Saints pick up first win

ST ALBANS CITY recorded their first win of the season at home to Hungerford Town on Monday evening, in a game which saw the home side fail to truly enter top gear at any real point.

The newly promoted visitors began the game as the stronger side, and could easily have scored two goals within the first seven minutes of the game. With just four minutes on the clock, the ball fell to Hungerford’s Brown, who blasted the ball over the York Road End goal, when it would have been easier to score, and just two minutes later, Taylor hit a speculative half-volley, which flew agonisingly close to Bastock’s left hand post, but failed to hit the back of the net, as it sailed just wide.

Despite the energetic start from the Crusaders, City started to find a way back into the game. In the 20th minute, Frendo ran onto a through ball, rounded the goalkeeper, but could not find his footing, and stumbled without managing to get a shot off.

However, the break-through came 12 minutes later, when midfielder Chris O’Leary headed home Goss’s corner past a stranded Strudley.

The home side came out after the interval the stronger side, and looked like they did not want to lose another one goal lead for the second time in two days. Hungerford failed to put the Saints under any real pressure, and allowed them to achieve plenty of time on the ball. Frendo showed exactly what he was capable of in the 58th minute, as he hit a powerful, swerving effort from the edge of the box which Strudley turned away for a corner superbly.

Although Hungerford introduced the dangerous O’Brien, the Saints got the second goal they deserved in the 63rd minute, as Goss ran at the Crusaders defence, before switching the ball inside, and firing a right-footed effort which beat the goalkeeper and sneaked into the corner of the net.

O’Leary came close to getting his second of the game in the 71st minute, receiving the ball 25 yards out, and unleashing a powerful effort which the goalkeeper did well to palm away. With a number of substitutions from both sides, the final quarter of the game was played at a slower pace, as the Saints saw out their first three points of the season in relative ease.

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There is no doubt that City management duo James Gray and Graham Golds will be pleased with the first win of the season, after the performance against Poole on Saturday, and will be looking for an even better result when Banbury United are the visitors to Clarence Park on Saturday afternoon.

Saints starting line-up: Bastock; Hall; Chappell; O’Leary; Martin; Locke; Tajbakhsh; Comley; Frendo; Ashe; Goss . Saints Subs: Ngoyi; Henry; Keenleyside; Wharton; Graham.

Hungerford Town starting line-up: Strudley; Morgan; Broadman; Day; Rees; Clark; Taylor; Brown; Grace-Parons; Herring. Hungerford subs: Goodyer; Raycott; O’Brien; Stow; Crockford.