St Albans City's hopes of promotion to the National League died a horrible death at the hands of a rampant Oxford City. 

A first-half blitz in the National League South play-off final brought goals from Reece Fleet, Zac McEachran, Josh Ashby and Josh Parker and ended the game as a contest.

The second period wasn't a patch on the opening 45 minutes but then Saints weren't able to push Oxford into mistakes and the Marsh Lane hosts eased to a 4-0 win.

As it stands it means another season in National League South for Saints although there is the possibility of a lateral transfer to the north division.

That will be announced tomorrow and after that will begin a major summer building plan for manager David Noble.

There was one change for St Albans City and it was the one that some fans would have dreaded, Shaun Jeffers moved to the bench to make way for the returning Tafari Moore.

Munashe Sundire was the one to miss out from the squad that was at Dartford for the semi-final. 

Whether the top scorer should have started was instantly on the minds of Saints fan as Mitchell Weiss got in down the right inside the first minute.

His shot was saved by Chris Haigh and Chay Cooper put the rebound wide but would Jeffers have had better luck.

That was particularly relevant when Oxford went a goal up two minutes later.

And it was to be a sign of what was to come for the opening 45 minutes as the rampant Hoops simply sliced through an almost non-existent back four.

McEachran did a lot of the hard work before finding Fleet who simply passed it to the right of Dylan Berry.

The on-loan Norwich keeper could no nothing with that one and he made a fantastic stop from a McEachran header at the back post to preserve the one-goal deficit.

However, just a minute later he made a howler, failing to control the ball as Saints passed it about their penalty area.

McEachran picked up the loose ball, stepped round the keeper and slid it into the net.

Oxford looked dangerous every time they came forward, even after losing the influential Alfie Potter to injury.

The third came on 31 minutes and was again avoidable from a Saints point of view.

McEachran showed his class with some close control but there should have been no way for him to find that much space in the box, Ashby finishing it off with a curling effort to the left of Berry.

And the misery kept coming in stoppage time, Parker turning Saints inside out and curling it into the far corner.

Jeffers had been brought on after the third, Noble sacrificing Callum Adebiyi and the back five, but only a slight knock to the ankle of Haigh was giving the Saints any hope as the second half began.

And they did start more positively but then Oxford were in rush to come out, all guns blazing.

The final throws of the dice from David Noble came nine minutes after the restart, Glenn McConnell and Joe Neal coming into the fray.

It was a false dawn though and there was only a Neal shot, well-blocked by Lewis Miccio, and another from Jeffers, tipped over by Haigh, to get excited about.

Only two minutes was added at the end as the game, and St Albans' season fizzled out.


St Albans City: Berry, Stanley, Francis-Clarke, Adebiyi (Jeffers 36), Blackman, Banton, Weiss (Neal 56), Mukena, Moore, B.Smith, Cooper (McConnell 56).

Subs (not used): Clark, Dawson.

Booked: Francis-Clarke 71, Blackman 88


Oxford City: Haigh, Miccio, Ashby, Burley, Coyle, Fleet, McEachran (Wilson 78), Parker (Lolos 88), Potter (Humphrey-Ewers 24), Williams-Bushell, Carroll.

Subs (not used): Davies, Iaciofano. 

Goals: Fleet 3, McEachran 14, Ashby 31, Parker 45+2


HT: Oxford City 4 St Albans City 0

Referee: Ben Atkinson

Attendance: 3,100