Dolphins make a splash at Clarence Park
- Credit: Archant
A lethargic looking St Albans City surrendered all three points to fellow play-off chasing Poole Town at Clarence Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints had the first of the early chances, when Chris Watters was sent through on goal, but Nick Hutchings gathered it at his feet. A minute later, and Poole nearly conceded a fluke goal, but Hutchings was again on hand to deny a looping header from a defender which was nearly turned into his own net.
Lee Chappell, St Albans’ marauding full-back, had the best opportunities of either side during the opening half. With 12 minutes on the clock, he received the ball on the edge of the box, and he hit a first time effort which the goalkeeper was required to tip wide.
However, Poole went close through Jon Davies. Ekow Elliott worked his way into the box before cutting inside and unleashed a shot which was blocked, but Davies was quickest to react, and he hit an effort which rattled off of the post and away.
With nearly half an hour gone, Chappell was again the centre of the action, when a quick break saw Comley play the ball to John Frendo, who twisted and aimed for the City defender. Chappell ran into the area, but as Hutchings rushed out, he could only find the side netting with his left footed strike.
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St Albans were forced into a substitution at half time after Darren Locke was forced off with an injury. He was replaced by the versatile James Kaloczi.
The Saints started the second half again on top, but they wasted what proved to be their only clear cut chance after half time. Steve Wales played an ambitious ball over the top, and Chris Watters found himself on the end of it, who took a touch, but Hutchings was on hand to palm his strike away.
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Ekow Elliot, who looked dangerous throughout up front for the visitors, wasted an excellent opportunity in the 56th minute when he beat Paul Bastock, but saw his shot drift wide of the target. However, just two minutes later, he made amends, when a free-kick was played into the St Albans area, where the ball was headed away, but Elliott was on hand to take a touch before unleashing a strike which beat Bastock, and this time found the back of the net.
Bastock was called upon with an hour on the clock to deny substitute Carl Preston, who failed to find a way past the veteran goalkeeper.
Managers James Gray and Graham Golds looked to change the course of the game, and brought on David Keenleyside in place of Chris Watters, along with Chris Henry, who replaced Ram Marwa. But, despite Keenleyside looking dangerous, the home side struggled to make any impact.
Poole, throughout the final 20 minutes, had the best opportunities to increase the score line, and the dangerous looking substitute Carl Preston saw a first time volley fly over the St Albans goal, before he worked his way again into the area, but his shot was blocked on the penalty spot.
As the match entered injury time, Elliott was again at the centre of the action, when he latched onto mistake by the St Albans defence, and found himself one on one with Bastock, but the goalkeeper was again on hand to palm his attempted lob away.
It was a disappointing result and performance for the home side, and they must now pick up maximum points from their last three league outings if they are to guarantee their place in the play-offs.
St Albans travel to Banbury next Saturday afternoon, before taking on Biggleswade at Clarence Park the following Monday. Both fixtures are 3pm kick-offs.
St Albans line-up: Bastock; Hall; Chappell; Marwa (Henry 69); Martin; Locke (Kaloczi 45); Wales; Comley; Frendo; Whitely; Watters (Keenleyside 55). Subs: Sykes; Corcoran.
Poole line-up: Hutchings; Clarke (Martin 84); Wannell; Dibba; Whisken; Pettefer; Brooks; Devlin (Davis 64); Elliott; Burbidge; Davies (Preston 58). Subs: Charles; Thomas.
Referee: Oleksandr Saliy (Enfield)