Henry puts City to the sword
St Albans City 0 Newport County 1 (Charlie Henry 69) James Ronayne at Clarence Park ST ALBANS City were left empty handed after Charlie Henry s 69th minute goal completed a smash and grab job for league leaders Newport County. Substitute Henry came of
St Albans City 0
Newport County 1 (Charlie Henry 69)
James Ronayne at Clarence Park
ST ALBANS City were left empty handed after Charlie Henry's 69th minute goal completed a smash and grab job for league leaders Newport County.
Substitute Henry came off the bench to win the game, ghosting past James Quilter before firing into the roof of the net to maintain Newport's lead at the top of the Blue Square South table. Saints stopper Paul Bastock will have been disappointed with the goal with the ball flying through the 'keeper's hands.
It wasn't the result City's efforts deserved but was a harsh lesson in football.
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City created chances but never looked like scoring and although the County attack was at times wayward they were able to create one moment of quality to take the three points.
The visitors didn't play particularly well but it's a sign of a good team that they can grind out results when playing somewhat short of their best.
Steve Castle gave a first start to Jonathan O'Donnell and there were home debuts for defender Justin Clayton and Godfrey Poku.
The opening period was a dour affair with the two sides cancelling each other out.
Twenty-five minutes in a flowing move involving James Fisher and O'Donnell found Gary Cohen free on the right but the City striker's cross eluded Fisher in the middle.
Newport's first real opening came shortly after the half hour mark with their top scorer, Craig Reid, guilty of wasting a glorious chance.
Danny Rose whipped in a great free kick which found Reid free six yards out but with the goal at his mercy the Newport striker lifted the ball over the bar.
A good break by City saw Solomon Shields' cross to the far post but Scot Rogers was on hand to nick it behind for a corner with Fisher lurking.
A mistake from Ryan Frater nearly proved costly but Newport were unable to take advantage. The City skipper, aware of Reid putting him under pressure tried to head the ball back to Bastock. However Frater didn't realise that Rose was positioned between himself and the Saints 'keeper but the Newport winger headed over.
The first chance of the second half fell to Reid but his header was easily held by Bastock.
The longer the game went on the more City dominated. Good work by O'Donnell resulted in the Newport defence only half clearing the cross and Godfrey Poku volleyed wide.
Shields did well in the middle to find Everitt and his cross was won by Cohen but the City striker couldn't divert his effort the right side of the post.
City continued to carve out opportunities. This time Clayton released Alex Bailey down the right but his cross was too hard for Shields who sliced his volley behind.
City's failure to build on their domination came back to haunt them in the 69th minute. Substitute Henry, who'd only been on the field five minutes, got past Quilter and fired a shot that went through Bastock's hands and into the roof of the net.
City boss Castle threw on Mark Peters up front to add a physical presence but as City put all their efforts into finding an equaliser there were plenty of gaps for the speedy Newport attack to exploit.
The visitors nearly doubled their lead when Sam Foley's free kick was allowed to reach Alton Thelwell at the far post but the former Leyton Orient man somehow failed to get his shot on target.
A free kick found its way to Reid but the striker dragged his shot wide.
A moment of magic from O'Donnell nearly got City back in the game. The young midfielder weaved his way through the Newport defence but his right footed effort was parried behind by Glyn Thompson.
City's last chance fell to Mark Peters but the makeshift striker totally miscued his effort.
Newport nearly wrapped up the game when Reid twisted the City defence in and out but the Exiles' striker saw his vicious shot come back off Bastock's near post.
St Albans City: Bastock; Quilter (Peters 77), Clayton, Frater, Everitt (Chillingworth 83); Bailey, Poku, Shields, Fisher, O'Donnell; Cohen.
Subs: Maxwell, Otobo, Dedman.
Newport County: Thompson; Bignot, Thelwell, Cochlin, Cook; Rose, Rogers, Turk (Henry 64), Holgate (Morgan 64); Reid, Foley.
Subs: Thomas, Warren, Blackburn.
Referee: Andrew Parker (Stanford-le-Hope)
Man of the Match: Jonathan O'Donnell.