King sentences City to defeat

King’s brace condemns City to another defeat

Blue Square Bet South

St Albans City 0

Farnborough 2 (Jack King 69, 88)

TWO extremely well taken second half goals from Jack King proved the difference as Farnborough left Clarence Park with maximum points.

King’s two goals, the first a deft flick from a free kick and the second a powerful effort from the edge of the area, proved to be the only two moments of quality in a game that was lacking in the entertainment stakes.

To City’s credit they showed the fight that was so badly lacking at Welling United on Saturday and on a couple of occasions they strung together an impressive sequence of passes but their hard work was undone by a lack of cutting edge in the final third.

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Steve Castle, who spent the evening watching proceedings from the main stand having been handed a two-game ban for his dismissal at Bromley, gave a start to Hector Mackie who returned to the club from Bath City on the morning of the game. Mackie surprisingly took the place of City’s most lively attacking threat in the previous two outings David Hutton who had to make do with a place on the bench while there were recalls to the starting XI for Ben Martin, Ross Dedman and Pelayo Gomez.

The visitors started the brighter, forcing a series of free kicks and corners in the opening exchanges but Steve King’s side were unable to make them count.

A clever move between Kezie Ibe and Bradley Bubb saw the latter get free of the City defence but Boro’s leading scorer screwed his shot well wide of Paul Bastock’s goal.

After 15 minutes of playing second fiddle to their visitors, City came to life and began to take control of proceedings.

Ryan Frater seized possession on the halfway line and strode into the Farnborough half. The City skipper rolled the ball right to James Fisher who steadied himself before firing at goal from 30 yards. The midfielder did well to keep his shot down but it proved a regulation save for Michael Jordan in the visitors’ goal.

Harry Beautyman then found Jean-Michel Sigere in the penalty area but the French striker was unable to get the ball under control and Farnborough managed to clear before Gomez could seize on the loose ball.

With 30 minutes gone City began to knock the ball around nicely, stringing together an impressive number of passes before Gomez let fly with a speculative drive from distance that again proved easy for Jordan to deal with.

The pace of wing-back Craig Braham-Barrett kept Dedman on his toes and the youngster had to be alert to execute an excellent slide tackle to halt the Boro man inside the penalty area just as he had got a clear sight on goal.

With just four minutes of the second half gone, Farnborough boss Steve King altered his side’s shape introducing winger Dale Binns for defender Jamie Stevens and switching from a 5-3-2 to 4-4-2 formation.

The switch initially had little impact on proceedings as City continued to dominate possession but without hurting their opponents.

A contested drop ball 30 yards from the City goal was won by the visitors and a clever pass down City’s left got Ibe free of the home defence. The striker evaded the challenge of Pete Smith before cutting back to strike partner Bubb but his effort ballooned over the bar and into York Road.

The Saints were forced to withdraw Pete Smith whose evening was ended when he collided with Jay Conroy, a familiar face to Clarence Park regulars who watch ITV’s The Only Way Is Essex. The City full-back was replaced by Hutton with Mackie dropping back to fill in at left-back.

Castle also threw on reserve team striker Dom Petrucci with an hour gone and the second string’s leading scorer showed what he could do with a surging run in the Boro half before slipping the ball to Beautyman whose run was halted by James Smith.

City were made to pay for not turning their possession into goals. Frater was penalised for a late challenge on Bubb and McMahon’s precise delivery found King who brilliantly flicked the ball over Bastock from 12 yards with the outside of his right boot.

Mark Peters entered the fray in attack as City tried to find a way back into the game and the assistant manager probably should have levelled the scores when he rose highest to meet Hutton’s excellent cross but the 37-year-old couldn’t direct the ball goalwards much to the relief of the visiting defence.

Petrucci and Gomez then linked up on the edge of the box with the Spanish striker turning and shooting straight at Jordan but the result was put to bed as King pounced to score his second.

Braham-Barrett was afforded far too much space on the left wing and speedster’s pass found King on the edge of the box. The Boro midfielder also had too much time and he took advantage of this controlling the ball before drilling it past Bastock from the edge of the area.

It could have been worse for City when McMahon danced his way through the City defence close to the goal line and dinked the ball past Bastock but Frater was on hand to clear off the line and avoid any further damage.

The result leaves City one point and one place above the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s trip to Lewes. Defeat in Sussex would see the Rooks climb above the Saints and send Castle’s men into the bottom three.

City: Bastock; Dedman, B Martin, Frater �, Smith (Hutton 63); Beautyman, Fisher, Deeney, Mackie (Peters 81); Gomez, Sigere (Petrucci 63).

Subs not used: Magwood, A Martin.

Farnborough: Jordan; Conroy, Stevens (Binns 49), Robinson �, Smith, Braham-Barrett; McMahon, King, Holloway; Ibe (Booth 72), Bubb.

Subs not used: Price, Ciardini, McDonald.

Referee: Mike Blackledge (Peterborough, Cambs)

Att: 232