Gallery: Saints put five past Arlesey

James Comley looking for a way past Harold Joseph. Picture: Leigh Page

James Comley looking for a way past Harold Joseph. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans thumped Arlesey town 5-0 on Saturday afternoon, as the Saints moved back into the play-offs, but both the visitors and the weather tried their best to prevent City moving up the table.

Richard Graham celebrates his late goal. Picture: Leigh Page

Richard Graham celebrates his late goal. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

Arlesey created the first chance of the game, when Hayles fed the ball through to Joseph N’Guessan, but he couldn’t make the most of it, and the defence cleared.

The Saints, after the early Arlesey attack, began to play the sort of football which dominated the majority of the game, and swept the ball across the park with ease before the goalkeeper saved a Mark Nwokeji shot low to his right.

The opening goal came after a spell of pressure from the home side. Forward Mark Nwokeji ran into the box, but was brought down by Kevin M’Bala, and John Frendo, with the aid of the woodwork, converted the resulting penalty to give the home side a lead which they never gave up.

The Blues, again came back at the Saints, and could have easily levelled things up in the 35th minute. Barry Hayles was brought down, but the attacker quickly took the free-kick, and he played it towards the wing, before the ball was fed back towards Hayles on the edge of the area, but he could not keep his shot down, and it sailed well over the bar much to the amusement of the majority of the 640 strong crowd.

However, it was not long until the second goal of the game came along. The Saints, like their opponents, were awarded a free-kick, and Frendo took the set-piece quickly, finding midfielder James Comley, who took a touch in the area before firing a powerful effort past Jack Bonham.

Before the restart, Hayles, who had previously spoken to the referee, was shown a straight red by the official for dissent. Both members of the Arlesey management team took exception to the decision, and protested strongly, but the referee Carl Pearse ordered them back to their technical area.

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The second half began just as the weather took a turn for the worse, with torrential rain and gusts of wind having an impact on the game, neither side were able to keep control of the ball for a long period of time.

With both managers looking to change the game, and regain control, a number of substitutions were made, including the introduction of Chris Henry, who went on to play a crucial role. Debutant Peter Dean was also brought on for his first appearance at Clarence Park, and he showed some positive signs before the end of the match.

As The Blues tired, more space opened up for the Saints, but they struggled to find a way past Jack Bonham, who was on hand to make a number of saves. On the 68th minute mark, full-back Lee Chappell ran into the area and tested Bonham on two occasions, before the goalkeeper palmed away a Comley effort which was eventually cleared away.

Arlesey, however, showed some fight, and Kevin M’Bala tried testing Bastock with an outrageously ambitious long range shot which the goalkeeper had to get down quickly to deny. Two minutes later, substitute Stuart Farrell had another opportunity when a cross delivered in reached the attacker from around seven yards out, but his attempted scissor style kick went well wide of the Clarence Park road end goal.

With the end of the game fast approaching, it looked like the game was going to end with the Arlesey defence holding the City attacks at bay, but Chris Henry had other ideas, and he headed down the wing with pace before turning a defender and crossing the ball towards Richard Graham, who hit the back of the net with his first League of the season.

The Saints’ fourth goal came in the 92nd minute when a Lee Chappell corner was headed towards the six yard area by Tom Ward, and John Frendo was on hand to turn and smash the ball high into the top of the net, to seemingly give the Saints an already impressive victory over the guests.

But the scoring wasn’t complete, and a minute later Chris Henry ran across the edge of the box, before feeding Graham on the wing, who crossed it into the path of the waiting Jamal Lowe, and the striker on loan from Barnet took a touch before slotting it past Bonham.

It was an emphatic and needed victory for the Saints, and they will be looking to keep up this form when they travel to Burnham on Tuesday evening. Kick-off at the Gore is 7:45pm.

St Albans line-up: Bastock; Gilbert; Chappell; Marwa; Ward; Locke; Graham; Comley; Frendo; Nwokeji; Taylor. Subs: Henry; Dean; Lowe; Kaloczi; Hall.

Arlesey Town line-up: Bonham; Tavernier; Willett; McGovern; Joseph; M’Bala; McNamara; Hatch; Hayles; N’Guessan; Medina. Subs: Farrell; Musombo-Tembue; Mouko Nsue; Powell; Makiese.

Attendance: 640