By Lance Jenkinson
The glamour and the riches of the FFA Cup national round of 32 have eluded the St Albans Saints.
The Saints are disappointed to fall one step short of a potential high-profile meeting with an A-League club in the next round.
The Kruni Razov-coached Saints were ousted from the knock-out competition in the seventh round with a 3-1 loss to Bulleen Lions at the Veneto Club on Wednesday night.
“I’m very disappointed,” Razov said. “I’m more disappointed for the club and the boys. We deserved a lot more from that game, but we didn’t get it.”
St Albans had a harrowing start to the game.
The Saints trailed by two goals after the opening five minutes – and it could have been even worse.
“We just fell asleep in the defence for the first two goals,” Razov said. “Bulleen also hit the post in the seventh minute as well. After that, it woke us up.”
They Saints needed a steadying influence – they found it through midfielder Michael Grgic.
The Saints slowly took control of possession and fought the rest of the half out well, but to no avail on the scoreboard.
“After the very poor opening seven minutes, it was probably a 50-50 game in the first half,” Razov said.
The second half was much better from
The Saints bossed the game for the most part and got rewarded with a goal to Ayodeji Omoboye in the 81st minute.
Omoboye made a perfect run behind the Bulleen defence and latched on to a delightful cross from Joseph Monek to score.
Adam Hodor was a spark off the bench for St Albans, while the physicality of Nana Yaw Otuo-Acheampong was crucial.
Razov believes his side was unlucky not to be awarded two penalties in the second half.
The Saints were also a little too wasteful at the end of their attacking moves.
“In the second half, we were the dominant side and should’ve had at least one, but probably two penalties,” Razov said.
“It just didn’t fall our way in the second half, but that’s what happens when you give away silly goals early in the game.”
Bulleen clinched its victory with a goal from the penalty spot from Josh Knight.
St Albans can now focus solely on NPL 2 west. The Saints are in contention for promotion, but slipped to third on Saturday after a 2-2 draw with Moreland City.
David Stojic rescued a point for the Saints with an 88th minute goal.
Razov could see the benefit of having total focus on the league, but would prefer the alternative.
“I’d prefer it to be the other way and still be involved with both competitions,” he said. “We do have a lot of sore bodies.
“You would’ve had a semi-final in the Dockerty Cup and then you would’ve had to play the FFA Cup, so it’s an extra two games thrown in somewhere in the next six weeks.
“It’s hard on part-timers, but it’s still disappointing to go out.”