Debutant Dunn seals City comeback
St Albans City 2 (Ian Dunn 45+1, 61) Weston-super-Mare 1 (Ben Cleverley 43) James Ronayne at Clarence Park DEBUTANT Ian Dunn made an instant impact with two goals as St Albans City came from behind to beat Weston-super-Mare at Clarence Park. Dunn, who o
St Albans City 2 (Ian Dunn 45+1, 61)
Weston-super-Mare 1 (Ben Cleverley 43)
James Ronayne at Clarence Park
DEBUTANT Ian Dunn made an instant impact with two goals as St Albans City came from behind to beat Weston-super-Mare at Clarence Park.
Dunn, who only signed for the Saints on Thursday on dual-registration forms from Bourne Town, was a breath of fresh air leading the line confidently and ruffling the feathers of the opposition defence.
The striker showed his talents with both his feet and his head, with his first goal a bullet header and his second a nicely controlled half volley.
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The Saints side that started the game had a very new look to the one that had fallen to Bath seven days previous. Adam Everitt was rested, Gary Cohen injured, James Quilter dropped to the bench while Jonathan O'Donnell and Chris Sullivan missed out completely. In came Mark Peters, Dunn, Paul Hakim and Solomon Shields with another new boy, James Lindie, named on the bench.
The game was tepid to begin with, Dunn lifting a cross-cum-shot over the bar after turning nicely on the edge of the box.
James Fisher, after attracting criticism for his recent performances in midfield, dropped back into a more familiar role at right-back and looked a lot more at home.
Weston's first effort of the match came from Ben Cleverley after City had only partially cleared their lines but the Weston midfielder's shot was tame and straight at Paul Bastock.
City were then dealt a blow less than 20 minutes in when captain Ryan Frater pulled up with a suspected fractured rib and had to be replaced by Quilter.
Dunn looked lively early on and his header only narrowly went over the bar following a good cross from Fisher.
A superb free kick from Jake Beecroft, who was much more involved than on his debut against Bath, close to the left touchline should have led to the first goal but the ball narrowly evaded Hakim and a clutch of other players at the far post.
A neat flowing move by City sliced open the Weston defence but Hakim's finish was tame and easily collected low down by Kevin Sawyer.
Weston rarely threatened City but they had Bastock worried when Jermaine Clarke, a giant of a striker yet totally ineffective in the air, turned and volleyed wide from 20 yards out.
The visitors took the lead three minutes before the break with a terrific free kick from Cleverley. Shields was penalised for a foul 20 yards out and Cleverley curled the ball right in the corner leaving Bastock helpless.
City were only behind for a matter of minutes restoring parity in the first minute of added time. Beecroft got free on the right cutting the ball back to Shields. The midfielder's effort was blocked by the hands of a Weston defender but referee Colin Lymer waved away City's protests. Thankfully for Steve Castle's side Drew Roberts had collected the loose ball and crossed for Dunn to head home emphatically.
The second half was dominated by City with Weston only threatening sporadically and even then they rarely had Bastock worried.
Smith, who collected his third successive Player of the Month award prior to the game, was his usual industrious self down the left and he came agonisingly close to giving City the lead in the 58th minute.
A City attack broke down on the left hand side but Smith picked up the ball and drove to the corner of the box only for his shot to fizz across the face of goal and wide of Sawyer's far post.
The Saints began to up the ante and Hakim should have scored his first goal of the season as Weston failed to clear their lines. A free kick on the left was quickly taken to Jake Beecroft who fired it to the far post. Weston cleared as far as Fisher who crossed for Hakim but he could only stab it into Sawyer's hands from just six yards out.
It was only a temporary reprieve for Weston as City edged ahead in the 61st minute.
Hakim picked up the ball in space on the right, he advanced towards the box before threading an exquisite cross in behind the defence to the far post where Dunn prodded inside the far post for his second goal of the contest.
A long range effort from Godfrey Poku nearly resulted in a third for City but Sawyer was equal to the on-loan midfielder's effort.
A good break by Shields, who turned in one of his best performances of the season, saw the ball switched right to Dunn. His cross was only half cleared but the ball eventually came to Poku who forced Sawyer to tip his stinging drive over the bar.
A late break by Weston saw Jake Harris pick up the ball in plenty of space but his shot didn't test Bastock and City were able to see out the game for a much needed three points.
St Albans City: Bastock; Fisher, Peters, Frater (Quilter 19), Smith; Beecroft, Shields, Poku, Roberts; Dunn (Lindie 73), Hakim (Argent 62).
Subs: Dedman, Magwood.
Weston-super-Mare: Sawyer; Green, Ford, Rand, Paranello; Grubb, Cleverley, Mullings, Evans (Harris 75); Clarke, Klein-Davies.
Subs: Gurney, Hart, Northmore.
Referee: Colin Lymer (Mayford)
Man of the Match: Ian Dunn