Defeat leaves City facing up to relegation

Magpies’ quality proves too much for City

Blue Square Bet South

St Albans City 1 Dorchester Town 4

THE deficiencies that hindered St Albans City prior to their recent four game unbeaten run returned to haunt them as they slumped to a heavy defeat against Dorchester Town.

While City struggled for any quality in the final third bar Adam Everitt’s well executed consolation strike the visitors had no such problems ensuring a busy night for debutant goalkeeper Conor Gough.

The big Charlton Athletic goalkeeper, who is on work experience at Clarence Park, had it fairly easy in the opening 40 minutes marshalling his defence well and coming quickly off his line to thwart Ryan Moss after the striker had dubiously broken through City’s offside trap.

With first half chances at a premium it looked like the two sides would head into the interval level but that all changed when Moss netted from close range.

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Steve Devlin’s corner wasn’t dealt with by the City defence and winger James Coutts was able to guide the ball into the path of Moss who stabbed the ball past the exposed Gough.

The goal jolted City into life after the break and Dorchester goalkeeper Regan Coward had to be alert to come out and punch clear a teasing cross from Ollie Kelly that looked destined for the head of top scorer Inih Effiong.

A minute later the Magpies goalkeeper was beaten but Everitt guided his head wide of the target from Ryan Frater’s hanging free kick.

Just as it looked like City were getting a grip on proceedings the visitors scored a breakaway second goal.

The ball was sprayed wide to Nick Crittenden in plenty of space on the right wing. The experienced midfielder drilled a brilliant low cross into the penalty area and although Moss miscued Magpies captain Mark Jermyn was on hand to hammer the ball past Gough.

City boss Steve Castle made a double substitution introducing Sean Shields and Tony Battersby and the latter had a good opportunity to reduce the deficit when he latched on to Effiong’s knock down only to blaze his volley over the bar.

The game appeared to be meandering to its conclusion when debutant Gough conceded a penalty. The ‘keeper saw his clearance hit Dorchester substitute Chris Flood who did well to control the ball and as Gough came out to rectify the situation he only succeeded in bundling over the forward.

The 17-year-old redeemed himself though with a smart save to deny Crittenden from the spot, getting down extremely well to push out the former Yeovil man’s driven spot kick.

Try as he might Crittenden couldn’t find the back of the net seeing his header clip the top of the crossbar after Gough had parried Reece Connolly’s well struck shot.

City were given hope three minutes from time when Everitt netted his third goal of the season. Battersby was the provider picking the ball up deep and driving at the Magpies’ defence. As the visiting backline closed the angle the striker fed Everitt out wide and his right footed effort beat Coward and went in via the right hand upright.

That hope didn’t last long though as Connolly restored Dorchester’s two goal cushion with a well placed shot from the edge of the box and the visitors saved the best until last as Steve Devlin curled in a beautiful effort from the left corner of the box that flew past the helpless Gough.

Devlin’s effort was the last act of the evening and leaves City’s hopes of Conference South survival resting on the outcome of Friday’s make or break date with the Football Association.

City: Gough; Fisher, Frater, Peters, Everitt �, Smith; O’Donnell (Shields 55), Kelly, Magwood (Battersby 55); Petrucci (Chaves 69), Effiong.

Subs not used: Kweme, Abdulai.

Dorchester Town: Coward; Symes, Walker, Bowles, Martin; Crittenden (Taylor 90), Jermyn �, Devlin, Coutts; Moss (Flood 70), Connolly.

Subs not used: Gleeson, Vickers.

Referee: Ian Crouch (Orpington)

Att: 142.