Barnet beat scintillating Saints at Clarence Park

Michael Malcolm scores the Saints second goal of the evening. Picture: Leigh Page

Michael Malcolm scores the Saints second goal of the evening. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans City lost 3-2 to Barnet in their latest pre-season game at Clarence Park.

Simon Thomas scored the Saints’ first goal of pre-season to cancel out Michael Gash’s opener before Michael Malcolm put the hosts in front going into half-time.

Wholesale changes after the break affected City’s play and they were made to pay as the Bees scored twice through Shaun Batt and Jack Taylor to seal the win.

The Saints started off brightly, with Michael Malcolm putting an early chance just wide. Luke Allen also looked dangerous early on, making positive runs down both flanks, however it was Barnet who took the lead.

A Sam Muggleton long throw from the right was nodded in by target man Michael Gash after 10 minutes.

It was the first time that Malcolm and Simon Thomas had lined up together, and they linked up for City’s equaliser. Malcolm set Thomas, who took a touch before he unleashed a powerful drive from the edge of the box, scoring City’s first goal of pre-season.

Barnet’s goalkeeper, Kai McKenzie-Lyle, was called into action soon after, pushing away Thomas’ powerful header and, moments later, punching over Allen’s shot. From the resulting corner, Thomas couldn’t quite make a proper connection with the ball when he should have doubled his tally.

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The home side’s continued dominance paid off after 34 minutes when the impressive Allen pulled the ball back from the right to Malcolm, who calmly rolled the ball into the bottom left corner.

It could have been 3-1 a matter of minutes later as Thomas was presented a golden opportunity when McKenzie-Lyle made a mess of Lewis Hillard’s shot, but the big number 10 could not get the ball passed the sprawled out goalkeeper.

Barnet looked below-par, with one of their best first half chanced being a weak Kevin Lisbie strike just before half-time.

Both sides made the most of their substitutions at half-time, and each team had chances shortly after the action resumed. Danny Green, who had been brought on at the break by the hosts, had a dig from range, only to see it go wide. Barnet’s Lisbie had a shot deflected wide before his teammate Shaun Batt had his near-post effort well-saved by Ashlee Jones in the City goal.

The Saints continued to attack, with Kieran Bishop making a powerful run into the box, but just dragging his shot wide. Despite these chances, Barnet began to attack with more intent after bringing more fresh legs on, and the visitors turned the game around within minutes.

It was two substitutes who netted for them, the first of which was a wonder-strike from Batt, who cut in from the left, and unleashed a shot into the top right corner. On 71 minutes, Jack Taylor collected the ball 25 yards out, his effort going over Jones into the middle of the goal. The action calmed down for the last 20 minutes, but Bishop very nearly equalised late on for the home team, however Barnet’s substitute goalkeeper pushed away the near post shot for a corner.