United's FA Cup dream ended at the first hurdle as they failed to take their chances against visitors St Albans City.
The all Vanarama Conference South tie was always going to be a close affair and that a single goal separated the sides at the final whistle surprised nobody.
The visitors started slightly the brighter with a series of early corners all dealt with by the United defence and it was one of those defenders De'Reece Vanderhyde that forced the first proper save of the match at the other end in the sixth minute. His long-range effort from the right hand touchline forced a save from Joe Welch who reacted with a firm push over his bar for a United corner.
Five minutes later and Affy Obafemi found himself closed down on the edge of the box but was able to slip the ball right into the path of Cliff Akurang but the United striker's shot was straight at Welch and the visitors hurriedly cleared their lines.
United took a body blow literally with an injury to talismanic defender Matt Ruby midway through the half to be replaced by a lively Ashleigh Artwell but it did require a shuffle of the home formation.
As United regrouped, St Albans had the ball in the net within minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Just before the half hour mark the visitors went close after Sean Shields waltzed past two United defenders to get to the byeline. He shot towards the near post where Calum Kitscha was quick to react and turn the ball out for a corner.
St Albans were once again using the impressive long throw of Lee Chappell to good effect and twice United saw the ball whistle across their area without a relevant touch to trouble Kitscha, but just before half-time he was equal to an effort, saving low to his left.
United started the second half very brightly with Louis-Rae Beadle breaking down the left hand-side in the opening minutes but he curled his shot from outside the box, just beyond the top corner of the goal.
On 52 minutes Akurang beat two St Albans players in the box before seeing Welch make a great save from close range. Matty Harriott following up then saw his effort cleared off the line by a defender and somehow Welch kept out the Akurang's second shot on the rebound, turning it out for a corner.
The goal came in the 56th minute with United slow to react to a St Albans break down the left. This time Chappell had no need for his long throw and showed his ability with his feet to lift the ball over the advancing Kitscha and into the back of the net.
United were far from out of the game and on 72 minutes Obafemi had two touches at the far corner of the 6 yard box before shooting wide of target. Moments later Akurang chased defender Darren Locke and as Welch attempted to kick clear outside of his box, the ball struck Akurang as he closed down. Looking goalbound the ball hit a divot and spun agonisingly inches wide of the post.
On 79 minutes later Akurang headed back across the area but Pat Cox couldn't direct his own header or get enough power to ever really trouble Welch.
In the dying minutes Charlie Gorman and Cox both fell to the floor in the St Albans box but as referee Cooper waved away penalty appeals so went with it United's FA Cup dreams for another year.
Report by Tim Fuell.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
Curtain Guards United Man of the Match: Louis-Rae Beadle.
Print the Teamsheet: Here.