With City’s various cup campaigns for 2023-24 underway the Our First and Our Last feature for the visit of Aveley on 28th October reflected on the Saints first and then most recent lifting of silverware.


St Albans City 3-2 Bishop’s Stortford 25th April 2013

 Having provided the club with its first piece of silverware back in 1910, the Herts Charity Cup, ten years ago, was also the most recent cup to grace Clarence Park . Our victims on 25th April 2013 were Bishop’s Stortford. We had met the Bishops’ on eight previous occasions in cup finals with honours even at four wins apiece.

8b Herts Charity Cup Final Aveley 28 Oct

At the time of this game, the 82nd between the two clubs, we were in the second of our three seasons of the Southern League Premier Division while Stortford, as they are now, were in National League North. Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds were the joint City managers having replaced David Howell five months earlier. In charge of Stortford was Rod Stringer who we have met on quite a few occasions over the past ten years during his time with our county rivals and then with Chelmsford City. There were no former Saints in Rod’s Stortford side although Billy Lobjoit, a half time substitute in the final, did play in two of our summer friendlies that year.

Fifteen years had passed since a City team, then under Garry Hill , had last won the Herts Charity Cup but that run looked to be coming to an end when first half goals by Chris Henry and David Keenleyside fired us into a two-goal interval lead. Stortford had the benefit of playing down the slope towards the Hatfield Road goal during the second half and they used it to good effect with Ricky Sappleton scoring twice inside the opening twelve minutes. Stortford continued to dominate for the rest of the half but could not find the winning goal. The game was decided nine minutes into extra time when City midfielder Matt Taylor fired a Keenleyside cross past visiting keeper Haydn Dodge.

8c Comley Martin with HCC Aveley 28 OctPlaying his 305th, and final, game for St Albans City was Simon Martin . Sixteen years had passed since former City Youth player Simon had made his First team debut and his final game for the club was marked with him being named captain. After the game he, along with our club captain James Comley, received the cup from Hertfordshire Football Association life vice-president Lawrence Bolino. Simon scored 90 times for the Saints including one in five Herts Charity Cup ties.

This was our 46th appearance in the final of which 26 ended in our favour. Barnet, no longer in Hertfordshire, have won the cup the second highest number of times on 24. We have met Barnet (and Barnet Alston) 23 times in the final with the highest attendance being the 6,200 who attended our 3-1 defeat at Underhill in March 1948. The attendance for our win over Stortford ten years ago was slightly smaller at 230.

We may not have won any other cup competitions since this success, but a year after this game, Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds gained the club promotion, via a play-off final victory away to Chesham United, back to the Conference (now National) League South.

St Albans City: Tom Coulton, Josh Urquhart, Layne Eadie, James Kaloczi, Ryan Wharton, Fabio Bufano, Bradley Wadkins ( Richard Graham 106), Matt Taylor, Simon Martin (Elliot Bailey 64), David Keenleyside, Chris Henry (Ken Ogbuagu 56), Subs; Stuart Henderson, Curtis Shaw. Booked: Kaloczi.

Bishop’s Stortford: Haydn Dodge, Barry Mattock, Johnny Herd, Steve Cawley, Adam Bailey-Dennis, Sean Francis, Callum Webb (Matt Johnson 56), Alli Abdullahi, Ricky Sappleton (Danny Elmes 82), Jesse Waller-Lassen, Harry Baker (Billy Lobjoit 46), subs; Reece Prestedge, Ben Sampayo. Booked: Baker, Sappleton, Lobjoit. Referee: Rob Smith (Letchworth).