Saints show promotion aspirations with three points at Cambridge

David Keenleyside, centre, scored twice for St Albans City against Cambridge City. Picture: Bob Walk

David Keenleyside, centre, scored twice for St Albans City against Cambridge City. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

St Albans City made it two months without defeat in the league on Wednesday evening, when they came out as 3-0 winners against fourth placed Cambridge City at Histon United’s Bridge Road Stadium.

Managers James Gray and Graham Gold’s had a number of selection issues before the game, with at least five first team player’s getting stuck in traffic, and as a result not being able to get to the ground until 7:30. However, the signing of defender Tom Ward just a few hours before the game gave the management some good news. Ward joins from Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity on an initial one-month loan, and went straight into the team to face Cambridge.

The Saints controlled the early exchanges, but were fortunate not to fall behind with just six minutes gone on the clock. The hosts won a corner, and a well-floated in ball found the head of Beech, who got good contact on it, but he was denied by Marwa clearing it off of the line.

The opening goal of the contest came in the twentieth minute. Chappell delivered into the box and saw his delivery met by Cambridge’s Luke Allen, but the defender failed to get real distance on his header, and the ball fell to David Keenleyside, who took a touch before calmly placing his effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Keenleyside, who was given a free role by James Gray and Graham Gold’s for the evening, was the main attacking force for the Saints for the majority of the first half, and almost doubled his sides’ lead with almost half an hour gone when he ran into the box and reached the byline, but he saw his effort cleared away for a corner.

The Lillywhite’s, despite not looking like the team which had defeated St Albans 1-0 at Clarence Park in September, did have an opportunity to equalise in the 38th minute. Ram Marwa lost the ball in the middle of the pitch to the dangerous Adam Marriott, and the attacker ran into the St Albans box, but rather than pass the ball across the area to an open team-mate, Marriott attempted to twist and turn past Kaloczi and Ward, before unleashing an effort which Bastock gathered up easily.

However, the visitor’s lead was doubled just three minutes later. A series of passes ended in the tireless Danny Green spraying the ball out wide to Chris Watters, he delivered a perfect cross which found the head of Keenleyside, who ghosted into the box and headed the ball past Barrett to double both his tally for the evening, and also his team’s.

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Gary Roberts’ men came out after half-time looking like the brighter side, as they searched for a way back into the game. A Cambridge attack ended in a scramble in the St Albans area, and a number of player’s had attempted efforts on goal, including one from Marriott, before the ball was again cleared off of the line, this time by Howard Hall.

Marriott, who scored the only goal between the two-sides during the clash at Clarence Park in September, and looked dangerous throughout this match, tested Bastock in the 75th minute with an effort which the shot-stopper just about turned away.

The third and final goal of the afternoon came with 13 minutes of normal time remaining at Bridge Road. Frendo found himself on the edge of the box with the ball, and he played it out wide to Watters, who, like with the second goal of the evening, delivered the ball into the area. The cross was met by Cambridge’s James Brighton, but, under pressure from Greg Ngoyi, could only manage to knock the ball into his own net to add more misery to an already poor Cambridge City performance.

There was one last flicker for The Lillywhite’s in injury time, when Josh Dawkins controlled on the edge of the area before turning, but he could only manage to hit the ball powerfully over Bastock’s goal, with what was more or less the final kick of the game.

It was a perfect result for the Saints, and they will be looking to continue their good run of form on Saturday, when they visit St Neots. Kick-off at Rowley Park Stadium is 3pm.

Cambridge City starting line-up: Barrett; Pepper; Brighton; Lawton; Chaffey; Allen; Burns; Beech; Marriott; Beasant; Dawkins. Cambridge City Subs: Farrell; Ramm; Ordonez.

Saints starting line-up: Bastock; Hall; Chappell; Marwa; Kaloczi; Ward; Keenleyside; Green; Frendo; Bailey; Watters. Saints Subs: Henry; Comley; Graham; Nwokeji; Ngoyi.