Hakim goal moves City into play-off position
St Albans City 1 (Paul Hakim 77) Hayes and Yeading United 1 (Will Hendry 85) By James Ronayne ST ALBANS City were denied an eighth consecutive victory by Will Hendry s late free kick. The Saints looked set for victory after Paul Hakim had given them the
St Albans City 1 (Paul Hakim 77)
Hayes and Yeading United 1 (Will Hendry 85)
By James Ronayne
ST ALBANS City were denied an eighth consecutive victory by Will Hendry's late free kick. The Saints looked set for victory after Paul Hakim had given them the lead but despite the late setback City still moved into the playoff positions.
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Ryan Frater returned to the starting eleven after missing last week's game through injury while Hassan Sulaiman took his place on a strong looking bench after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The visitors started brightly and should have taken the lead in the 18th minute. Hendry's corner from the right was met by the unmarked Steve Perkins but the midfielder's header sailed harmlessly over the bar.
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This proved to be a wake up call for the Saints and they began creating chances. Luke Thurlbourne's cross was met by Sam Hurrell but the winger's diving header went wide. Then Jonathan Hunt whipped a free kick in from the right which Frater flicked towards the far post but Gary Cohen was unable to get a touch with the goal at his mercy.
Hendry, who was booked moments before the break for a late challenge on James Quilter, was given a final warning by referee Chris Miller at half time after clashing with Hakim in the tunnel. The incident seemed to spark Hakim into life with City's top scorer terrorising the Hayes and Yeading defence for the whole of the second half.
Just four minutes after the break, Hakim capitalised on visiting captain Tom Cadmore's slip to race clear only to see his shot canon back off the post before being cleared to safety. Hakim then turned creator, cutting the ball back for Hunt but the midfielder's effort curled past the post.
Ben Martin was in fine form in defence for the hosts, restricting Hayes and Yeading to long range efforts. James Mulley did manage to break through the Saints defence but his toe-poke rolled wide.
There was a moment of controversy as Perkins and Cohen came together. The City striker hauled the Hayes and Yeading man to the floor and as they both got up Perkins appeared to head-butt his opponent. Cohen was booked for his part while Perkins somehow escaped punishment despite the free kick being awarded to City.
From the resulting set-piece St Albans opened the scoring. The visitors failed to clear their lines and substitute Sulaiman nodded the ball into the path of Hakim. The striker had the time and space to fire the ball past Delroy Preddie for his sixth goal in four games with just thirteen minutes left on the clock.
The visitors threw on striker Kieran Knight in an attempt to find an equaliser and their efforts were rewarded five minutes from time. Martin was harshly penalised by referee Miller for a foul on Scott Fitzgerald on the edge of the area. Hendry stepped up to lash the ball into the bottom corner of Bastock's goal.
The final chance fell to the hosts but substitute Bradley Gray's header fell tamely into the hands of Preddie. The action wasn't as Preddie had to be pulled away by his team-mates after confronting the Saints fans after the final whistle.
It was a disappointing end to the game for City but there were still plenty of positives for Steve Castle to take away from the game as they continue to surge up the Blue Square South table.
St Albans City (4-4-2) Bastock; Fisher, Frater, Martin (c), Cousins; Hunt (Sulaiman 54), Thurlbourne, Quilter, Hurrell (Everitt 69); Cohen (Gray 78), Hakim. Unused subs: Palmer, Bailey
Hayes & Yeading United (4-1-4-1) Preddie, Allen-Page, Cadmore (c), Ruby, Bull; Perkins (Knight 80); James (Little 66), Hendry, Marwa, Mulley; Fitzgerald.Unused subs: Gregory, Collins, Howe
Referee: Chris Miller (Kettering).