Reasons to be cheerful for beaten Saints

St Albans City (Danny Green 89) Watford XI (Will Hoskins 50, 54, Jordan Parkes 73, 83) James Ronayne at Clarence Park THE sight of Paul Hakim and Hassan Sulaiman back in Saints colours gave fans plenty to be cheerful about as City lost 4-1 to a strong W

St Albans City (Danny Green 89)

Watford XI (Will Hoskins 50, 54, Jordan Parkes 73, 83)

James Ronayne at Clarence Park

THE sight of Paul Hakim and Hassan Sulaiman back in Saints colours gave fans plenty to be cheerful about as City lost 4-1 to a strong Watford XI.

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Watford first-team squad players Will Hoskins and Jordan Parkes scored two second-half goals each to seal the win but there were plenty of positives for the Saints particularly their first half performance.

Unfortunately Hakim's appearances are likely to be few and far between with the striker revealing that Tuesday night games are the only viable option as he works weekends. Last season's top scorer said he is hopeful of extending his Saints career but stressed it's far from a done deal.

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Hakim, fresh from playing representative football in Israel, was named as captain for the night and showed that he hasn't lost his sharpness or touch.

Sulaiman too showed flashes of what he could offer the Saints and it was his cross that nearly lead to an opener for City.

The fullback bombed down the right wing before delivering a perfect cross in to the Hornets six-yard box that Eddie Oshodi cleared narrowly over his own bar.

The young Hornets, eager to impress boss Malky Mackay and his management team who were sat in the stands, had goalkeeper Jon North to thank for keeping them on level terms. Hakim received the ball on the edge of the area and he dissected the opposition defence with a slid-rule pass that found Ricky Miller in space but North pulled off a good point-blank save to deny the former Hitchin striker.

The first half was a good spectacle for the fans with chances at both ends and Jake Palmer had to be alert to keep out Lewis Young's strike after he'd got in behind Conor Baker.

Hakim and Miller combined well throughout the first half and the pair linked up again in the 34th minute with North denying Miller's effort once more.

Young, the younger brother of Aston Villa's Ashley, tormented the City defence with his pace all night but his failure to fire home from Liam Henderson's low cross left everyone, including Mackay, baffled.

Watford upped the tempo in the second half with Hoskins the central figure. The former Rotherham striker saw his chip pushed out from under the bar by Palmer before turning provider and slipping right back Lee Hodson in on goal, but the youngster dragged his shot harmlessly wide of Palmer's up-right.

It looked inevitable that the visitors would take the lead and they did that in the 50th minute.

Mat Sadler's clever pass found Hoskins free behind the City defence and the striker showed great composure to loft the ball over Palmer before rolling it in to the empty net.

It was 2-0 four minutes later as Young got in behind the City backline once more, rounded Palmer and laid the ball across to Hoskins to apply the finish.

It could and should have been 3-0 shortly after the hour mark as tormentor-in-chief Young raced through on goal, rounded Palmer but instead of shooting in to the empty net he checked back and the City defence was able to recover and clear.

The substitutions continued to flow which didn't help City's cause and Watford made it 3-0 when Jordan Parkes cut in from the right hand side and drove a low shot in to the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards out.

Parkes grabbed his second and Watford's fourth seven minutes from time with a neat near post finish from a low right-wing cross.

To City's credit they kept going and North did well to keep out a Danny Green effort before pouncing on the loose ball to deny Hakim an easy chance.

Green wasn't to be denied though and with a minute left on the clock the former Harlow man fired home, with the aid of a deflection, after a superb pass from Hakim, to ensure City's night finished on a positive note.

St Albans City (4-3-3): Palmer; Sulaiman (Godfrey Pocu 56), Barnes (Lamonaca 46), Peters (Eames 61), Baker (Kane 56); Maxwell, O'Donnell (Green 80), Mortimer (Quinton 46); Roberts (Effiong 64), Hakim (c), Miller (Magwood 56).

Subs: Soulard.

Watford XI (4-4-2): North; Hodson, Kiernan, Oshodi, Travner (Parkes 65); Young (Whichelow 75), O'Toole (Mingoia 65), Brooks, Sadler; Hoskins (Sordell 65), Henderson (Gibson 77).

Subs: Bonham, Dennett.

Referee: Matt McLaughlin

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