Gallery: Saints hit five to crush Eastleigh
Blue Square South St Albans City 5 Eastleigh 0 ST Albans City slaughtered a lacklustre Eastleigh outfit with a five-star show at Clarence Park on Saturday. Manager Steve Castle gave his squad the shake up they required with James Quilter switched
Blue Square South
St Albans City 5 Eastleigh 0
ST Albans City slaughtered a lacklustre Eastleigh outfit with a five-star show at Clarence Park on Saturday.
Manager Steve Castle gave his squad the shake up they required with James Quilter switched from defence to midfield and right back Lee Protheroe starting for the first time this season with James Fisher moving to centre back. Recent signing Gary Cohen was joined on the bench by Lee Clarke who lost his place in the side to Simon Martin in attack. Southend United youngster Gordon Rieck, signed on a work experience deal with City, was also handed a place on the bench.
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Eastleigh included the dangerous Matt Groves, signed from Weymouth, in attack alongside James Baker who City tried to sign from Braintree Town in 2007. Defender Tom Jordan and midfielder Tony Taggart signed in the summer from Havant & Waterlooville also started in an Eastleigh side with four wins from their opening five games.
Striker Martin opened the scoring on five minutes for Saints with a brilliant overhead kick. The shaky Eastleigh defence failed to clear a Jonathan Hunt corner as Ben Martin challenged and after a shot from Fisher was blocked the ball was hooked back into the middle for Martin to acrobatically fire home in spectacular fashion.
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City showed the clinical finishing that was missing in other matches this season as they stormed into a 2-0 lead on 10 minutes. Paul Bastock's long kick downfield evaded the Eastleigh defence and Paul Hakim ran clear to lob the ball over advancing Eastleigh 'keeper Jason Matthews.
Groves struck a shot just wide and Jamie Brown was also just off target as Eastleigh looked for a response before City were denied a penalty shout when Hakim seemed to be shoved to the ground by Eastleigh defender Luke Byles.
City looked to put the game beyond the visitors with a superb intensity and desire to their game and Hakim, Simon Martin and Hassan Sulaiman all had shots saved by Matthews. At the other end Bastock was alert to deny first Groves with a fine block and then the half-hearted Baker after scampering off his line. Groves spurned a great chance to pull a goal back with a header straight at Bastock from a fine Taggart cross.
City made Eastleigh pay on 42 minutes when a Hunt corner was met by a thumping header from towering centre back Ben Martin for 3-0.
Baker got the ball in the net early in the second half with Groves making sure from close range only for the offside flag to curtail visiting hopes of a recovery.
On 68 minutes City added a fourth goal as winger Sulaiman nipped in to pick up a fumbled back pass from left back Trevor Challis and lofted the ball over Matthews into the net.
City completed the rout in the 81st minute when the excellent Ben Bowditch strolled forward through midfield. Substitute Gary Cohen made a good run down the left, took the pass from Bowditch and beat his marker before lashing a low shot into the far corner.
St Albans City: Bastock GK, Fisher CB, Cousins LB, Bowditch CM, B. Martin CB, Protheroe RB, Sulaiman RM, Quilter CM, Hakim F, S. Martin F, Hunt LM. Subs: Cohen for Hakim (55), Rieck for Protheroe (70), Ridgway for Sulaiman (75). Unused subs: Clarke, Archer.
Eastleigh: Matthews GK, Martin RB, Challis LB, Riviere RM, Jordan CB, Byles CB, Adeniyi CM, Taggart LM, Groves F, Baker F, Brown CM. Subs: Hughes for Groves (57), Clarke for Brown (75). Unused subs: Mason, Maxwell, Howells.
Referee: Mark Bampton (Haverhill),