Frendo brace earns City three points

St Albans City beat Bashley 2-0 at Clarence Park on Monday night. Picture: Leigh Page

St Albans City beat Bashley 2-0 at Clarence Park on Monday night. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

The Saints extended their unbeaten run in the league to eight games on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win over bottom of the table Bashley.

It was a lethargic performance all round from St Albans, but early goals at the start of either half provided some positivity on an otherwise drab and damp evening at Clarence Park.

With just 30 seconds on the clock, the hosts launched their first attack when a cross came in from the left and was missed by Frendo and Lowe, before it finally fell to Keenleyside, who controlled the ball before unleashing an effort towards goal, which looked to be blocked on the line by the arm of full-back Adam Flint. Referee Lee Marshallsay awarded a penalty to the Saints, and had no choice but to send the Bashley defender off. John Frendo stepped up and easily dispatched the spot-kick to the goalkeeper’s left to give his side a perfect start to the game.

Bashley had to recover immediately if they were to have any hope of preventing a repeat of the 7-1 defeat to Cambridge City on Saturday, however, there was another set-back to come when Dave Marden, who had started the game in the heart of the defence, had to be replaced by The Bash’s manager Paul Gazzard.

This make shift defence coped well to restrict the attacking intent on Frendo and Jamal Lowe, but 16 year old Montague George in goal for Bashley, who had joined the same day from Salisbury City on an emergency loan, was the real star for visitors on the evening. He denied The Saints on a number of occasions, and was called upon to make his first real save of the evening in the 17th minute after Frendo played the ball to Chappell after the marauding full-back found himself free in the box, but he failed to get the ball over the young goalkeeper.

A James Comley cross found Ward free at the back post, but he could not force an effort past George, while both David Keenleyside and Lowe failed to get their shots on target.

On the 29th minute mark came Bashley’s first attempt on target when a long ball over the top of the City defence found the bright Manny Soetan, but the wide man could only hit an effort which was comfortable for Bastock to deal with.

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The final quarter of the half was played at a slower tempo, with the Saints seemingly content with their lead, while The Bash were more than happy with the prospect of going into half time just 1-0 down. However, despite the visiting goalkeeper again denying Frendo, it was in fact the guests who could have gotten a goal before half time. Captain Jack Odam was denied well by Bastock after a ball was slid through the centre of the City defence to the frontman.

The second half began much like the first, with John Frendo scoring his second of the game. A cross into the box from Hall wasn’t cleared by Gazzard, and the ball fell kindly to Frendo, who stabbed the ball home into the York Road.

Montague George was called upon several times to keep his side in the game during a five minute spell of pressure from St Albans. The goalkeeper denied Lowe with his legs, while Frendo also saw his shot blocked, before Lee Chappell pounced on the ball which had run free, but his audacious effort was cleared off of the line. That clearance then fell to Frendo, but, unsurprisingly, George was there once again to save the forward’s strike.

Keenleyside was the next to be frustrated by the 16-year-old, as his low attempt was palmed wide.

Joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds look to inject some energy into the team, and brought on Mark Nwokeji and Henry in place of Watters and Keenleyside. But as Bashley continued to deny the Saints, the home side’s tempo dropped further and further, as they appeared to be shutting up shop knowing that their three points were secured.

Bashley tested Bastock a number of times in the final 10 minutes of normal time, with Lewis Buckmore and substitute Jason Brookes both being denied by The Saints’ shot stopper. Into injury time, and Soetan again caused trouble, when he attacked with pace down the right, before unleashing an effort which sailed across Bastock, but also wide of the goal.

However, St Albans almost ended the match with a flourish when Frendo played the ball into the path of Chappell, but he could only find the woodwork with the outside of his boot.

The Saints’ next match is away to Redditch United on Saturday the 21st December. Kick-off at the Valley Stadium is 3pm.

Saints starting line-up: Bastock; Hall; Chappell; Marwa; Locke; Ward; Keenleyside; Comley; Frendo; Lowe; Watters. Saints Subs: Henry; Nwokeji; Martin; Kaloczi; Green.

Bashley starting line-up: George; Roberts; Flint; Strickland; Marden; Morris; Buckmore; Colson; Joyce; Odam; Soetan. Bashley Subs: Gazzard; Satterley; Ferguson; Brookes.

Att: 280