City slump continues

Hayes & Yeading United 2 (Ram Marwa 43, Matt Ruby 48) St Albans City 1 (Soloman Shields 44) James Ronayne at Church Road WHEN you re down and struggling you often need that bit of luck to turn your fortunes around but, the trouble is, you rarely get it

Hayes & Yeading United 2 (Ram Marwa 43, Matt Ruby 48)

St Albans City 1 (Soloman Shields 44)

James Ronayne at Church Road

WHEN you're down and struggling you often need that bit of luck to turn your fortunes around but, the trouble is, you rarely get it as City found out on Saturday.

For the first 45 minutes City competed, and when Soloman Shields cancelled out Ram Marwa's opener just before the interval, you sensed City could get something from the game.

However, just three minutes into the second half the hosts hit the winner. A corner came into the area and the ball bounced off the bar. Nine times out of 10 it would have fallen to a defender to hack clear but such is City's luck right now the ball fell perfectly to Hayes & Yeading centre-half Matt Ruby to bundle over the line.

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City took their time to find their feet and Paul Bastock had to be alert to deny a dipping long range volley from former Saint Ram Marwa.

Bu the Saints' defence was being marshalled well by the excellent Ben Martin and City began to gain a foothold in the game as a result.

With 24 minutes on the clock City won a free-kick on the right hand side with referee Chris Miller booking Hayes captain Tom Cadmore for his foul on Hassan Sulaiman.

Jonathan Hunt whipped the ball in from the free-kick and James Fisher's header pinged off the bar with what looked like a helping hand from Delroy Preddie in the Hayes goal, though a goal kick was awarded.

City were dealt a massive blow when Ryan Frater strained his hamstring following a challenge with Josh Scott. Steve Castle threw former Hayes man Simon Martin into the action up top with Fisher moving to centre-half. Sulaiman slotted in at right back and Gary Cohen took up a position on the right of midfield.

Steven Gregory tested Bastock with another venomous long range effort but the City stopper was more than equal to the effort.

City came agonisingly close to opening the scoring when Simon Martin latched onto Ben Martin's long pass and crossed for Hunt whose diving header was acrobatically saved by Preddie before his defence scrambled the ball away for a corner.

However, as if often the case, the home side went up the other end and broke the deadlock.

The highly talented Will Hendry picked the ball up on the left hand side of the City area and he fired the ball across the face of the goal with Marwa on hand to turn the ball home from close range.

In a lively end to the half Hayes could have doubled their lead within 60 seconds.

Scott raced through on goal but was tackled by Bastock. The ball was kind to Scott who sprang up and hit the ball towards goal but thankfully for City Ben Martin was there to hack the ball away.

City got the goal their first half performance deserved when Hunt went on a marauding run down the left and squared the ball to Shields who fired home from close range for his first goal in City colours.

It was no more than City deserved and capped a fine first half performance from Shields whose energetic runs from midfield had been a feature of all the good things City had done in the first half.

There was still enough time left in the first half for Cadmore to fire into the side netting after City failed to clear a corner.

Preddie, clearly upset at letting in City's equaliser, stormed off the pitch shouting a four-letter expletive and hurling his water bottle into the stand. Thankfully for the volatile 'keeper he didn't hit any spectators.

Having scored so late in the half City will have wanted to have kept it tight early on but within three minutes of the restart they found themselves behind.

Former Stevenage winger Dale Binns whipped the corner in and as the ball came down off the bar Ruby was on hand to stab home what turned out to be the winner.

The goal demoralised City and the home side sensed they could grab another.

Cadmore had the ball in the back of the net once more for Hayes & Yeading but referee Miller ruled it out for a push and then Scott hit the post from 10 yards with only Bastock to beat.

Paul Hakim worked tirelessly all game up top and a moment of brilliance from him saw City's top scorer get away from Cadmore but his 20 yard shot went wide of Preddie's goal.

Preddie was only called into action once in the second half when he had to gather a tame shot from Fisher and when Hunt's free kick sailed harmlessly over the bar you knew that City were heading home empty-handed once more.

Hayes & Yeading: Preddie, Allen-Page, Ruby, Cadmore, McDonald, James (Mulley), Marwa, Gregory, Hendry, Binns, Scott. Subs not used: Coleman, Collins, Perkins, Howe.

St Albans City: Bastock, Fisher, B.Martin, Frater (S.Martin), Cousins, Sulaiman, Quilter, Shields, Hunt, Cohen, Hakim. Subs not used: Seeby, Mortimer, Effiong.

Referee: Chris Miller (Kettering)

Attendance: 256