Everitt goal keeps City charge for the play-offs on track

St Albans City 1 (Adam Everitt 45) Thurrock 0 James Ronayne at Clarence Park ADAM Everitt s headed goal in the closing stages of the first half kept St Albans City s play-off bid firmly on track after a low key affair. City boss Steve Castle admitted af

St Albans City 1 (Adam Everitt 45)

Thurrock 0

James Ronayne at Clarence Park

ADAM Everitt's headed goal in the closing stages of the first half kept St Albans City's play-off bid firmly on track after a low key affair.

City boss Steve Castle admitted afterwards that his side hadn't played to their best but when you have picked up the knack of not conceding goals as City have in recent weeks then you will always stand a good chance of taking maximum points.

Not that City weren't indebted to goalkeeper Paul Bastock and Everitt, at the other end this time, for some great last ditch defending to keep an enterprising Thurrock side at bay. Bastock in particular shone producing a great one handed save in the 96th minute to seal City's win.

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City were on the back foot as early as the third minute with Bastock producing a great point blank save top do deny Lewis Smith the opening goal.

Smith then evaded the attentions of Everitt on City's left before drilling the ball across the face of goal but it was too fierce for any of the visiting attackers to get on the end of.

Then Leon McKenzie was able to get his cross in from the right but Fola Orilonishe's header cleared Bastock's bar comfortably.

McKenzie nearly got a goal himself when he beat Bastock to a hanging cross but Everitt hacked it off the line but only as far as Matt Bodkin. The winger hit a venomous drive towards goal that Everitt threw himself in front of to deflect wide.

City's first real chance of note came nearly half an hour in. A long clearance was headed weakly back towards Thurrock goalkeeper Joe Woolley allowing James Lindie to nip in. He rounded the goalkeeper but Woolley stuck out a boot and deflected the striker's effort wide.

Bastock was called into action once more, getting down well to deny McKenzie and pouncing on the loose ball before anybody else could react.

With the first period coming to a close, City worked the ball to James Fisher whose drive was deflected wide for a corner. Jake Beecroft fired in the corner for the unmarked Everitt to steer it inside the goalkeeper's far post to put City in front.

There was still time for former City left-back Lee Flynn to fire over the bar from 20 yards before referee Simon Knapp bought an end to a first half in which City had been dominated yet still found themselves in front.

The goal gave City a boost and they started the second half on the front foot with Chris Sullivan cutting in off his left wing but firing over the bar.

Sullivan then went on a glorious jinking run evading the challenges of three Thurrock defenders but just as it was crying out to be laid off a Thurrock defender recovered to clear for a corner.

A precise pass from Beecroft got Roberts free in behind the visiting defence but Woolley came out to narrow the angle for City's top scorer and the goalkeeper saved well.

Flynn's corners were causing problems all afternoon and Bastock had to be alert to keep out Kenny Clark's header.

The game was now very open and City should've put the result beyond doubt when Peter Smith slipped Lindie in but he took too long and screwed his shot wide.

Thurrock then stepped up a gear with substitute Matt Judge having a header deflected over the bar and Paul Olima heading straight at Bastock.

The official indicated that four minutes of injury time were to be played but with the game in the 95th minute referee Knapp awarded Thurrock a free kick. Sensing this was last chance saloon stuff, they flooded the box and when City did not clear effectively they were glad to see Reiss Gilbey's effort deflected wide for a corner.

There was still more drama to come with the game now in the 96th minute. Flynn's corner again found Clark whose header was destined for the top corner, that is until Bastock leapt through the air and stuck out a paw to bat the ball round the post. It was the very last action of the game and a save worthy of winning a game.

St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter, Frater (c), Everitt, Smith; Beecroft, Magwood, Fisher, Sullivan (Dunn 71), Lindie (Peters 87), Roberts (Dedman 90).

Subs not used: Lokando, McWeeney.

Thurrock: Woolley; Pope, Swaine, Clark, Flynn (c); Bodkin (Judge 60), Lalite, Bryant (Olima 76), Orilonishe; Smith (Gilbey 69), McKenzie.

Subs not used: Paine, Anderson.

Referee: Simon Knapp (Bristol)

Att: 343

Man of the Match: Paul Bastock and Adam Everitt