Effiong makes it back-to-back wins for City
Striker makes it three goals in two games
Blue Square Bet South
St Albans City 1 Maidenhead United 0
CITY maintained their good start to 2011 with their second win in three days, seeing off Maidenhead United courtesy of a solitary Inih Effiong strike.
Having recorded just one league victory in the first half of the season the Saints dug deep to make it back-to-back wins which was enough to lift them up to 18th in the Blue Square Bet South table and raise the spirits around Clarence Park.
Maidenhead made City work hard for the three points. They successfully denied City the space they had enjoyed at Boreham Wood on Saturday suffocating David Hutton and keeping the winger out of the action.
Johnson Hippolyte’s side arguably shaded what was a very even opening 45 minutes.
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Paul Bastock had to be alert to thwart Alex Wall at his near post after the Maidenhead man had beaten the offside trap and got away a shot that appeared to take a deflection.
City’s first sight of goal came from a Hutton corner but Ben Martin couldn’t get over the ball with the defender’s header sailing over the crossbar.
Ashley Smith, the scourge of City’s defence when the sides met at York Road earlier in the season, delivered a fine ball into the box for Martel Powell who nodded the ball into the path of Wall but his shot was blocked by the City defence.
Wall was looking the most likely candidate to break the deadlock and he and Bastock went head-to-head soon again. The Maidenhead man nicked the ball away from Matt Hocking and raced in on goal before getting away a shot with his left foot that Bastock did well to repel. The City stopper then bounced straight back up to keep out Wall’s attempt from the rebound.
With 28 minutes gone the Saints nearly opened the scoring in bizarre circumstances. Ryan Frater knocked the ball long over the top of the Maidenhead defence. Ollie Palmer successfully charged down Maidenhead ‘keeper Steve Williams’ attempted clearance but the deflection landed on top of the goal net.
City had successfully kept Ashley Smith quiet for the majority of the first half but the talented wide man showed what he could do if he was given too much space just a minute before half time. The Maidenhead midfielder picked the ball up close to the left touchline and delivered an inch perfect cross for Bradley Quamina who’d made an excellent run from deep but the Magpies midfielder headed wide of the target.
After an even first half, the second period opened with Maidenhead on top. Kieron St Aimie and Ashley Smith both sent over teasing crosses with Bastock having to pounce on the latter’s centre to keep it out but despite the Magpies dominating it was City that grabbed the all important goal.
James Fisher played the ball down the right touchline for Effiong who sprung the offside trap and was in on goal. The striker confidently strode into the penalty area before placing his shot across goalkeeper Williams and inside the far post.
Maidenhead regrouped and looked for a way back into the game. Former City man Jon Munday headed straight at Bastock from a corner and Wall fired over the bar and into York Road when well placed.
With the home side looking to defend their slender lead, Adam Everitt made his return from suspension as a 61st minute replacement for Adam Martin.
They could have been protecting a two goal lead had Ben Martin made contact with Hutton’s corner after the defender had lost his man with a fine run.
Substitute Chris Benjamin injected some life into the tiring City front line. The Leyton Orient youngster’s pace forced Andrew Fagan into a mistake but the striker volleyed straight at Williams from an acute angle.
Despite only having a single goal lead, the final 10 minutes were fairly comfortable for Steve Castle’s side.
They continued to create chances and maybe should have added to their total. Effiong exchanged passes with Benjamin on the edge of the box but then fired wide of the goal and Everitt curled a beautiful shot just over the bar but in the end it mattered little as City held on for another three points.
City: Bastock; Hocking, B Martin, Frater, P Smith; Fisher, A Martin (Everitt 61), Deeney, Hutton; Palmer (Benjamin 54), Effiong.
Subs not used: Petrucci, Newell, Magwood.
Maidenhead: Williams; Bezhadi, Rose (Fagan 54), Munday, Wilson; Powell, Nicholls �, Quamina, A Smith (Collins 72); Akurang (St Aimie 31), Wall.
Subs not used: Knight, Marshall.
Referee: Ashvin Degnarain (Islington)