St. Albans City 0 Forest Green Rovers 0

Last updated : 04 October 2006 By Footymad Previewer
St Albans City collected their first point in six games as Forest Green Rovers extended their unbeaten run to five in a dour bottom of the table clash at Clarence Park.

The home side had lost their five previous games and, although they stopped the rot, they will be disappointed with just a single point against one of the sides below them at the bottom of the Conference table.

But a point was all they really deserved in a poor game between two sides who look like they will struggle to stay in the Conference on this showing.

In response to City's poor run of form, Saints boss Colin Lippiatt, who has never been one to shirk a decision, lived up to his 'tinkerman' image by dropping skipper Lee Clarke and crowd favourite Chris Seeby to the bench.

Tom Davis returned to the side after serving a one-match ban and Rambir Marwa moved up from the bench to start the game.

For Forest Green, Mark Beesley made his first start of the season up front in place of Adriano Rigoglioso who missed out through injury.

It was the away side that made the brighter opening and they almost scored after just three minutes when Simon Clist got on the end of a deep Matt Robinson cross, but his header just cleared the bar.

Four minutes later Alex Meechan had a shot on goal, but his effort was parried by Saints keeper Paul Bastock.

Forest Green suffered a blow when skipper Jamie Pitman was forced off after just nine minutes when the midfielder was unable to shake off an early knock. He was replaced by Paul Stonehouse.

Injuries were a common theme of the first half and the home side had to make a change themselves after 25 minutes with central defender Gary Elphick going off with a hamstring injury and being replaced by Seeby.

Eight minutes later they had to make another change after Marwa was stretchered off with an ankle injury.

City were slow out of the blocks and didn't register a chance until 37 minutes when Alexis Nicolas curled a free-kick just over.

But as the first half drew to a close they began to dominate proceedings and should have taken the lead when Duane Jackman turned neatly in the box but could not keep his shot down.

The Saints changed from a 3-5-2 system to a 4-4-2 formation for the start of the second half, but the switch failed to bring about a change in fortune as the home side struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

Forest Green, who themselves looked nervy in possession, were unable to capitalise on City's hesitancy, but they created the better chances in a disjointed game.

Allan Russell went close on 71 minutes with an effort which was well-saved by Bastock and the City keeper, who received his award for September's player of the month before the game, rescued his side again with a stop three minutes later, turning Clist's dangerous free-kick around the post.

Forest Green should have scored in the 80th minute when substitute Les Afful broke down the right and pulled the ball across the face of goal but no-one was there to stick it away.

There was little to cheer for the home fans, but Nicolas almost brought a smile to their faces with a blistering free-kick from 30 yards on 86 minutes which Steve Williams in the Forest Green goal did well to tip over.