Eastbourne Borough 4-0 St Albans City

It had, I have to say, been a long time. Since moving to Brighton two years ago, I had neglected St Albans City, but in the meantime they have done a pretty good job of neglecting themselves, too. Two years ago, the story couldn’t have been much more different. Under the tutelage of Colin Lippiatt, they chased full-time Weymouth all the way in the Conference South, eventually losing out after a bad tempered match in Dorset, but comfortably won their play-off final match at Stevenage against Histon to gain promotion to English football’s fifth division. To say that their brief stay there was unsuccessful would be something of an understatement. There were brief highlights – an opening day win at Kidderminster and a 4-2 win against York City, for example – but mostly it was thrashing after thrashing, and instant relegation back to the footballing hinterlands. Last summer, the wheels came spectacularly off the wagon. With Lippiatt retiring and the players (who evidently felt that the forty points that they amassed in the Conference were ample evidence if their talents) leaving in droves, the club took the breathtaking decision to appoint Ritchie Hanlon, an untried twenty-nine year old, as manager. The result was fairly predictable. The club slumped to second from bottom in the Conference South amid rumours of being close to bankruptcy and were knocked out of all...

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