Saints record second win of the season

Palmer, Everitt and Peter on target in win over Staines

St Albans City 3

Staines Town 1

WHAT a difference a week makes. Just seven days after their dismal 3-1 defeat to Lewes, St Albans City turned in a much improved performance to record only their second win of the season on home soil.

It must be said that the Staines players looked like they would rather have been getting in some early Christmas shopping with the wags but that shouldn’t take away from a City side who played with verve and confidence.

Much of that was down to the impact of 18-year-old debutant Ollie Palmer up front. The striker, who joined on a month’s loan from Blue Square Bet South rivals Woking on Friday, took just 10 minutes to open his account in a City shirt and held the ball up manfully alongside the energetic Chris Benjamin.

City started on the front foot with David Hutton and Harry Beautyman combining on the edge of the Staines box only for the on-loan Leyton Orient man to lift his effort over the bar.

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Paul Bastock’s first action came seven minutes in when he got down well to foil Marc Charles-Smith at his near post after the Staines man had raced past both Ben Martin and Ryan Frater.

Beautyman went close again with a curling effort that arched narrowly wide of Louie Wells’ far post before City broke the deadlock with a well worked goal from Palmer.

The striker picked the ball up just outside the Staines penalty area before beating two men and curling the ball confidently past Wells from 10 yards.

Staines passed up a good opportunity to claw themselves level soon after when Leroy Griffiths’ cross was deflected into Richard Butler’s path but the former Saint completely missed the ball allowing Ryan Frater to boot the ball clear.

Bastock, fresh from collecting the October Player of the Month award, was at his best to deny Charles-Smith, pushing the forward’s effort wide of his far post after the Staines man had outmuscled Dave Deeney out on the left wing.

With 10 minutes to go to the interval City grabbed the second goal their dominance deserved. Benjamin and Hector Mackie combined out on the right and the former Bath City man took a touch before dinking the ball into the path of the marauding Adam Everitt who headed past Wells from close range for his second goal in as many games.

The Saints had been 2-0 up at half-time at Wheatsheaf Park when the two sides last met only to be pegged back to 2-2 by full-time but the Saints weren’t about to let that happen a second time.

Their cause was helped just eight minutes into the second period when Staines were reduced to 10 men. Andre Scarlett was the man sent for an early bath after the winger had pushed Pete Smith in the face in full view of referee Adam Fielding.

To City’s credit they didn’t take their foot off the gas but they did have to wait until the 76th minute for their third goal of the afternoon.

Hutton’s corner was missed by everyone at the near post but substitute Mark Peters made no mistake, shinning the ball past Wells and into the back of the net via the right hand post.

A lovely move involving Mackie and Deeney created an opening for Palmer to double his tally but the young forward shot straight at Wells as City looked to heap further misery on their visitors.

Hutton went close with what looked like a harmless cross but Wells kept the ball out after initially spilling it on his goalline.

The only blemish on the afternoon for City was the consolation goal Elliot Onochie was gifted with a little over 10 minutes remaining. The Swans’ substitute found himself in some space behind the City defence and calmly dinked the ball over the diving Bastock and into the back of the net.

Sean Shields replaced Benjamin late on but still had time to leave his mark on the game. The youngster turned his marker excellently inside the area but was foiled by an excellent save by Wells at the ‘keeper’s near post.

The victory has set up a tie with Dorchester Town in the First Round, on December 11, and also provided City with �4,000 in prize money.

City: Bastock, Deeney, Smith, Everitt, B Martin, Frater (Peters), Hutton, Beautyman (A Martin), Ollie Palmer, Benjamin (Se Shields), Mackie.

Subs not used: Dedman, Magwood.

Staines: Wells; Jackson, Sterling (Steer), Gordon �, Ifura, Scarlett, Mingle, Brown, Griffiths (Onochie), Butler (Harris), Charles-Smith.

Subs not used: Walcott, Orlu.

Referee: Adam Fielding (Deddington).

Att: 249.