Gallery: City keep Bognor at bay to seal win
St Albans City 1 Bognor Regis Town 0 SAM Hurrell scored on his debut as St Albans City edged out Bognor Regis Town on Saturday at Clarence Park. City manager Steve Castle reshuffled his side
St Albans City 1 Bognor Regis Town 0
David Brawn at Clarence Park
SAM Hurrell scored on his debut as St Albans City edged out Bognor Regis Town on Saturday at Clarence Park.
City manager Steve Castle reshuffled his side with injuries ruling out Ben Bowditch, Hassan Sulaiman, Alex Bailey and Lee Protheroe. Ryan Frater made his first start since fracturing his leg in pre-season and Jonathan Hunt was handed his favoured central midfield role alongside Southend United youngster Luke Thurlbourne. Hurrell started on the left side of midfield with Gary Cohen on the right.
Former Saint James Archer was not included in a Bognor squad bolstered by recent signings Tom Clarke, Gary McDonald, Chris Tardif, Steffan Gaisie and Carl Pettefer.
With Hunt taking charge, City controlled the early stages and goalkeeper Tardif had to be alert to reach a Cohen through ball as Simon Martin burst into the box. Paul Hakim then cracked a deflected shot high over the cross bar after a flick on from his strike-partner.
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City threatened to take the lead on nine minutes when Thurlbourne found James Fisher who hooked over a fine cross which striker Martin could only divert well wide of the target.
Bognor opened up the City defence in the 14th minute when Tom Clarke raced clear only for his touch to take him wide and City goalkeeper Paul Bastock came out sharply to thwart the midfielder.
Hakim was next to spurn a glorious opportunity as he connected with a superb chipped cross from Cohen only to somehow knock the ball wide of the far post.
The miss was forgotten a minute later when Thurlbourne rolled the ball up to Simon Martin who played in Hurrell and the left winger slotted the ball past Tardif for a deserved City lead on 22 minutes.
Following the goal City became sluggish and relied on the aerial power of commanding centre backs Martin and Frater to keep Bognor at bay.
City should though, have doubled their lead before the break but Cohen's neat far post finish after an incisive cross from the impressive Hurrell was ruled out by the referee due to a needless challenge on goalkeeper Tardif from Hakim.
The energetic Thurlbourne broke into the box early in the second half only to hit the first man with his cross and Hakim was then denied by a last-ditch lunge from defender Paul Hinshelwood as he bundled his way in on goal. Hakim consequently had to leave the field with injury and Lee Clarke came on to replace him.
Cohen was booked for his protestations after seeing his penalty appeals rejected after a tussle with Hinshelwood and at the other end Bognor striker Steffan Gaisie was fortunate not to receive a card after attempting to handle the ball into the goal following a cross from Kane Wills.
City goalkeeper Paul Bastock went down after taking a blow from an elbow but quickly recovered to watch a shot from dangerous Bognor winger Clarke dip just over the cross bar from long range.
With 11 minutes remaining Cohen cut through the Bognor defence after battling for the ball near the corner flag. The former Grimsby Town man turned into the box but saw his shot deflected away to safety. Lee Clarke then headed over the cross bar after Cohen took a pass from Hunt and crossed to the back post.
Two minutes into injury time Bognor missed a glorious chance to secure a deserved point, when substitute Louie Castues got clear on the right and crossed for the lively Clarke who guided the ball woefully wide when he should have found the net. City then relied on some last-ditch defending from Frater and Martin to ensure they repelled the late Bognor onslaught.
St Albans City: P. Bastock, J. Fisher, S. Cousins, L. Thurlbourne, B. Martin, R. Frater, G. Cohen, J. Hunt, S. Martin, P. Hakim S. Hurrell. Subs: Clarke for Hakim (55). Unused Subs: A. Byfield, J. Quilter, T. Oham-Strachan, H. Mackie.
Bognor Regis Town: C. Tardif, P. Hinshelwood, K. Wills, S. Pearce, J. Whiskin, G. McDonald, T. Clarke, D. Smith, J. Hughes, S. Gaisie, C. Pettefer. Subs: Castues for Whiskin (63), Savage for Gaisie (85). Unused Sub: T. Broadbent.
Referee: Adrian Sannerude (Lowestoft).