City extend unbeaten run to seven
St Albans City 2 (Paul Hakim 13, Gary Cohen 74) Dorchester Town 0 James Ronayne at Clarence Park A GOAL in each half from Paul Hakim and Gary Cohen was enough to secure all three points for St Albans City as they extended their unbeaten run to seven gam
St Albans City 2 (Paul Hakim 13, Gary Cohen 74)
Dorchester Town 0
James Ronayne at Clarence Park
A GOAL in each half from Paul Hakim and Gary Cohen was enough to secure all three points for St Albans City as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games.
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City's recent form has been excellent and has resulted in a remarkable turnaround that has seen them move into the top half of the Blue Square South table. Following their 12 match winless run, their current undefeated spell has seen them concede only once and they could yet be left to rue their barren patch during the winter as the team edges closer to the playoff places.
A playoff place is looking increasingly unlikely but boss Steve Castle has told his players that he will not let the season fizzle out and it looked like he'd left this message ringing in the player's ears as City flew out of the blocks.
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James Fisher tested Dorchester goalkeeper Gareth Stewart with a volley inside three minutes and the goalkeeper had to react quickly to steal the ball from Solomon Shields after the midfielder broke into the box minutes later.
However there was little the former Bournemouth stopper could do about City's opener on 13 minutes.
Shields slid the ball to Simon Martin in the left channel and his cross was tapped home from close range by Paul Hakim for his 17th goal of the campaign after the Town defence and left City's top scorer free in the box.
Fisher had a long range shot saved after the Town defence parted in front of him and Hakim fired high and wide following Jonathan Hunt's cross.
City had a wake up call in the 20th minute when Mark Jermyn burst through the defence and although he was halted by Lee Butcher, the ball fell kindly to Town striker Phil Walsh. Thankfully his shot was weak and straight at Ben Martin who had retreated to the line.
City had to rely on Butcher and Ben Martin once more as Dorchester probed for an equaliser. Ronayne Marsh-Brown worked his way to the byline and crossed for Walsh whose shot was blocked by Butcher with Jermyn seeing his follow up cleared off the line by Ben Martin.
City were living dangerously and should have conceded a penalty when Marsh-Brown's free kick hit Fisher on the hand. Referee Sean Feerick waved away the protests and City hit the Magpies on the counter attack. Hassan Sulaiman ran the length of the pitch and when the ball eventually came to Hakim his wonderful curling shot flew inches past the post.
The game was beginning to open up with chances missed at both ends.
Butcher easily held Nick Crittenden's long range shot and Stewart denied Hakim after the striker's clever ball juggling saw him create some space in the box.
Only a last ditch tackle from Jake Smeeton stopped City from doubling their lead minutes before the interval.
Hunt's one-two with Simon Martin saw the midfielder free in the box but his effort was off target while Jermyn skewed a shot wide at the other end.
The only save Butcher had to make in the second 45 minutes was from his own man as Ben Martin sliced a cross towards his own goal but apart from that City were never really tested at the back.
Hakim had an effort saved by Stewart but from the resulting corner City got the all important second goal.
Hunt whipped the cross in and with Smeeton only able to chest the ball down on the line, substitute Gary Cohen couldn't miss stabbing the ball home from close range.
Dorchester's cause was not helped when Marsh-Brown was given his marching orders by fussy referee Sean Feerick for a late challenge on Shields. It was a very harsh decision and just added to a disappointing night for the visitors.
Sulaiman should have made it three five minutes from time but he dragged his shot wide and at the other end Walsh saw his header loop harmlessly wide.
St Albans City (4-4-2): Butcher; Bailey, B.Martin, Quilter (Frater 69), Cousins; Sulaiman, Fisher, Shields, Hunt (Mackie 75); S.Martin (Cohen 72), Hakim. Subs not used: Effiong, Everitt.
Dorchester Town (4-4-2): Stewart; Bowles, Vickers, Hill, Smeeton; Crittenden, Gleeson, Jermyn, Marsh-Brown; Erskine (Nicholson 85), Walsh. Subs not used: Watts, Mitchell, Reeve, Coward.
Referee: Sean Feerick (Peterborough)