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Former Arsenal and Hibernian goalkeeper Graham Stack keeps clean sheet as Watford draw 0-0 with St Albans City
8:37am Thursday 2nd August 2012 in Sport
Graham Stack played the full 90 minutes as a Watford development side drew 0-0 with non-league St Albans City.
Italian legend Gianfranco Zola looked on as a side consisting of mainly academy players and first-year professionals were held to a goalless draw by the Evo-Stik League Southern side at Clarence Park last night.
The visitors missed a string of good chances and Stack, who started his career at Arsenal and left Hibs in the summer, was comfortable for most of the night.
It was initially thought that Stack was a trialist at Watford but it has been suggested that he is merely training with the squad at the moment, with back-up keeper Jack Bonham injured.
Watford, who included Gavin Massey and Matty Whichelow in their starting XI, began well and soon stretched the Saints with a comfortable passing game.
The visitors were first to threaten with Chris Dillon having the sting taken out of his shot, leaving Hardy to make a simple save.
City did well to weather early Watford pressure and had to wait until midway through the half before worrying the Hornets backline.But other than for a couple of half chances for Aaron Lansiquot, the Hornets goal was not seriously troubled.
Watford had two good chances to go ahead late in the half but both times Hardy made outstanding saves as he pushed a Whichelow shot around the post and then beat out an Aaron Tumwa header.
Whichelow, teed up by Dillon, finally got the ball past Hardy on 41 minutes but the shot hit the side-netting.
Watford, led by Under-18s manager David Hughes, exerted heavy pressure early in the second half but City survived mainly thanks to a number of determined blocks.
Jazzi-Barnum-Bobb was thwarted right in front of the Hatfield Road goal before Stephan Hamilton-Forbes had an effort charged down and Whichelow was denied by the legs of Hardy.
Watford continued to press forward with Luke O’Nien having a shot cleared off the line by the impressive Matt Taylor, while Massey hammered the loose ball high and wide.
City, who had former Watford midfielder Micah Hyde in their side, almost broke through with a classic counter-attack. Whichelow lost the ball following a surging run and moments later Richard Graham had set Chris Henry up but again the wingers shot was woefully off target.
A slip by Layne Eadie allowed Kamaron English to burst clear. Joe Zazzera regained possession with an excellent tackle but went close to putting Watford ahead with a misdirected back pass.
A total of 16 second half changes disrupted the flow of the game to some degree but a couple of the new faces went close to snatching a winning goal.
Within a minute of coming on, Hornets substitute Bobson Bawling stabbed a shot narrowly wide and then St Albans' Sean Shields, came within a whisker of putting City in front with a freak ricochet as he blocked an attempted clearance by O’Nien As Watford pushed up in the closing minutes, City looked to the speed of substitute David Parkinson to decide the game on the break.
Twice Parkinson got clear but the first time his misjudged pass to Edward Adeji lost City possession and the second effort was snuffed out when Stack, currently training with Watford, saved at the striker's feet.
St Albans City: N.Hardy, A.Blackwood (J.Zazzera 56), N.Bernard (L.Eadie 46), M.Taylor (O.Cleaver 67), C.Ujah (M.Diarra 56), D.Gordon (W.Walters 56), C.Henry (Se.Shields 77), M.Hyde (H.Carr 56), R.Haworth (E.Adeji 46), A.Lansiquot (D.Parkinson 67), R.Graham (T.Charles 77).
Watford: G.Stack, J.Barnum-Bobb, K.Connolly, S.Hamilton-Forbes, J.Johnson (D.O’Connor 58), A.Tumwa, G.Massey (B.Bawling 72), C.Dillon (J.Calvin 72), M.Whichelow (R.Hope 72), L.O’Nien (K.Cumberbatch 72), K.English (J.Doherty 77), sub not used: D.Wilks.
Referee: Mick Russell (St Albans).