Red mist descends on Clarence Park

St Albans City 1 (Drew Roberts 24p) Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 (Ian Hodges 11, Craig Dundas 20) James Ronayne at Clarence Park ST ALBANS City slumped to their first home defeat of the season in a game that saw two Saints red carded and manager Steve C

St Albans City 1 (Drew Roberts 24p)

Hampton & Richmond Borough 2 (Ian Hodges 11, Craig Dundas 20)

James Ronayne at Clarence Park

ST ALBANS City slumped to their first home defeat of the season in a game that saw two Saints red carded and manager Steve Castle sent to the stands.

The first 20 minutes were some of the most exciting seen this season, with the game going from end to end and with three goals scored in the opening 25 minutes the game was all set for an entertaining tussle.

Enter referee Paul Forrester. The Luton-based official started quite well but ended the game under a barrage of complaints as his continuous dishing out of cards ruined the game and left supporters baffled.

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Paul Hakim returned for City with Danny Green dropping to the bench while Alex Bailey recovered from illness to slot in at right back at the expense of Darren Quinton who had to make do with a place on the bench.

Three minutes in Gary Cohen slipped the ball to Solomon Shields and the midfielder hit a shot that Matt Lovett excellently tipped over the bar.

City continued to pile pressure on their visitor's goal and only a great last ditch tackle from Marcello Fernandes denied Hakim a shot on goal.

Hampton opened the scoring in the 12th minute with their first real attack of the game. Barrie Matthews whipped the ball in from the right wing and Ian Hodges' glancing header nestled inside Paul Bastock's right hand post.

The City defence looked nervy and a long ball out from Lovett wasn't dealt with by James Quilter but thankfully Bastock was on hand to smother Craig Dundas' effort.

Hampton doubled their lead 20 minutes in as City failed to deal with a set play. Ashley Smith whipped a free kick in from the right and Dundas rose unchallenged.

City were given a lifeline when Lovett was penalised for a push on Cohen. It was a needless foul by the Beavers stopper with the ball running out of play and Cohen struggling to keep it in.

After a long delay for a Hampton player to receive treatment, Drew Roberts stepped up and fired it low to Lovett's right. The goalkeeper got a hand to it but the ball squirmed under his body and over the line, for Roberts' fourth goal of the season.

A spell of midfield battling was ended when Cohen rolled his man and fired in a shot across goal that Lovett did well to hold.

City were caught napping from a quick free kick and Lawrence Yaku was given time to fire in a shot from 20 yards that cannoned off Bastock's bar with the goalkeeper beaten. Stuart Lake's follow-up was easily held by the City goalkeeper.

City were reduced to 10 men five minutes before the break when Jamie Thurlbourne was dismissed for hauling Dundas down with the Hampton man bearing down on goal.

Some City fans felt Hampton should have been reduced to 10 men during the second half but somehow Stuart Lake remained on the pitch despite appearing to use an elbow on Luke Thurlbourne, with the young City midfielder requiring treatment to a gash above his eye.

Steve Castle was sent to the stands shortly after the hour mark for asking the referee if he was going to give anything City's way.

The second half was a dreadful spectacle, not helped by Forrester's continuous whistle blowing, and it took until the 75th minute for either team to threaten the goal with Danny Green's free kick being headed behind by Marcello Fernandes.

At the other end Yaku wriggled free of Ryan Frater but Mark Peters was on hand to tackle the Hampton forward and remove the danger.

In fact the closest City came to beating Lovett was a free kick from the halfway line taken by goalkeeper Bastock that his opposite number fumbled under the bar.

Peters tried to be City's saviour once more rising to meet Thurlbourne's cross but Lovett held the effort.

City's afternoon went from bad to worse after the final whistle after Fisher was shown a red card for foul and abusive language.

City travel to Chelmsford next weekend where they will have to do without Paul Bastock and Solomon Shields through suspension and with Jamie Thurlbourne and James Fisher also set for a spell on the sidelines City's squad is going to be pushed to its limits.

St Albans City (4-3-3): Bastock; Bailey (Green 60), Quilter, Frater, J.Thurlbourne; Shields (Peters 38), L.Thurlbourne, Fisher; Cohen, Hakim, Roberts.

Subs: Quinton, Calver, Emery.

Hampton (4-4-2): Lovett; Fernandes, Jeffrey, Scarborough, McDonald; Lake, Smith, Matthews, Tanner (Collins 73); Hodges (Yaku 26), Dundas.

Subs: Charles, Braithwaite, Tarpey.

Referee: Paul Forrester (Luton)

Att: 420

Man of the Match: Luke Thurlbourne