Hakim sparkles as super Saints sink Stortford

PAUL Hakim put in a sparkling display to torment former club Bishop s Stortford as City picked up their second win of the campaign on Tuesday.

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St Albans City 2 Bishop's Stortford 0

Quilter 72, Clarke (pen) 90

David Brawn at Clarence Park

PAUL Hakim put in a sparkling display to torment former club Bishop's Stortford as City picked up their second win of the campaign on Tuesday.

Striker Hakim shrugged off an injury doubt to spearhead the City attack alongside Simon Martin with Gary Cohen and Lee Clarke remaining on the bench. Manager Steve Castle handed a debut to ex-Chesterfield and Halifax Town full back Alex Bailey who replaced sickness victim Lee Protheroe in the only change from the hammering of Eastleigh.

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Former Saint Nick Eyre lined up in goal for Stortford with a point to make after losing his place at Clarence Park last season to Paul Bastock.

City were quickly in the ascendancy playing down the slope and Simon Martin shot wide on three minutes. Jonathan Hunt then whipped in a vicious curling free kick which striker Martin and defender Ben Martin both narrowly failed to turn into the net.

With the tenacious duo James Quilter and Ben Bowditch controlling midfield and Hassan Sulaiman lively on the right flank, the home side were threatening another goal avalanche. Hakim was denied by Eyre as he tried to divert a Sulaiman shot into the net and Quilter had a thumping header from a Hunt corner kicked off the line by Michael Hyem.

Stortford almost stunned the hosts when Piers Wixon released Danny Harris and his powerful shot was saved point blank by Paul Bastock on 29 minutes.

Defender Ben Martin headed straight at Eyre from City's seventh corner of the match on 33 minutes and Hakim lashed a shot wide from 30 yards.

Just before half time the excellent Bailey threaded a superb ball to Hakim who burst forward and cracked the ball across the goal with nobody in the middle to convert.

Stortford were under the cosh in the second half again but almost sprung a surprise when Harris sprinted forward, cut inside Ben Martin and then shot only for the alert Bastock to gather.

City finally showed the cutting edge their good approach work deserved on 72 minutes. Substitute Gary Cohen sprinted away on the right and found Hakim who was challenged well. The ball broke nicely for the excellent Quilter to stroke his shot low into the far corner.

Quilter was close to reaching a Cohen cross as City looked for a second. Stortford were then denied by the offside flag late on as a cross from substitute Idemudia Okojie was headed home by Roy Essandoh.

City made the game safe deep into injury time when Cohen put Hakim through and the striker was impeded as he shot across the goal. The referee pointed to the spot and substitute Lee Clarke stepped up to convert his first of the season sending Eyre the wrong way. The second goal clearly reflected the overall dominance of the hosts as Castle's men made it back-to-back league wins.

St Albans City 4-42

Hakim CF S. Martin CF

Hunt LM Bowditch CM Quilter CM Sulaiman RM

Cousins LB Fisher CB B. Martin CB Bailey RB

Bastock GK

Subs: Cohen for S. Martin (67), Clarke for Hunt (79). Unused subs: Rieck, Ridgway, Archer.

Bishop's Stortford 4-4-2

Harris CF Wixon CF

Webster LM Edwards CM Hyem CM Mason RM

Taylor LB Goodacre CB King CB Jones RB

Eyre GK

Subs: Okojie for Webster (64), Dean for Hyem (74), Essandoh for Goodacre (83). Unused subs: Koko, Hasler.

Referee: P. Forrester (Luton).

Attendance: 448.