Saints' run comes to an end as Braintree snatch the points
Braintree Town 1 (Sean Marks 75) St Albans City 0 James Ronayne at Cressing Road ST ALBANS City s eight game unbeaten run in the league came to an end at a cold and damp Cressing Road on Saturday. For 75 minutes neither side looked like snatching all th
Braintree Town 1 (Sean Marks 75)
St Albans City 0
James Ronayne at Cressing Road
ST ALBANS City's eight game unbeaten run in the league came to an end at a cold and damp Cressing Road on Saturday. For 75 minutes neither side looked like snatching all three points but a solitary strike from Sean Marks gave managerless Braintree the points.
Paul Hakim failed to recover from injury in time to play so Bradley Gray moved into the starting line up and, with Simon Martin unavailable through illness, there was a space on the bench for Hector Mackie as well as new signing Jon Munday.
Braintree started the game brightly with Danny Hockton and Marks proving a handful for Frater and Ben Martin. Wayne O'Sullivan and Louis Riddle enjoyed plenty of space out wide but for all the home side's attacking play Paul Bastock was never tested.
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St Albans were limited to hitting their hosts on the attack and came close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute. Jonathan Hunt's corner was only cleared as far as Luke Thurlbourne on the edge of the area and his right-foot volley was tipped over by Craig Holloway.
James Fisher crossed dangerously into the Braintree box and the home defence could only clear to Adam Everitt who took a touch before volleying over the bar.
There was a rare opportunity for Braintree when Marks raced through on goal but he was denied by the onrushing Bastock
City had the last chance of the half when Braintree failed to clear once again and Thurlbourne volleyed towards goal but his shot was off target.
Straight from kick off the Saints attacked the Braintree goal. Hassan Sulaiman beat Mark Jones on the right wing and crossed towards the near post where Gary Cohen struck a shot that bounced off the woodwork and was cleared, despite protests from City that they should have been awarded a penalty for handball.
Bastock had to be on his toes to save Danny Hockton's header just three minutes after the interval.
Braintree's caretaker manager Bradley Quinton was proving unbeatable in the air and when Hunt's cross did elude Quinton, Gray volleyed high and wide.
Efforts on goal were at a premium with the few that did materialise coming from long range. Marks picked the ball up on the halfway line and ran at the Saints defence but his shot from 30 yards went wide of the goal.
Sulaiman continued to cause Jones problems and he felt he should have had a penalty when his surging run into the area ended with both players on the floor but referee Feerick waved play on.
Frater was in commanding form for St Albans at the back but disaster struck when he was forced off injured in the 73rd minute, with Munday coming on to make his league debut.
Braintree were awarded a corner in the 75th minute and with St Albans still adapting to the substitution, Marks was left free to lash the ball past Bastock from close range.
Castle immediately introduced Sam Hurrell for Sulaiman in an attempt to find an equaliser but the home side were in no mood to surrender the points.
Marks broke through the City defence once again but he slipped just as he was about to shoot and City cleared the danger.
Braintree held on for the three points as St Albans slipped to ninth in the table.
Braintree Town (4-4-2): Holloway, Burns, Burgess, Quinton, Jones, O'Sullivan (Piper 54), Hawes, Shinn, Riddle, Hockton, Marks (Williams 86). Unused Subs: Porter, Bruce, Palmer.
St Albans City (4-4-2): Bastock, Fisher, Frater (Munday 73), B.Martin, Everitt, Sulaiman (Hurrell 75), Thurlbourne, Quilter, Hunt (Mackie 83), Cohen, Gray. Unused Subs: Cousins, Palmer.
Ref: Sean Feerick (Peterborough).