Saints shot out of Shield

HOPES of progress in the Setanta Shield were dashed for St Albans City on Tuesday at Clarence Park. Manager Steve Castle took the opportunity to hand starts to Gordon Rieck and Gary Cohen

Setanta Shield

St Albans City 0 Hayes & Yeading United 1 Palmer 15

HOPES of progress in the Setanta Shield were dashed for St Albans City on Tuesday at Clarence Park.

Manager Steve Castle took the opportunity to hand starts to Gordon Rieck and Gary Cohen, with Alex Bailey also returning at right back for Lee Protheroe who was not in the squad.

Visitors Hayes & Yeading United came into the match in confident mood after six successive league wins. Former Saint Ram Marwa lined up in midfield behind impressive front pairing Stafford Palmer and Kieran Knight.

The match failed to spark early on with both sides resorting to the long ball. United broke the monotany with the first slick passing move of the game. Knight and Palmer dissected the City defence with some intricate passing before the latter slotted the ball past the stranded goalkeeper Paul Bastock for 1-0 on 15 minutes.

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City finally showed some sparkle on 18 minutes when James Fisher, playing in midfield, released Hassan Sulaiman who fed Paul Hakim and after a smart turn the striker lashed a shot over the top.

Sulaiman as ever tormented his marker with powerful running and a few tricks but could not find the delivery to unlock the United defence. The former Arsenal trainee almost bucked the trend in the 27th minute with a searing cross which just evaded Hakim and was headed behind by right back Danny Allen-Page for a corner.

Hakim had to depart with a calf problem in the 36th minute and was replaced by Simon Martin.

Defender Saroya cut out a dangerous Sulaiman cross and former Chesham United goalkeeper Delroy Preddie was out smartly to gather a superb driven ball from Jonathan Hunt with Sulaiman lurking at the back post.

In first half injury time Preddie was at his best to parry a stinging shot from Hunt with some City fans claiming the ball was over the line. The loose ball fell kindly for United to clear.

City had to make a second change at the interval with Lee Clarke replacing ankle injury victim Scott Cousins. This resulted in Fisher reverting to centre back and Rieck moving to right back with Bailey switching to left back.

Simon Martin went agonisingly close to an equaliser on 54 minutes as City stepped up the chase for an equaliser. Sulaiman's devilish ball was met with a fine header which flashed just the wrong side of the post.

Cohen saw his shot deflected into Preddie's arms and the pair clashed again when the speedy City forward picked up a header from Ben Martin. Preddie collided with the City striker who had lofted the ball forward. The referee ruled that it was not a goalscoring opportunity and booked Preddie. Hunt took the free kick and saw his venomous strike parried to safety by the United goalkeeper

The match was halted while a replacement assistant referee was sought with City substitute goalkeeper Chris Adams eventually taking the flag. City were then forced to withdraw Fisher with Lee Clarke moving back to central defence.

After all the confusion City lost momentum and Bastock had to make a fine save to palm away a spectacular strike from United substitute Scott Fitzgerald.

City substitute James Archer curled a shot high and wide and Saints were left counting the cost of defeat and the injury problems.

St Albans City: Bastock, Bailey, Cousins, Bowditch, B. Martin, Rieck, Sulaiman, Fisher, Hakim, Cohen, Hunt. Subs: S. Martin for Hakim (36), Clarke for Cousins (46), Archer for Fisher (73). Unused subs: Adams, Ridgway.

Hayes & Yeading United: Preddie, Allen-Page, Collins, Cadmore, Saroya, Marwa, Mulley, Gregory, Knight, Palmer, Scott. Subs: Fitzgerald for Knight (70), Hendry for Gregory (70), James for Cadmore (73). Unused subs: Ruby, Howe.

Referee: C. Williams (Aylesbury).

Attendance: 165.