Slideshow: Sunday sizzler roasts Eastleigh

STRIKER Akanni-Sunday Wasiu scored twice as St Albans City beat Eastleigh at Clarence Park to move closer to Blue Square South survival on Saturday.

Blue Square South

St Albans City 3 Eastleigh 2

STRIKER Akanni-Sunday Wasiu scored twice as St Albans City beat Eastleigh at Clarence Park to move closer to Blue Square South survival on Saturday.

City boss Steve Castle was without Ben Martin due to a hamstring injury picked up at Bognor Regis Town and replaced him with Ryan Frater, back after a two-match ban. With Hassan Sulaiman also troubled be a hamstring injury and Jonathan Hunt only on the bench after suffering with a foot problem at Bognor, striker Bradley Gray returned to extend his work experience spell from Leyton Orient and lined up on the right flank.

Eastleigh manager Ian Baird picked former Saints Chris Piper at left back and Matt Hann on the left of a midfield five. Former City favourite Steve Watts could only make the bench with another ex-City man, goalkeeper Gareth Howells.

Both sides were intent on attacking football in difficult conditions with a swirling wind behind Eastleigh in the opening 45 minutes. Andy Forbes and Hann were charged with supporting lone front-man Paul Sales and it was a header from Forbes on eight minutes which flashed just wide of the City goal. Bastock then had to save at his near post after a flick header from Sales on 12 minutes.

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Forbes threatened again on 15 minutes when he picked up a scuffed clearance from James Quilter and from a dangerous position dragged a low shot across the City goal and wide of Bastock's left-hand post.

Eastleigh goalkeeper Jason Matthews saved well to deny Hakim after a good City move and then gathered a shot from Sunday who raced onto a defence-splitting pass from City skipper Paul Bruce.

City were on top of the match until they were rocked back when referee Anthony Coggins harshly penalised an untidy looking challenge by Fisher on Hann. The full back was caught on the wrong side but his lunge appeared to take the ball only for the sprawling Hann to convince the referee otherwise. Forbes stepped up in the 21st minute to fire high to Bastock's right with the City 'keeper beaten by the pace of the penalty kick.

Eastleigh could have doubled the lead just two minutes later when Forbes cut the City defence to shreds with a marvellous ball out to Hann who prodded his weak left foot shot wide with the alert Bastock off his line sharply.

City responded and Hakim teed up Sunday from a Scott Cousins cross only for the blocked shot to fall for Gray who also saw his effort strike a defender.

Cousins, Hakim and Sunday combined again in the 29th minute but the Nigerian fired high and wide after a fine move.

Sunday put pressure on the shaky looking Matthews on 33 minutes and the goalkeeper hacked his hurried clearance almost onto the head of Hakim, after trying to overplay and take on the Nigerian.

Eastleigh attacked at the other end and Sales laid the ball off for David Hughes who guided a curling strike wide of Bastock's left post.

Bruce tested Matthews with a bouncing free kick from 25 yards and then almost found Sunday with another devilish delivery to the back post. City finished the half the stronger side and Sunday was denied again by the goalkeeper following a fine chipped cross from Fisher.

City started the second half in determined mood and after Matthews saved from Gray and Hakim, Lee Clarke then guided a first time shot narrowly wide.

The equaliser was coming and it arrived on 61 minutes when Thurlbourne drove into the box. The diminutive midfielder evaded one challenge, recovered his balance and then took another tackle before the ball rolled clear for the impressive Gray to sweep home a superb left foot strike.

Eastleigh had no time to regroup as the super Saints struck again a minute later to turn the match around completely. Gray fed Hakim who rolled the ball clear for Sunday and the big striker cut inside Piper, then weaved outside Andy Harris and fired a low shot across Matthews and into the far corner of the net.

The fading Hann was hauled off on 64 minutes by the shell-shocked Eastleigh management and two minutes later Thurlbourne burst through the hesitant visiting midfield, robbed a defender and fired a shot straight at Matthews from 35 yards.

City extended the lead in the 74th minute thanks to the quick thinking of Sunday who exposed the hapless Matthews. The goalkeeper tried to cut inside as the big striker pressurised and stumbled over the ball. Sunday picked up possession and as the fans celebrated, stroked the ball into the empty net.

Eastleigh continued to battle and substitute Steve Watts shook off the attentions of Lee Clarke to net a fine curling shot high to Bastock's right from 25 yards in the 80th minute.

In the final minute, Watts glanced a header straight at Bastock from a glorious position but the assistant had raised his flag anyway. Lively substitute Mark Marshall then sprinted clear of the City defence in injury time only to be forced out wide on the left by the outrushing Bastock. The City defenders recovered and Marshall could only float his cross-shot wide of the far post to the relief of the City faithful.

St Albans City: Bastock, Fisher, Cousins, Thurlbourne, Frater, Quilter, Gray, Clarke, Sunday, Hakim, Bruce. Subs: Hunt for Gray (78), S. Martin for Hakim (81). Unused subs: McKie, Twomey, Deen

Referee: Anthony Coggins (Bicester).

Attendance: 658.