Bakare steals the show as Saints down Redditch

French striker turns in best performance in 2-0 victory

Southern Premier Division

St Albans City 2 Redditch United 0

MIDWEEK work on the training ground paid dividends for St Albans City as they got back to winning ways with a comfortable three points against a poor Redditch United side.

Saints boss David Howell revealed afterwards that he had been working with his forward men during training to get them working more as a unit and that work reaped immediate rewards, especially in the performance of substitute Sakho Bakare who turned in his best display in a City shirt.

The game was in no terms a pretty one and it’s hard to believe it will live long in the memory of the 355 people who turned out to see it but the moments that settled the destination of the points certainly had an air of quality about them.

The first came as many spectators were still taking their places at Clarence Park with just 40 seconds on the clock.

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A long free kick from debutant ‘keeper Will Viner wasn’t dealt with by the visiting defence allowing Paul Furlong to chest the ball down nicely for Danny Hart 20 yards from goal. The summer signing has already displayed what a sweet striker of the ball he is and his effortless first time volley beat the despairing dive of Redditch ‘keeper Dean Coleman to give City an early advantage.

Any hope that that early action may spring the game into life was soon extinguished as neither side was able to gain the upper hand. The visitors arguably had the better of the goalmouth action but Viner wasn’t at any stage forced to dirty his kit.

The Reds squandered a number of good positions from dead balls with skipper Tom Warmer the guilty party, his closest effort bending wide of Viner’s right hand upright from a position right on the periphery of the penalty area.

An injury to Furlong curtailed the veteran striker’s afternoon in the 34th minute and he was replaced by Frenchman Bakare who immediately added energy to the City frontline.

Bakare’s first contribution was to lay the ball off nicely for goalscorer Hart but the midfielder blazed over the bar before the pair linked up again with Bakare drilling his shot into the side netting.

The Saints found themselves one-nil up at Swindon Supermarine seven days earlier before a poor second half display handed the home side all three points but their was to be no repeat of that result this time as Howell’s team stepped up a gear after the interval.

Early after the resumption a drilled free kick from left-back Nathan Ralph was spilled by Coleman but the ‘keeper recovered quickly to deny Hart from the follow-up as City looked for the decisive second goal.

They nearly had it in the 59th minute when David Ijaha’s nonchalant lob back into the penalty area was latched onto by Bakare but the striker’s header looped over Coleman onto the crossbar before being cleared by The Reds’ defence.

Saints’ persistence paid off though with the decisive second goal coming just two minutes later. Ralph played the ball up the line to Bakare who advanced into the box unchallenged before picking out the unmarked Jerome Walker. Bakare’s pass was of real quality, with just the right weight on it to allow Walker to smash the ball first time past the exposed Coleman.

Bakare went in search of the goal his efforts deserved but his powerful drive from 25 yards was tipped around the post by the sprawling Coleman.

Walker twice headed wide of the target when well placed and Bakare saw a weak header gathered by Coleman.

It took the visitors 88 minutes to work Viner and when they did they found the debutant ‘keeper equal to their efforts. Substitute Lee Osbourne ran unchallenged into the right channel before bending a shot towards the far post but Viner got down quickly to get a strong hand to the ball and divert it around the upright.

City had the ball in the back of the net deep into stoppage time when Bakare finished confidently from Sol Shields’ pass but the linesman’s flag had already been raised denying Bakare a gloss on his impressive display.

City: Viner; Pattison, Jinadu, Moran, Ralph; Hart (Sean Shields 75), Sol Shields, Ijaha �, Watts (Magwood 84); Walker, Furlong (Bakare 34).

Subs: Haisley, Alebiosu.

United: Coleman; Bullimore, Hickman, Robinson, Milligan; Jones, Heath, Warmer, Moses-Garvey; Blenkinsopp (McKenzie 58), Harris (Osbourne 69).

Subs: Ager, Wood, Bedford.

Referee: Elliott Kaye (Hainault)

Att: 355.