Bailey nets City three points
- Credit: Archant
Elliot Bailey came of the bench to rescue three points for St Albans City against Redditch United at Clarence Park.
John Frendo’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Omari Sterling James and the game looked to be heading for a stalemate until the 18-year-old’s introduction in the 68th minute. Seven minutes later he fired the ball past Bradley Catlow to secure a win for City that looked unlikely during a poor second-half display
Sam Corcoran was called up for his debut in place of Chris Henry, who dropped back to the bench, while Richard Graham reclaimed his centre-midfield spot ahead of James Kaloczi.
The back four remained the same from Monday’s win over Chippenham and in attack Peter Dean partnered Frendo in place of Mark Nwokeji, who started on the bench.
There wasn’t a place in the squad for Jamal Lowe. It was the loanee’s last day with St Albans City before he returns to Barnet.
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City issued a statement of intent in the first minute as Graham put in a low cross, which was cleared just before Comley arrived to shoot.
But, as the hosts sent men forward, Redditch caught them outnumbered at the back on the counter attack but stout defending first from Howard Hall and then Graham kept chances to a minimum.
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The visitors enjoyed a sustained period of pressure as they forced four corners in a row but when City broke they did it with venom. Graham and Chappell linked up on the left before the latter whipped in a cross which was put out for a throw in. Chappell launched a long throw-in into the box which evaded everyone, allowing Frendo to get in front of Bradley Catlow and head the ball into the net.
All the good defensive work was outdone by a mix-up from a Redditch throw-in. Ahenkorah was allowed to control the ball and release Omari Sterling James down the right, who had a clear run at goal before he placed it past Bastock. Redditch then missed a golden opportunity double the lead as Ahenkorah flashed a ball across the face of the goal.
Off the pitch, a number of Redditch fans were removed from the ground for releasing a flare while on it, Chappell found Frendo with a first-time cross that was headed wide.
City had a penalty shout turned down in the 38th minute after Ram Marwa seemed to be bundled over from behind as he was lining up to shoot but the referee waved play on and Hall blasted a long-range shot which Catlow spilled before collecting.
Frendo then won and took a free-kick but Redditch’s shot-stopper moved to his right to catch the ball. It was the last chance of a half which had earlier seen a scuffle between Comley and Nathan Jackson result in both players receiving a yellow card.
The first 13 minutes of the first half was poor from both teams as they surrendered possession too often. City’s management shuffled the pack, bringing on Henry for Corcoran as they went in search of a second goal.
The move almost paid dividends immediately as Henry cut inside the defender but Catlow was quick off his line to smother the ball.
City then introduced Elliot Bailey to the game and he repaid his team by scoring a 75th minute goal. Chappell launched a throw in into the box for Bailey who jumped to volley it past a static Catlow.
For the last 15 minutes, City’s defence stood firm to deny Redditch’s attacking threat led by Jermaine Hylton and ensure City kept pace in the race for promotion.
St Albans City starting line up: Paul Bastock; Howard Hall; Lee Chappell; Tom Ward; Ben Martin; James Comley; Richard Graham; Sam Corcoran; Ram Marwa; John Frendo; Peter Dean. Subs: Chris Henry; James Kaloczi; Elliot Bailey; Mark Nwokeji; Kerrea Gilbert.
Redditch United starting line up: Bradley Catlow; Tyrone Williams; Joel Caines; Leavi Oshungbure; Calum Flanagan; Nathan Jackson; Omari Sterling Jones; Sam Youngs; Edwin Ahenkorah; Jermaine Hylton; Jamie Molyneux. Subs: Max Loveridge; Omar Recci; Harvey Headley; James Mutton; Sam Hornby.