Flynn fires as City crash to defeat

FORMER Saint Lee Flynn returned to haunt City on Saturday as Thurrock eased to victory in the Blue Square South. After thrashing 10-man Saints 5-0 early in the 2007/08 season

Blue Square South

St Albans City 0 Thurrock 2

David Brawn at Clarence Park

FORMER Saint Lee Flynn returned to haunt City on Saturday as Thurrock eased to victory in the Blue Square South.

After thrashing 10-man Saints 5-0 early in the 2007/08 season, struggling Thurrock again arrived at Clarence Park looking to get their season up and running.

City boss Steve Castle included the injured Paul Hakim on the bench but admitted afterwards the player was able to do little more than make up the numbers. Alex Bailey continued at right back with Lee Protheroe in hospital having tests after suffering with illness, and Gary Cohen led the attack alongside Simon Martin.

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Thurrock included new signing Mark Wright, who once almost joined City, at left back with skipper Flynn operating at right back.

The first half was a drab affair, with City failing to extend Thurrock goalkeeper David Blackmore. Winger Hassan Sulaiman was the liveliest City attacker, regularly tormenting Wright, and created a good opportunity with a driving run into the box on 18 minutes. Unfortunately for the hosts, Sulaiman's deep chip to the back post was beyond Cohen who had moved towards the near post.

Cohen showed a glimpse of his quality on 23 minutes when he took a long kick out from Bastock, beat Kenny Clark, and then shot at Blackmore who comfortably held.

Thurrock responded by creating the best chance of the half with a fine flick from David Bryant to release strike-partner Che Stadhart and he lofted the ball into the arms of Paul Bastock.

City produced very little of the slick football that had seen Bishop's Stortford and Eastleigh cut down in previous home league fixtures. A rare glimpse of quality on 51 minutes should have led to the opening goal. Cohen challenged for the ball and Simon Martin helped it on to Ben Bowditch. The midfielder flicked a fine pass through to Jonathan Hunt only for goalkeeper Blackmore to make a fine last-ditch tackle as the former Premier League player tried to go around him.

Thurrock grabbed the lead on 68 minutes with a scrappy goal. A corner from Jon Docker was flicked by Bastock only to divert back in off the unfortunate Ben Martin with James Fisher hacking the ball out from behind the line. The goal was rightly given and both Thurrock strikers Bryant and Stadhart claimed the decisive touch, with the latter generously credited with the strike.

City claimed a penalty when substitute Lee Clarke felt he was impeded by former colleague Flynn, and Fisher was then denied from a corner kick as his sizzling shot was blocked before he lashed the rebound high over the top.

Thurrock made City pay for an abject display on 88 minutes when Fola Orilonishe angled over a deep cross which Flynn thundered across Bastock into the net with a sublime volleyed finish.

St Albans City: Bastock, Bailey, Cousins, Bowditch, Martin, Fisher, Sulaiman, Quilter (Archer 78), Cohen, Martin (Clarke 72), Hunt. Unused subs: Adams, Hakim, Rieck.

Thurrock: Blackmore, Flynn, Wright, Clark, Paine, Orilonishe, Spencer (Lettejallow 25), Docker, Hughes, Stadhart (McLeish 78), Bryant. Unused subs: Hussein, Araba, Anderson.

Referee: Ian Crouch (New Eltham).

Attendance: 373.