City escape Redditch with vital three points

John Frendo and James Kaloczi celebrate Saints' third goal. Picture: Bob Walkley

John Frendo and James Kaloczi celebrate Saints' third goal. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

After a torrid journey to the Midlands on Saturday, St Albans City gave their joint managers something to smile about with a 3-1 win over Redditch.

The Saints’ preparations for the game were thrown into disarray when the players’ coach broke down in Milton Keynes. Taxis were hastily arranged but one of the engines blew two miles from the ground to add to City’s woes.

And just like their transport, the Saints almost faltered against Redditch but a brace from John Frendo either side of James Kaloczi’s neat finish got them over the line.

After the game joint manager James Gray admitted he was “relieved” to have won three points.

“I didn’t think we were going to get anything, I though we were going to walk away with nothing,” he said.

“But there is resilience in this side. We didn’t apply ourselves [in the second half but] we showed a few bits of quality and scored of couple of goals; that’s what the good sides do.

“This wouldn’t have happened last season; the boys dug in and we got ourselves out of jail. We need to keep winning three points and we’ll be right in for promotion.”

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Despite their pre-match warm-up being badly affected, City started well and mounted an assault on the hosts’ goal, having 9 shots in the opening 20 minutes. Frendo came closest to opening the scoring after stooping low but his header thundered against the bar.

Paul Bastock, who was a spectator for most of the first half, made his first stop after 30 minutes to deny Ashley Sammons.

The goal City deserved came just before the break. From a free-kick in a dangerous position, Comley played a short pass to Lee Chappell on the edge of the box. He smashed the ball goalward and a deflection off Frendo’s chest took the ball out of Sam Hornby’s reach.

For all of the Saints’ first-half dominance, the hosts came out of the blocks after the restart and levelled the game through their top scorer Harvey Headley.

The momentum in the tie turned and suddenly City were on the back foot as Redditch surged forward. Only a handful of saves from Bastock and some last ditch defending kept the scores level.

The visitors weathered the 20-minute period of sustained Redditch pressure and with the sides set to share the points, City launched two decisive attacks to keep their record of successive away wins intact, which now stands at 16.

Chappell was again involved, this time crossing for Ben Martin, who out-jumped Hornby. Kaloczi was first to the loose ball and he flicked the ball inside the near post. It was left to Frendo to seal the victory when Jamal Lowe sent him clear and he slid the ball into the net.

City are next in action on Boxing Day when they take on Chesham United at Clarence Park, kick-off 1.30pm.

Speaking ahead of the game, Gray said: “We need to be better at Chesham; they’re a good side with good players. It’s a big game for us but it’s not going to define the season with so many games left.”

Three points was not the only pre-Christmas present for City’s fans. As reported in the Herts Ad last week, Tom Ward has signed an 18 month contract at Clarence Park and the club has brought in Nathan Ferguson from Dagenham on loan.

n The club is putting on a supporters’ coach to Hungerford Town on Saturday, December 28. The coach will depart Clarence Park at 11am. The cost is £10. Coaches have limited seats so booking is essential. To reserve a seat contact Ian Rogers on 07714 145862.