Hakim inspires City win

St Albans City 2 (Gary Cohen 28, Jonathan O Donnell 85) Bromley 0 James Ronayne at Clarence Park A STUNNING goal from Gary Cohen set St Albans City on their way to a well deserved three points against Bromley on Saturday. Cohen s goal, his third of the

St Albans City 2 (Gary Cohen 28, Jonathan O'Donnell 85)

Bromley 0

James Ronayne at Clarence Park

A STUNNING goal from Gary Cohen set St Albans City on their way to a well deserved three points against Bromley on Saturday.

Cohen's goal, his third of the season, was a beautiful curled effort from 25 yards with Jonathan O'Donnell's first goal for the club five minutes from time ensuring the three points went the way of Steve Castle's side.

It was marked improvement from City on their lacklustre performance at Bromley's Hayes Lane just two weeks prior.

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The most noticeable improvement came in the front line where Paul Hakim made a welcome return.

The former Stevenage man failed to get on the scoresheet but was a handful for the visiting defence and played a part in both of the Saints goals. His movement and link-up play was what has been missing over the past few weeks and certainly left the Clarence Park faithful thinking 'what if' as they trudged out into the dark December evening.

The game was very slow to get going. The Saints midfield was guilty of taking too many touches while the Bromley attack failed to really test Paul Bastock in the City goal.

Godfrey Poku showed great power to ease past Harrison Dunk and although his low cross found Hakim at the near post the striker headed wide.

Bromley had forged several half chances, most from free kicks, but they were comfortably dealt with by the Saints' defence.

Then out of nowhere the game burst into life thanks to Cohen's fantastic goal.

Bastock pumped the ball up to Hakim who collected it and laid it off to Cohen. Cohen hit a wonderful curling shot first time that went in off Gareth I Williams' far post.

The goal gave City confidence and they really should've had a second just three minutes later. Peter Smith did excellently to intercept a pass midway in the Bromley half before surging towards the edge of the area and cutting back an inch perfect pass that found Hakim free in the box. The striker didn't have to break stride to meet the pass but screwed his shot wide.

If Hakim could've been accused of two close range misses he couldn't be accused of lacking in effort. This was perfectly demonstrated when Gareth I Williams took too long with a back pass and Hakim raced in to block the clearance but unfortunately for the Saints the ball rolled kindly for the Bromley goalkeeper who rescued the situation.

City were dealt a blow less than ten minutes before the break when Ryan Frater was forced off with an injury with Peters replacing the City captain.

A quick break by Bromley threatened to call Bastock into action but Luke I'Anson's surge into the box was ended by a great tackle from Smith.

Half time seemed to disrupt any rhythm that had built up in the second part of the opening period with both sides struggling to take control.

A good counter attack from City saw Hakim spray the ball out right for the advancing Fisher but he fired wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Cohen teed up substitute Jonathan O'Donnell 20 yards out but the young winger's effort was well held by Gareth I Williams.

A misplaced pass from Fisher was seized by Bromley but Dunk's effort from 25 yards easily cleared Bastock's bar.

A foul by Cohen on Dunk earned the former Grimsby man his fifth yellow card of the campaign and he'll now miss the trip to Maidenhead on Boxing Day.

The crowd was left wondering how Bromley didn't draw level when a deep corner found Tutu Henriques at the far post. The big defender met the ball with his head but instead of hitting the back of the net the ball rolled down into the corner at the Hatfield Road end of the ground.

Having escaped narrowly at one end the Saints went down the other looking to kill off the Lillywhites' challenge and only a great save by Gareth I Williams stopped Fisher from doubling City's advantage. O'Donnell found Roberts on the left whose cross was collected well by Fisher. The midfielder went past his man and hit the ball on the half volley only for Gareth I Williams to stick out a big hand and push the ball over the bar.

A vicious shot by Ryan Dolby was punched away by Bastock as the Lillywhites probed for an equaliser.

City eventually got the second goal that killed off the tie with O'Donnell grabbing his first senior goal for the club.

Hakim received the ball in the right hand channel but his shot was weak and dribbled across the face of goal and off the post but O'Donnell was on hand to stab the ball home.

Bromley came back at City and Bastock had to be alert diving at the feet of Marcus Cassius with Ramon Calliste firing wildly over the bar from the rebound.

Calliste was guilty of missing the target again before Lee Collins bought a halt to proceedings to take City up to 13th place and just six points off the play-offs.

St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter, Clayton, Frater (Peters 37), Smith; Fisher, Poku, Shields (O'Donnell 66), Cohen; Roberts, Hakim (Everitt 87).

Subs: Sagna, Johnson.

Bromley: G.I. Williams; Fray (Cassius 67), Henrique, Gillman, Dunk; Hall (Dolby 53), Corneille, I'Anson, Carew; G.A. Williams (Calliste 60), McBean.

Subs: Greene, Sobers.

Referee: Lee Collins (Woking)

Att: 312

Man of the Match: Paul Hakim