different reasons Saturday’s meeting promises to be an entertaining one!
Kick-off is 3pm and turnstiles open at 1:30pm.
Come On You Saints!