Goals at last but still all square

St Albans City 1 (Adam Martin 50) Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 (James Simmonds 66)

AFTER 230 minutes of football Clarence Park finally saw its first goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to stop St Albans City from making it five straight draws.

The run looked like being ended when Adam Martin headed home Robbie Martin’s cross to put City on their way but Steve Castle’s side were only able to hold on to their lead for 16 minutes before James Simmonds fired home a deserved equaliser for Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Castle started the game with Ryan Frater restored to the heart of the defence in place of Pete Smith who was dropped to the bench with Adam Everitt moving across to fill in Smith’s left back spot.

The visitors created the best of the early opportunities but never really tested Paul Bastock in the City goal. Barrie Matthews robbed Hassan Sulaiman in midfield but fired wide of the target and Charlie Moone shot straight at Bastock.

A Robbie Martin free kick nearly found Everitt at the far post but a visiting defender nipped in to head the ball out of the left back’s path at the last minute.

City were dealt a major blow just before the interval when a hamstring strain forced Ben Martin off. The defender felt it best to come off before the hamstring went and Castle had to reshuffle his pack, bringing Smith on in his place.

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The second half was just five minutes old when Adam Martin grabbed Clarence Park’s first goal of the 2010/11 season.

Robbie Martin did well down the City left and his ball into the middle was met by Adam Martin who snuck in between two defenders and looped a header inside Matt Lovett’s far post.

Instead of giving City a lift, the goal spurred Hampton on and they dominated the remainder of the match.

David Tarpey should have done better when the ball broke to him inside the City penalty area but he fired wide of the target and Deeney had to hack off the line as Danny Allen-Page’s cross threatened to result in an equaliser.

It was only a temporary reprieve for City though as Simmonds cracked home a leveller. A spell of pressure from the visitors caused panic in the home defence and although Dean Wells’ initial effort was cleared off the line, Simmonds picked up the loose ball to ram it home from the edge of the box.

There only looked like being one winner now and that there wasn’t was again down to Bastock.

The goalkeeper denied Simmonds a second after he’d raced in on goal then produced a great one handed save to divert substitute Lawrence Yaku’s effort behind.

Yaku did beat Bastock with a volley after collecting Hodges’ flick on but thankfully for the home side the striker was off target and the ball rolled wide.

The final whistle was met with a sense of relief by the home side following Hampton’s domination of the second half and ensured City chalked up their fifth consecutive draw of the campaign.

St Albans City: Bastock; Deeney, B Martin (Smith 44), Frater, Everitt; Sulaiman, A Martin (Magwood 74), Fisher, R Martin; Effiong (Simpson 59), Roberts.

Subs not used: Peters, Kweme.

Hampton & Richmond: Lovett; Allen-Page, Wells, Stevens, Tanner; Collier, Inman, Simmonds, Matthews; Moone (Hodges 62), Tarpey (Yaku 69).

Subs not used: Adams, Lucien, Robinson.

Referee: Dave Bushell (London).

Att: 307.