National League: Hemel Hempstead 2 St Albans City 0

Zane Banton stretches the Hemel defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Zane Banton stretches the Hemel defence. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

St Albans City made a losing start to 2018 in the second part of their double header with local rivals Hemel Hempstead Town.

The two sides had battled to a 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Clarence Park, but Hemel took the bragging rights in the return at Vauxhall Road.

Dean Snedker tipped an early effort from Scott Shulton over the crossbar, with Ismail Yakubu heading the corner into the hands of the Saints keeper.

Saints went closest, though, when Rhys Murrell-Williamson saw his curling effort hit the far post on eight minutes, before Snedker denied a Hemel counter and Harold Joseph cleared the loose ball off the line.

The home side opened the scoring on 32 mimnutes when a long ball found David Moyo and his first-time effort went under Snedker and found the net via the far post.

Zane Banton saw a low drive parried by Laurie Walker five minutes before half time, while Sam Merson’s shot on turn was inches wide.

But Hemel went close after the restart as Shulton saw a shot deflected behind and Joe Howe fired wide.

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A sliding Merson was inches away from Banton’s low cross on 57 minutes, but Hemel’s Lloyd Doyley headed a corner straight at Snedker.

Saints went close to levelling on 80 minutes when Merson had a header from a corner cleared off the line, but Hemel made sure of the points three minutes later when Jordan Parkes crossed and Moyo got up highest to head home his second goal of the game.

Ian Allinson’s men return to Clarence Park to host Chelmsford City on Saturday.

St Albans: Snedker, Herd, Bender, Kiangebeni, Moore-Azille (Hippolyte-Patrick 46), Joseph (Wynter 84), Murrell-Williamson (Walker 66), Sambou, Merson, Monlouis, Banton. Unused subs: Eadie, Gardiner.

Attendance: 1,266.