City fail to take their chances in Eastleigh loss

Warren McBean. Picture: Bob Walkley

Warren McBean. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

St Albans City found goals hard to come by on Tuesday as they went down 4-1 to Conference Premier side Eastleigh.

Without John Frendo, who was rested, trialists Elliot Buchanan and Warren McBean led the line, and had their chances, but were unable to find the net. Instead, a rare goal from defensive midfielder Danny Green provided the highlight of City’s performance.

The first chance of the game fell to former Oxford United striker James Constable, after Darren Locke lost the ball on the edge of his own box, but he sliced his shot over the bar from four yards.

At the other end, James Comley, who was City’s best player on the night, played in McBean. By the time he had shifted the ball onto his left foot, the defender had recovered and made the block.

The breakthrough came in the 25th minute, and it went in Eastleigh’s favour. Tom Ward has not been enjoying the best of pre-seasons and it got worse for the former Gainsborough Trinity defender when he gave away a penalty which was tucked away by Ben Wright.

City hit back straight away through Green. Trialist Jack Ward’s cross to the back post was cleared to Green on the edge of the box. His shot through a crowd of bodies took a deflection and nestled into the net.

McBean should have had City leading in the 35th minute when a whipped cross from Lee Chappell found the striker unmarked at the back post but he headed over from four yards.

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Both teams made changes at half-time – Steve Wales came on for Jack Ward – but it was Eastleigh who profited.

Having cleared the ball from their own box, Jack Midson capped off a brilliant counter attack by placing the ball past Tom Coulton. Subsititute Tony Lee then got his name on the scoresheet, flicking on the ball at the front post into the far corner of the net.

City played some great football in the second half, none better than when Loick Pires’ cross-field pass found Wales, who lifted the ball into Buchanan’s path. If not for a great block by Jack Smith the move would have surely resulted in the goal it deserved.

To rub salt into the wound, Eastleigh charged up the other end and scored the easiest of goals as Stuart Fleetwood played in a measured cross for Craig McAllister.

City almost pulled one back when the ball was bundled into the net but it was ruled out for offside. It turned out to be the last action as the referee ended the game prematurely because the floodlights weren’t working.