Saints run riot in first pre-season win
- Credit: Archant
The Saints secured their first victory of pre-season on Saturday afternoon, as they cruised past Waltham Abbey with a 6-2 victory at Cappershots stadium.
City, eager to fill their shooting boots, started the game brightly, and had the first attempt on goal with less than a minute gone, when summer arrival Lewis Hilliard played it into captain Lee Chappell, who could only send his strike well over while stretching to get an effort away.
Hilliard, putting in his best performance since arriving at the club, went close in the 18th minute mark. He received the ball from Danny Green before he seeing his low first-time strike palmed away by the Waltham Abbey goalkeeper.
With quarter of the game gone, Sam Corcoran was forced off, with Gray saying after the match that the midfielder had picked up some blisters which had not healed in time for the fixture, and caused him a number of issues.
City took the lead in the 34th minute through Hilliard, as he scored his first goal for the club. Again, he combined with Chappell before turning inside an Abbey defender and sweeping the ball from the edge of the box into the far corner past an outstretched goalkeeper.
However, the home side found an equaliser a minute later. A quick free-kick was taken by the home side, which was played towards Matthew Attard, who looped a header over the stranded Joe Welch.
The goalscoring continued at a pace, and the Saints found themselves in the lead just three minutes later as a ball over the home defence fell to Michael Malcolm, and he slotted the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper.
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St Albans strengthened their position further in added time. A series of passes between Hilliard, Danny Green and Malcolm eventually saw the forward play the ball across the face of goal, where Connor Calcutt was on hand to nod the ball home from a yard out.
The home side made a wrath of changes during the break, while the Saints continued with the same side which had started the game.
Those changes added an extra dimension to the Abbey attack, and they narrowed the deficit just after the hour mark. A ball straight over the middle of the City defence fell kindly for Darelle Russel, who fired low to Welch’s right.
City made four changes in the 64th minute, as new signing Ben Martin replaced Darren Locke, Howard Hall replaced John Kyriacou on the right of defence, Rod Young came on for the exciting Jack Green, and Simon Thomas returned following an absence to take the place of goalscorer Michael Malcolm.
These changes added some legs to a City side which had begun to look tired, and just four minutes later, Hilliard grabbed his second of the afternoon, with what was almost a carbon copy of his first. Calcutt, attacking down the left, saw his run blocked before playing the ball into the patch of Hilliard, who, this time with his left foot, lined the strike up and curled it round the goalkeeper into the far corner.
Calcutt soon scored his second, and City’s fifth of the afternoon. Substitute Rod Young had his effort blocked in the Abbey area, but a stroke of luck saw the ball bounce into the feet of Calcutt, who powered it home with a calmness and ease which has been missing for the Saints during most of pre-season.
With both sides tiring, and the game becoming more stretched, City completed the scoring in the final minute. Lee Chappell, attacking down the left once again, squared the ball to trialist Young, who swept the ball home into an empty goal.
It was a good run out for the Saints, who will be pleased to have grabbed their first win of pre-season. They’ll be hoping that their goalscoring form continues with the trip to Biggleswade Town on Tuesday night.
St Albans City: J.Welch; J.Kyriacou (H.Hall 63); L.Chappell; S.Corcoran (S.Wales 26); J.Comley; D.Locke (B.Martin 63); J.Green (R.Young 63); D.Green; C.Calcutt; M.Malcolm (S.Thomas 63); L.Hilliard.