Fleet send City down
Young Saints relegated at Stonebridge Road
Blue Square Bet South
Ebbsfleet United 4 St Albans City 0
ST ALBANS City will be playing their football at step three next season after their relegation from Blue Square Bet South was confirmed at Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.
The home side proved too strong for an inexperienced Saints’ side that was again built around a number of youngsters from college football.
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Fresh from losing Ryan Frater to Arlesey in midweek the Saints were dealt a further blow when Charlton Athletic recalled goalkeeper Conor Gough from his loan spell with the club with Aiden Kelly returning between the sticks. City also had to start with Inih Effiong on the bench after the car in which the top scorer was travelling broke down meaning he made a late arrival at Stonebridge Road.
Despite that City started well and Pete Smith’s excellently struck free kick was pushed away from danger by Preston Edwards.
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Calum Willock and Michael West both wasted opportunities early on but Willock made amends when he opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Fleet’s leading scorer notched his 25th goal of the campaign when he rose highest to head home Clint Easton’s cross.
West again passed up an opportunity to get on the scoresheet when he shot wide of the target but goal number two wasn’t too far down the line for the home side.
Kelly was unable to get a firm fist to Ashley Carew’s free kick and the ball fell kindly to ex-Saint Ram Marwa who rammed the ball home.
City still forged chances and they went close again from a free kick with Nick Chrysanthou’s effort forcing Edwards to tip the ball over the bar.
If Castle didn’t have enough selection problems at the start he was forced into changes at the break as the injured Ollie Kelly and Glodi Kweme were replaced by Effiong and Dom Petrucci.
City continued to put up a fight and Edwards was again called into action this time denying Tony Battersby after the striker had diverted Jonathan O’Donnell’s shot towards goal.
With 15 minutes remaining Ebbsfleet made it three when Marwa turned a Kelly goal kick back towards the City goal and West raced in to chip the ball over the advancing ‘keeper and the scoreline was complete five minutes from time when substitute Scott Ginty was left free to shot past Kelly.
Had it not been for the Football Association’s decision to dock the club 10 points for financial irregularities the Saints would still have a fighting chance of survival but the club has now paid the ultimate price for their misdemeanours. With four games still left to play out this season that final day of the season cannot come quick enough for this stretched and inexperienced squad.
City: A.Kelly, Lewis, Smith, Magwood, Peters, Everitt, Kweme (Effiong 46), O.Kelly (Petrucci 46), Battersby, Chrysanthou, O’Donnell (Chaves 71). Subs not used: Campbell, Mentis.