Royston Town no match for St Albans City’s Sol
Two goals from Danny Hart and a Man of the Match performance from Sol Shields help City to 2-0 win
Royston Town 0 St Albans City 2
DAVID Howell oversaw his first win in charge of St Albans City as two Danny Hart goals saw the Saints overcome Royston Town.
While it was Hart that grabbed all the glory in the goalscoring stakes it was Sol Shields who impressed with a dominant display in the middle of the park. The former Leyton Orient youngster was back in the form he displayed when he first arrived at Clarence Park on loan from the Os, bursting from box-to-box and dictating the play alongside the energetic Marvin Alebiosu.
Despite Howell fielding a side with more new trialists there was a familiarity about the Saints’ play that allowed them to demonstrate an attractive passing game on the excellent Garden Walk surface.
The game was just three minutes old when Hart opened his account for the night, the former Harrow Borough man taking advantage after Crows’ goalkeeper Jorden Gibson spilled trialists Sakho Bakare’s effort leaving Hart to head into an unguarded net.
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Royston did fashion a couple of good chances of their own but Ryan Lockett was unable to connect properly with Tom Malins’ excellent low cross, slicing his shot high and wide of trialist Kwame Fordah’s goal.
The City goalkeeper had a fairly quiet night but there was one nervy moment from the former Lewes youngster in the first half when he spilled a cross from the right but fortunately for the stopper Royston were unable to make him pay.
City should have doubled their lead just two minutes after the restart when former Hampton & Richmond striker Lawrence Yaku teed up Bakare inside the penalty area but the French striker screwed his shot wide under pressure from Royston’s John McGrandles and Jason Beck.
The second period was disrupted by a flurry of substitutions but Shields’ class shone through and he remained at the heart of everything City put together. It was the 21-year-old who won the free kick that led to City’s second goal when his powerful burst from the middle of the park was bought to a halt right on the edge of the penalty area. Some felt a penalty should have been awarded but Hart’s excellent low free kick beat both the wall and Gibson to nestle in the bottom right hand corner and make that discussion irrelevant.
Former Boreham Wood man Elliot Braithwaite enjoyed a good first outing in City colours with a commanding display at centre half and when former Barnet man Reece Yorke departed the action just after the hour mark Braithwaite took the captain’s armband.
Royston’s best chance of the second half fell to the busy Malins but he could only volley wide of the target after City had only half cleared a corner.
The game also provided Howell with his first look at Rob Magwood, fresh from his holidays, with the midfielder given 30 minutes at Garden Walk adding to the manager’s plentiful options in the middle of the park.
All managers claim results in pre-season don’t matter – and they are right they don’t – but a first clean sheet and a first victory of the summer certainly won’t do any harm in terms of confidence as the opening day of the new league season draws ever closer.
Royston Town: Gibson; Whittaker, Beck, McGrandles, Fehmi; Lockett, Edwards, Martin Standen, Malins; Matt Standen, O’Brien.
St Albans City: Fordah, Frempong (Chaves 67), Braithwaite, Yorke � (Lyon 62), Dedman;
Ehui (Mohammed 62), Alebiosu (Magwood 62), Sol Shields, Hart (Walker 67); Yaku (Asombang 52), Bakare (Fry 62).
Referee: Carl Henry.