Another bore draw for Saints

Smith sees red in goalless draw

Blue Square Bet South

Hampton & Richmond Borough 0

St Albans City 0

THIS was dire fare served up by two struggling sides short on both goals and confidence.

Substitute David Tarpey’s free kick, that cannoned back off Paul Bastock’s bar, was the only highlight of a game hampered by a referee hell bent on setting a new record for the number of yellow cards dished out. Nigel Lugg’s haphazard approach to the game resulted in eight yellow cards being shown and a red card to Pete Smith late on.

A win would have been priceless for both sides. City, reeling from the FA’s decision to dock them 10 points the previous day for financial irregularities, started with Brentford youngster Kyle Vassel making his debut up front while Rob Magwood returned in midfield for the injured Matt Hocking.

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The home side are on a worse run than the Saints with their last win coming back on October 2 but it was the Beavers who made the better start to the game with James Simmonds firing straight at Bastock and defender Dean Inman volleying wide after City failed to clear their lines.

Former Chelsea man Simmonds continued to probe and his excellent defence splitting pass should have led to the opening goal. The midfielder’s slide rule pass unravelled the Saints’ defence and found striker Ian Hodges free in the box. Thankfully for the visitors Bastock had read the situation and produced a good save to keep Hodges’ initial effort at bay. From the rebound the striker picked up the loose ball but scooped it over the crossbar.

City’s only effort of note in the first half came 14 minutes in when patient play down the left by Adam Everitt resulted in a cross into the box for Magwood but the midfielder’s header was easily held by Matt Lovett.

Ryan Frater’s afternoon finished early as injury forced the skipper off with Mark Peters coming on to replace the defender.

Hampton continued to create decent chances with striker Charlie Moone dragging an effort across the face of goal and Bastock saved well from Dean Wells’ free kick.

The City stopper was called into action again on the stroke of half-time to deny Simmonds from close range with Ben Martin on hand to lump the loose ball to safety.

City should have only been facing 10 men in the second half after Hodges aimed an elbow in Smith’s direction but, despite consulting his assistant who was just yards away, referee Lugg decided fit to brandish only yellow.

City played better after the break but still struggled to break down a stubborn Hampton defence.

Changes were at a premium throughout the second 45 as both sides battled it out in midfield.

Smith’s first yellow card came 20 minutes from time when the full-back caught sub Tarpey out on the wing but the home side were unable to forge a chance from the resulting free kick.

City threw on Dom Petrucci in a bid to give the home defence something different to think about and the striker probably should have done better when he latched onto Smith’s long ball but the striker headed straight at Lovett.

Youngster Vassel gave a good account of himself on debut and went close with a shot from the edge of the box. The Brentford man let the ball roll across his body 20 yards from goal but he dragged his shot back past the far post.

Ben Martin came close to netting an own goal when he sliced his clearance but Bastock readjusted to pounce on the loose ball as it spun towards goal.

Tarpey wasted two good chances in the last 10 minutes shooting over from Simmonds’ cut-back and straight at Bastock after being put in on goal by Craig Tanner.

Smith was given his marching orders in the second minute of injury time as he collided with Hodges 20 yards from goal but Tarpey’s brilliant free kick crashed off the bar and to safety as the game ended goalless.

Hampton: Lovett; Matthews, Inman, Wells, Jeffrey, Tanner; Lette-Jallow, Simmonds, Collier; Moone (Tarpey 63), Hodges.

Subs not used: Yarnie, Rochester.

City: Bastock; Deeney, B Martin, Frater � (Peters 15), Smith; Sean Shields (O’Donoghue 71), Magwood, A Martin (Petrucci 63), Everitt; Vassel, Effiong.

Sub not used; Dedman.

Referee: Nigel Lugg (Chipstead, Surrey)

Att: 404.