St Albans City still winless after poor showing in Braintree loss

St Albans City suffered a debilitating 3-0 loss at home to Braintree Town in the National League Sou

St Albans City suffered a debilitating 3-0 loss at home to Braintree Town in the National League South. - Credit: Archant

St Albans City produced a disappointingly limp performance as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at home to Braintree Town.

Two goals in two minutes just beyond the half-hour mark did the damage. Adam Mills got the first and Femi Akinwande the second as St Albans suffered a mid-order collapse.

Michael Clark's strike in the 89th minute was the icing on the cake for the visitors.

Simply put this wasn't acceptable. There was a lack of urgency and desire and the result leaves Saints staring at the relegation places.

Neither side had a win prior to the contest at Clarence Park and on this showing you are struggling to see where it will come from City and how you change it.

At half-time there were a few angry fans but the rest were flat and that was because there had been nothing to get them excited.

It was dull, uninspiring and downright poor and nobody was expecting a comeback. And that spoke volumes.

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The goals had taken what little wind there had been out of the City sails but in truth there hadn't been much.

A free-kick from Taylor Miles needed tipped over the bar by former Hitchin stopper Michael Johnson and Sam Merson headed wide on the stretch following a Darren Foxley cross but that was about it from the home side.

Maybe a change in formation and personnel, made necessary by Solomon Nwaboukei's injury at Dulwich on Saturday, was partly to blame.

It saw James Kaloczi moved into a defensive midfield role with Tom Bender coming into the centre of defence.

But if would be hard to blame the performance entirely on that, if at all.

The key moments were in the immediate aftermath of the goals.

You wanted to see a spark, you would to hear players that were hurt and angry, you wanted to see the bench up in arms and the crowd roaring their support.

Instead there was nothing, except for the noise of the Braintree fans who were suddenly thoroughly enjoying their trip to Hertfordshire.

The goals were poor from a Saints' point of view.

The first saw Ade Cole allowed to get deep into the home area and although his pull-back initially caused hesitation in the Braintree ranks, Mills eventually took charge, letting fly from just outside the box with a looping shot that dipped over Dean Snedker and in off the bar.

The second was scored a mere 90 seconds or so after.

Again someone was allowed to run deep into Saints' territory, Akinwande this time, and he twisted and turned before firing through the legs of David Longe-King and between Dean Snedker and his near post.

The opening to the second half saw City have even more of the ball, although that perhaps was totally understandable as Braintree appeared content to defend what they had.

But although City showed a bit of fight, Bobson Bawling winning the ball deep in the Irons' half and setting up Joe Iaciofano for a shot that that Johnson saved being one such example, it was still few and far between.

A miss by the sliding Foxley tipped Ian Allinson's hand and he brought David Noble and Albert Adu into the fray.

And they did add a bit of urgency to City, the latter especially.

It brought another change in formation too, this time to a back three which turned the full-backs into wing-backs.

Joe Howe revelled in that role and pushing on he delivered a number of teasing crosses.

On the other side Oli Sprague hit a thunderous volley that struck a defender's head and went for a corner. From that Kalcozi beat Johnson to the ball but his hooked shot was cleared off the line by Josh Urquhart.

The final throw of the dice was Rhys Murrell-Williamson and he produced one dangerous cross that could have flew anywhere as a defender slid in but instead it went wide.

But St Albans didn't deserve anything from the game and the salt was rubbed firmly into the wounds when former Saint Michael Clark charged out of defence and after marauding the full length of the pitch, he was first to a rebound after Alfie Cerualli's shot was pushed out by Snedker.

St Albans City: Snedker, Howe, Bender, Longe-King, Kaloczi, Bawling (Murrell-Williamson 80), Miles, Iaciofano (Adu 63), Merson, Foxley (Noble 63), Sprague.

Subs (not used): Bonfield, Diedhiou.

Booked: Miles 26, Bender 44

Braintree Town: Johnson, Urquhart, Saunders, Manesio, Clark, Hutchings, Cole, Barker (Bonnett-Johnson 73), Richardson (Cerulli 83), Akinwande (Harvey 79), Mills.

Subs (not used): Gipson, Charles.

Goals: Mills 31, Akinwande 32, Clark 89

Booked: Manesio 22

HT: St Albans City 0 Braintree Town 2

Attendance: 396

Referee: Jacob Miles (Brighton)