National League: Hampton & Rich 0 St Albans City 2
- Credit: Archant
Saints moved within two points of top spot with a clinical win at Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday.
Ian Allinson picked the same starting XI that overcame Eastbourne Borough a week ago, with club captain David Noble returning to the bench.
The hosts went into the game on the back of three wins on the bounce and started the game looking eager the extend that run, causing the Saints problems early on.
Just six minutes in they created their first sight of goal when Farrell’s corner dropped for experienced defender Dean Inman, but his header was wide of the post.
Two minutes later Michael Johnson was forced into a smart stop at the feet of Nathan Minhas, who had latched onto Anderson’s inch-perfect through ball.
However, that proved to be Minhas’ last involvement of the game as he was soon forced off with a potentially broken nose. The energetic forward was replaced by Wilson Carvalho.
The Beavers continued to plug away and Miller-Rodney was next to test Johnson, sending a floated header from Farrell’s delivery into the arms of the St Albans stopper.
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They came even closer in the 29th minute but were only denied from opening the scoring by the assistant’s flag on the far side.
Substitute Carvalho burst through the Saints defence and drove at Johnson before laying the ball off to Donaldson to his left, but the Hampton number three had strayed offside and the assistant’s flag went up as the ball hit the back of the net.
With half-time quickly approaching the Saints took the lead with their first effort on target.
Bender’s free-kick from the left was cleared but only as far as Zane Banton, and the attacking midfielder turned well before chipping an inch perfect ball into Mitchell Weiss, who took a touch and rifled his strike into the far corner of the net.
The Saints came out after the interval looking bright and Weiss was only denied his second of the game following a swift attack by the outstretched leg of Alan Julian in the Hampton & Richmond goal.
Johnson, who has now not conceded in over 360 minutes of action, again leapt into action to deny wide-man Ryan Gondoh after he cut in from the right and struck a powerful low effort.
St Albans themselves created another opening less than 60 seconds later as Jeffers latched onto Nwabuokei’s clearance down-field and powered forward before curling a strike towards target that Julian dealt with.
Hampton continued to turn the screw but struggled to get attempts on target, with Donaldson, Miller-Rodney and Gray all failing to hit the target in promising positions inside the City box.
Allinson made all three changes in the final stages of the game, introducing Noble, Stanley and Warner-Eley, and it was the latter who played a crucial part in City making sure of the three points.
Deep in added time Bender sent a ball down the left and into the path of Warner-Eley, and the substitute burst into the box before laying the ball off for Solomon Nwabuokei.
The St Albans midfielder struck a first-time effort that bounced off the inside of the post and over the line.
St Albans are back in action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Oxford City.
Hampton & Richmond Borough: Julian; Cox (C); Inman; Anderson (Smith 78); Farrell; Miller-Rodney; Gondoh; Deadfield; Gray; Donaldson (Fisher 72); Minhas (Carvalho 13).
Subs Not Used: Bowman; Ruddick.
St Albans City: Johnson; Bender (C) Wiltshire; Kaloczi; Clark; Nwabuokei; Jeffers; Banton (Warner-Eley 94); Weiss (Noble 80); Sundire (Stanley 93): Mukena.
Subs Not Used: Diedhiou; Chidyausiku.