Jack Green inspires Saints to win over play-off chasing Gosport

Elliot Bailey and Ian Gayle celebrate the winner scored by Omar Beckles. Picture: Leigh Page

Elliot Bailey and Ian Gayle celebrate the winner scored by Omar Beckles. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

Jack Green came off the bench to inspire St Albans City to a shock 2-1 victory in the Vanarama Conference South over play-off chasing Gosport Borough.

Green, 17, younger brother of Danny, came on for Darren Locke who limped off in injury time of the first-half after bravely diving in front of Sam Pearce’s powerful shot. The youth product was superb in just his six appearance of the season, taking on defenders, forcing saves out of Boro’s goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore and keeping the visitors on the back foot. His best piece of play came when he ran down a long ball and out-foxed Lee Molyneaux and set up his brother, who sliced wide.

Molyneaux took his revenge by scything him down - a challenge that earned him a red card and handed the advantage to St Albans. City then took the initiative by scoring their second goal. Jack Green forced a corner and Lee Chappell, who superbly curled a first-half free-kick into the top corner to open the scoring, send in a seemingly poor delivery but Boro failed to deal with it and Omar Beckles stabbed the ball home.

With the extra-man, City poured forward and were unlucky not to add to their lead. Steve Wales had the best chance but Ashmore saved with his legs. Gosport’s day went from bad to worse in injury time when Mike Carter was given his second yellow card, reducing the visitors to nine men; not that it mattered with 60 seconds left.

The fog descended on Clarence Park ahead of the game, an apt metaphor of St Albans’ recent result, which had seen them fail to win in four games. And their thread-bare squad looked outmatched on paper, with John Frendo, John Kyriacou, James Comley, Joe Welch and Cameron Lancaster all out. However, their organisation and defensive effort couldn’t be faltered, except for Boro’s equaliser.

Chappell, captain for the second game running, got the fans on their feet with a free-kick right out of the top drawer but it was cancelled out when Dan Wooden’s cross wasn’t cleared and Justin Bennett fired home. The leveller came just before half-time and Boro looked like they would take the game to City in the second half.

It was the Saints, however, who pressed forward and, led by Jack Green, got a shock, yet fully deserved victory. The club will be hoping the performance can bring the crowds back to Clarence Park as their next three games are at home.

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St Albans City line-up: Tom Coulton, Howard Hall, Lee Chappell, Omar Beckles, Darren Locke, Ian Gayle, Charlie Gorman, Sam Corcoran, Elliot Bailey, Steve Wales, Danny Green. Subs: David Keenleyside, Jack Green, Alex Yearwood, David Longe-King, Mayson Tewkesbury.

Gosport Borough line-up: Nathan Ashmore, Lee Molyneaux, Rory Williams, Mike Carter, Brett Poate, Sam Pearce, Tom Dunford, Dan Smith, Matt Paterson, Justin Bennett, Dan Wooden. Subs: Adam Wilde, Robbie Matthews, Lee Wort, Francisco Saez Ferre, Steve Ramsey.

Attendance: 332