Saints off the mark with impressive win
St Albans City 2 Worcester City 0 City kick-started their season with a deserved two-goal win against Worcester City, gaining some revenge for the two defeats by an identical scoreline last season. Two second half strikes by Drew Roberts and Danny Green
St Albans City 2 Worcester City 0
City kick-started their season with a deserved two-goal win against Worcester City, gaining some revenge for the two defeats by an identical scoreline last season.
Two second half strikes by Drew Roberts and Danny Green, their first goals for the club, secured the three points.
Even before the match started, a glance at the embryonic league table showed the Saints in bottom place after Saturday's defeat at Dorchester.
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The misplaced optimism of manager Steve Castle probably meant that changes would be made for this match even before Adam Everitt was rightly sent off for an awful tackle against Dorchester on Saturday.
Both managers made two changes from their sides which lost their opening games. For the Saints Danny Green made way for Drew Roberts and Paul Hakim, available for midweek games only due to work commitments, replaced Jamie O'Donaghue.
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From the outset the changes seemed to make little difference. Neither side settled and the entire first period was a scrappy affair.
Paul Bastock in the St Albans goal didn't touch the ball for 10 minutes and it wasn't until midway trough the half that Solomon Shields managed the home side's first strike on goal when his 25-yard effort flew wide.
But the Saints were having the majority of the possession and had two presentable chances before the break.
Not long after referee Ian Rathbone had turned down a reasonable penalty appeal after Luke Thurlbourne had been barged down by Gary Walker, the Worcester centre-back, Wayne Daniel, denied Gary Cohen with a timely interception. Then just after the half hour Paul Hakim shimmied his way along the by-line but was denied by a scrambled save by Richard Mace at his near post.
At the other end, Aaron Moses-Garvey screwed a shot wide and, on the break, Daniel again denied Hakim. A corner count of 7-0 to the Saints told its own story.
Richard Dryden kept his team in the dressing room at half-timed for longer than usual. They swapped Marco Adaggio for Jordan Fitzpatrick at the start and immediately the tempo of the game changed.
Worcester set the pace and won a succession of corners whilst Walker tried but failed to get past Ryan Frater at the heart of the Saints defence.
Chances were limited but just before the hour Drew Roberts let fly a left-footed strike that beat Mace all ends up.
Cohen was the next to appeal for a penalty as the Worcester skipper, Tom Kemp, leaned on him in penalty area, but the referee remained uninterested.
With the margin so slim, Saints looked fragile as the game opened up.
Six minutes from time Martin Butler collided with Everitt in the penalty area but the referee showed consistency and turned down Worchester's energetic appeals. Three minutes later City settled the outcome.
Three minutes from time Danny Green came on for the tired Hakim and, within a minute, found the space to lash a 25 yarder past Mace, who scarcely moved.
Steve Castle was dissatisfied with his side's possession in the last third of the pitch but was delighted with the three points.
At the whistle he was audibly impressed at the loudspeaker scoreline of Weymouth 0, Eastleigh 5. Eastleigh are the visitors to Clarence Park this Saturday, a contest at which City need more fans to lend their support.
St Albans City: Bastock, Bailey, Frater, Quilter, Everitt, Shields (Quinton 65), R Thurlbourne, Fisher, Hakim (Green 87), Cohen, Roberts. Subs not used: Chillingworth, Peters, J Thurlbourne.
Worcester City: Mace, Daniel, Kemp, Clyde, Ward (Spencer 76), Fitzpatrick (Adaggio 45), Elvins, Walker, Khan, Butler, Moses-Garvey. Subs not used: Dinsmore, Bridges, Heeley
Referee: Ian Rathbone (Northampton)