Roberts double sees off Spitfires
St Albans City 2 (Drew Roberts 45+4p, 81p) Eastleigh 1 (Shaun McAuley 65) James Ronayne at Clarence Park TWO goals, both penalties, from Drew Roberts ensured St Albans City maintained their 100 percent home record with a good win over a fancied Eastleig
St Albans City 2 (Drew Roberts 45+4p, 81p)
Eastleigh 1 (Shaun McAuley 65)
James Ronayne at Clarence Park
TWO goals, both penalties, from Drew Roberts ensured St Albans City maintained their 100 percent home record with a good win over a fancied Eastleigh side.
It was an encouraging performance from Steve Castle's side and despite Roberts walking away with the sponsor's Man of the Match award, it was the performance of two other players that caught the eye.
Danny Green looks like he could be a shrewd acquisition by Steve Castle. The 19-year-old has plenty of flair and pace to match and after netting his first goal for the club against Worcester during the week was rewarded with a recall to the starting XI in place of the absent Paul Hakim. The former Harlow man grabbed the chance with both hands with a performance that had the visiting defence worried whenever he was on the ball.
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However the result could have been a whole lot different if it weren't for the performance of Paul Bastock.
The experienced keeper pulled off a number of fine saves none better than a stop he produced to deny Eastleigh captain Danny Smith just before half-time that would have given the Spitfires the lead. The performance of the stopper, who turned 39 during the close-season, showed why he is one of the most respected goalkeepers in Non League football.
The first half was an even affair with both sides creating openings. Spitfires skipper Smith robbed Luke Thurlbourne in the Eastleigh half and was allowed to run through the city midfield before unleashing a low shot that Bastock did well to turn around the post.
At the other end a long free kick by Quilter found Gary Cohen and only a fine parry over the bar by Jason Matthews stopped the City striker from opening the scoring.
Just before the quarter of an hour mark a cross by Alex Bailey was punched out by Matthews to Adam Everitt and the City full back's shot was deflected behind by Aaron Martin for a corner.
Green went on a jinking run slipping the ball to Solomon Shields on the edge of the box but instead of Shields pulling the trigger he tried to slip the ball back to Green and Eastleigh were able to clear for a corner.
A spell of pressure by the Spitfires presented captain Smith with an opportunity but Bastock easily held the former Bognor man's effort.
Bastock was in action shortly after getting down well to keep out Shaun McAuley's shot from the edge of the box.
Bastock produced his moment of brilliance seven minutes before half time. McAuley wriggled free in the box and slid a low pass to Smith but the midfielder was denied by a great reaction save from Bastock who tipped the shot round the post.
City broke the deadlock in first half injury time from the penalty spot.
Fisher fed Roberts in the left hand channel and as he entered the box he went down under pressure from Steve Clark with referee Quelch pointing to the spot. Roberts dusted himself down to send the goalkeeper the wrong way via the post.
A good spell by City after the break resulted in a free kick on the edge of the box but Fisher blazed the set play over the bar.
City were unlucky not to concede a penalty of their own just after the hour mark when a free kick bounced up and hit Alex Bailey on the arm but the referee was unmoved.
City nearly doubled their lead in the 65th minute. Cohen did well to ride a challenge before slipping the ball to Fisher and although the midfielder's 25 yard shot beat Matthews it crashed back off the post.
Eastleigh drew level a minute later when McAuley was given space in the box and he needed no second invite to crash the ball past Bastock.
A Green free kick was headed narrowly wide of his own post by Clark as City looked to hit back immediately.
City deservedly regained the lead 11 minutes from time again from the penalty spot.
Cohen's persistence saw him skip into the box before being brought down by Martin. Roberts took the penalty again and for the second time sent the keeper the wrong way.
Eastleigh pushed for an equaliser and Bastock had to be alert to deny Taggart after the winger rose highest to reach a Poate cross but City held on for all three points.
St Albans City (4-4-3): Bastock; Bailey, Frater, Quilter (Peters 45+1), Everitt; Shields (Quinton 87), L.Thurlbourne, Fisher; Roberts, Cohen (Chillingworth 82), Green.
Subs: Chillingworth, J.Thurlbourne, O'Donoghue.
Eastleigh (4-4-2): Matthews; Clark, Jordan, Martin, Poate; McAuley, Adeniyi, Smith, Taggart; Williams (Gillespie 62), Forbes.
Subs: Goodhind, Challis, Oliver, Howells.
Referee: Adrian Quelch (Reading).
Man of the Match: Danny Green (St Albans City)