Debutant Sagna topples Cards
Woking 0 St Albans City 1 (Lamine Sagna 84) James Ronayne at Kingfield DEBUNTANT Lamine Sagna scored with his first touch 40 seconds after his introduction as a substitute to give St Albans City a superb victory at high-flying Woking. Sagna, who went i
St Albans City 1 (Lamine Sagna 84)
James Ronayne at Kingfield
DEBUNTANT Lamine Sagna scored with his first touch 40 seconds after his introduction as a substitute to give St Albans City a superb victory at high-flying Woking.
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Sagna, who went into the game on the back of five goals in two reserve team outings, kept his cool to convert Drew Roberts' cross six minutes from time and give St Albans a well deserved three points.
For the second away game in succession the result was built on a solid defensive foundation with Ryan Frater and Justin Clayton excellent at the back and Godfrey Poku once more the star man in the middle of the park.
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City boss Steve Castle made two changes to the team that earned a draw at Basingstoke on Saturday with Justin Clayton returning at centre half in place of Mark Peters while former Poole Town defender Peter Smith made his debut at left back in place of the unlucky Conner Baker.
City started like a steam train. Good play from Jonathan O'Donnell released Alex Bailey on the right. He found Gary Cohen but instead of shooting the striker crossed and Woking momentarily cleared their lines. City regained possession though and neat passing on the edge of the box created space for Roberts to cross low but Shields' final effort went over the bar.
City had a let off at the other end as Clayton connected with Jamie Hand's cross but thankfully for the Saints his header went wide of Paul Bastock's goal.
As the match wore on Woking began to find their feet and had a glorious chance 20 minutes in. Tom Hutchinson played in Mitchell Bryant and although he went round Bastock, the City stopper pushed him wide enough to recover. Bryant did eventually get a cross in but Clayton was on hand to clear up.
City continued to create half chances and O'Donnell looked to have caught Cards' 'keeper Ross Worner out with a free kick but the Woking stopper did well to readjust and pluck the ball out of the air.
Luke Medley's pace was a threat to the City defence all night and he used it to good effect to get away from Smith on the right. The attacker's cross was a good one finding Hutchinson at the far post but the Cards' captain could only head wide from an acute angle.
The first decent chance of the second half went City's way. Good play down the right saw Bailey release James Quilter whose low cross was pushed behind by Worner. From the corner Woking broke and went agonisingly close to opening the scoring.
The ball was fed up to Bryant who from the edge of the area let fly with a right footed shot that grazed the top of the bar.
Castle bought Paul Hakim on to give the Woking defence something different to think about and it nearly paid instant dividends. Hakim did well to find Cohen who beat his man and fired in a low shot that Worner did well to keep out. Roberts was first to the rebound, knocking the ball back to Cohen but the former Grimsby man could only stab his shot wide.
Minutes later Medley's pace created another opening for the hosts but Hand's volley was deflected wide for a corner.
A poor decision by referee Carl Brook to penalise Clayton nearly cost City as Woking again tested Bastock. Hand's free kick was cleared to Sam Sloma and the former Dagenham man drove the ball low to Bastock's right but the City 'keeper got kept out the effort. Moses Ademola picked up the rebound but his cross was headed away by the City defence.
With 68 minutes on the clock Harry Arter hit a miscued cross that nearly caught Bastock out but the veteran goalkeeper recovered to tip the ball onto the crossbar. The former Charlton midfielder picked the ball up from a throw out on the left hand side and although he mishit his cross the ball spun wildly towards goal but Bastock did well to readjust and tip it onto the bar. The ball fell kindly to Ademola who fired home only to see it disallowed for offside.
City were awarded a free kick 35 yards from which skipper Ryan Frater lined up. The big centre half let fly with a right foot shot that Worner had to grab at the second attempt low down at his right post.
Frater threatened the opposition goal again minutes later connecting with O'Donnell's corner at the far post but the City captain will have been disappointed that he couldn't find the target with his volley, firing wide from close range.
With six minutes to go Cohen, who ran his socks off for the second game running, was withdrawn with an ankle knock with Castle giving Sagna his debut and it was the substitute that scored what turned out to be the winner.
A poor throw out by Cards' goalkeeper Worner left Aswad Thomas in trouble and Roberts had no problem picking the left back's pocket. City's top scorer crossed the ball low into the box, Danny Johnson stepped over the ball and Sagna, who'd only been on the pitch 40 seconds, fired home with his first touch.
City then set about keeping the Cards out and they had Bailey to thank for getting them out of trouble when the former Arsenal man covered his centre backs nicking the ball away from Medley after Arter's through ball.
Sagna had a great chance to double his and City's tally in time added on but the striker somehow missed. A long ball up field saw O'Donnell challenge Worner who dropped the ball at the feet of Sagna on the edge of the box but City's goalscorer lifted his shot over the empty net.
In the end it wasn't to prove costly as City held on for the three points that takes them up to 15th in the Blue Square South table.
Woking: Worner; Sinclair, Boardman, Hutchinson, Thomas; Anane (Sole 72), Maledon (Arter 62), Hand, Sloma; Bryant (Ademola 61), Medley.
Subs not used: Nicolau, Ricketts.
St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter, Clayton, Frater, Smith (Hakim 56); Bailey, Poku, Shields (Johnson 61), O'Donnell; Cohen (Sagna 84), Roberts.
Subs not used: Baker, Peters.
Referee: Carl Brook
Man of the Match: Godfrey Poku