Barry Hayles back among the goals for St Albans City
BARRY Hayles came off the bench to hit a brace to secure a much-needed win and three points for St Albans City away at Redditch United on Tuesday night.
It was the perfect response from the former Premier League forward who, along with regular right-back Chris Seeby, had been dropped from the starting XI.
Saints boss David Howell admits it was a risk to leave out the pair from the start, but it had the desired effect.
He told The Herts Advertiser: “It was a gamble as Chris Seeby had played every game and Barry Hayles is one of our main strikers, but I had not been happy with Barry’s hold-up play and finishing and Chris’ defending.
“It was just one of those things, sometimes you need to take players out of the firing line or give them a kick up the backside and for us it worked as Barry got the goals and Chris helped us to a clean sheet.”
The 2-0 triumph came after a disappointing 3-0 league loss at AFC Totton on Saturday, see inside for a report, and will give The Saints a confidence boost ahead of Saturday’s home clash at Clarence Park with Weymouth.
Hayles may have been left out of the starting XI at Redditch, but he was soon in the thick of the action after replacing top scorer Lewis Toomey, who was withdrawn after suffing a hamstring injury in the early stages of the match.
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Ten minutes after joining the game the 40-year-old beat a defender and curled an effort just over the top of home keeper James Wren’s goal.
Just before the break the hosts, on their heavy pitch which was not suitable for playing flowing football on, forced Saints stopper Nick Jupp into a save as he denied Joel Grandison.
After the break Grandison had another chance only to see his effort fly over, but on 54 minutes one of the major events of the game took place.
The home side were reduced to 10 men after ex-Mansfield Town player Asa Charlton overran the ball.
His subsequent high tackle on City defender Danny Gordon left the referee with little option but to dismiss him.
Just 10 minutes later the away side took the lead.
A Sean Shields corner found the head of James Gray, keeper Wren was only able to parry his effort and Hayles was in the right place at the right time to put the ball into the back of the net.
The three points were sealed late on as Hayles was gifted an opportunity.
He made the most of an error by Wren to net his second of the evening and ensure St Albans returned to Hertfordshire happy with their first league win since the 1-0 success over Arlesey Town just over a month ago.
The three points saw the Saints return into the play-off places with 23 points from 13 games, they will look to build on that as 15th placed Weymouth visit Clarence Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.