Walker off the mark as St Albans City find that winning feeling again
PUBLISHED: 21:42 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 21:42 31 January 2017
Charlie Walker’s first goals for St Albans City set them on the way to a 3-2 win over Welling United at a rainswept Clarence Park.
Louie Theophanous claimed a third in the second half as Saints ended a run of six games without a win in the Vanarama National League South.
Christian Nanetti and Adam Coombes got Welling’s replies.
The beginning of the first half didn’t give any clues to its finish.
After Saturday’s defeat to Concord Rangers there had been a clamour for both Sam Merson and Shaun Lucien to start.
They did, and their involvement, together with a similar system to what served City so well during last year’s great escape, made a difference.
Yes Welling had a left winger rushed into duty as a left back after an injury to Jordan Brown in the warm-up, and yes they also had a midfielder in at centre-half.
But this was a City side who started like the swaggering team from early in the season.
Chris Lewington had made a wondeful save down low to his right to deny Merson before Walker struck twice in three minutes.
The striker struck his first goal for the club volleying in a deflected Louie Theophanous cross before slamming home at the second attempt this time from a Merson pull back.
Saints continued to look the more likely to get the next goal in the following 10 minutes before Welling established a foothold in the game.
And The Wings were a far different proposition as the half drew to a close. But although they had a couple of moments of pressure, inclusing one scrambled clear from the City six-yard box, they failed to test James Russell.
They were still chances at the other end, Lewington making another smart save, this time with his legs to stop Theophanous, but a minute later Welling were back in it.
City failed to close down Nanetti and he slid a low shot into the corner.
Welling almost started the second period with a goal in the first 60 seconds. The linesman’s flag came to City’s rescue and slowly they started to wrestle back the ascendancy.
It wasn’t pretty but after Saints’ recent run of results, nerves were to be expected.
Theophanous would have killed a lot of them off when he made it 3-1 on 68 minutes. His shot took a very heavy deflection and could well have been an own goal but being the striker he is, he will still claim it.
There was still plenty of time left but despite City dropping deeper and deeper, Welling never really posed a threat until it was too late; Coombes’ goal was almost the last kick of the game.
City: Russell, Herd, Bender, Lucien (Casey 90+1), Gardiner, Martin, Theophanous, Thomas, C.Walker (Montgomery 84), Merson (Cureton 82), Noble
Subs (not used): Saville, Chappell
Goals: C.Walker 16, 19, Theophanous 68
Welling: Lewington, Fish, Johnson, Hatton, Hayles, Fuseini, Nanetti (Slabber 82), Waldren, Crawford (Williams 89), Coombes, Joseph-Dubois (D.Walker 68)
Subs (not used): Agu
Goals: Nanetti 41, Coombes 90+4
HT: St Albans City 2 Welling United 1
Referee: Robert Masey