Saints thrashed by rampant Barwell

Charley hat-trick sets up Barwell win

Southern Premier Division

St Albans City 1 Barwell 6

WHILE the cast of Snow White arrived at Clarence Park to spread some Christmas cheer amongst St Albans City fans a Kev Charley-inspired Barwell ensured they filed out at full-time grumpy rather than happy.

The Saints’ cause wasn’t helped by Michael Harriman’s 29th minute dismissal for hauling down Charley in the penalty area but their biggest concern will be the ease with which the visitors were able to prize open their defence.

By the time Harriman was sent for an early bath Charley had already opened his account for the afternoon adding the finishing touch after Jamie Towers had wandered unchallenged into the City box and teed up his strike partner.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Saints who had actually enjoyed the upper hand in the opening quarter of an hour during which only a splendid save from goalkeeper Liam Castle had denied them an early lead.

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From a Barwell corner, Ryan Watts found David Ijaha deep in the City half and the former captain embarked on a powerful burst that took him all the way to the edge of the Barwell box. With just a defender and Castle to beat the former Harrow Borough man opened up his body and bent a delightful effort towards the top corner of the net but Castle was equal to it springing high to his left to divert the ball over the bar.

That was as close as either side had come until Charley’s 18th minute opener and that goal visibly deflated the hosts allowing Barwell to enjoy their best spell of the first half. Jai Stanley volleyed just over the top from 25 yards before City’s task was made all the harder when Harriman was adjudged to have tripped Charley inside the penalty area. Despite the City protests that Charley was offside, Harriman was shown a red card by referee Wade Norcott and Towers dispatched the penalty past Nick Jupp.

The visitors were certainly one of the more accomplished and eye catching sides to have visited Clarence Park this season but their third goal, just three minutes later, was classic route one. Goalkeeper Castle thumped the ball long towards Towers at the Hatfield Road end and again the wide man was given all the time in the world to pick out Charley at the far post who did brilliantly to head the ball back across goal and inside Jupp’s upright.

Stunned by the way they had been blown aside in just 14 minutes City responded with Tobi Jinadu trying his luck from distance but Castle was able to push it over the bar.

Charley could have sealed his hat-trick before half-time volleying wide of the target from a corner before City were offered a glimmer of light with a penalty of their own.

Jerome Walker had looked lively all afternoon and when his mazy run was ended by Scott Hadland referee Norcott had no hesitation in awarding his second spot kick of the afternoon which Watts converted with no dramas.

Captain Rob Haworth was withdrawn just before half-time to be replaced by Simon Martin who had returned to the club two days prior and he almost made an immediate impact as City started the second half in determined fashion.

With just a minute of the second period played the striker went on a mazy run that started close to halfway and ended with Martin slipping the ball into the path of Watts who really should have given Castle no chance with his effort. As it was the ‘keeper was able to push it behind and from the resulting corner Jinadu couldn’t engineer a clear sight of goal seeing his shot blocked.

City continued to lay siege to the Barwell goal and were very nearly given a helping hand in their quest when Pete Saunders turned Ijaha’s cross towards his own goal but Castle was on hand to spare the defender’s blushes.

The goalkeeper was beaten for a second time shortly after though when Ryan Moran turned Watts’ free kick into James Gray’s path but the midfielder’s effort flew past Castle and over the bar from close range.

Any hopes City had of rescuing a point from the encounter were washed away by a fourth goal for the visitors on the hour mark.

Stanley pumped a ball up the left wing to Luke Barlone, looking suspiciously offside, who was allowed to continue unhindered into the City penalty area and thread the ball past Jupp and inside the far side netting from the acutest of angles to effectively end the contest.

All that was left was for Charley to complete his hat-trick, something he should have done with 18 minutes left when he turned and fired goalwards, only for the offside Barlone to give it a helping hand over the line which resulted in the goal being chalked off.

It was only a temporary set-back for Charley who completed his treble 14 minutes from time and in doing so bought up 150 goals for the Leicestershire club. Towers was again given the freedom of the park on City’s left flank to pick out Charley who volleyed home with aplomb. It was the striker’s last contribution as he was immediately withdrawn but Barwell didn’t stop there with replacement Scott Rickards stinging the palms of Jupp with a free kick before goal number six materialised two minutes from time when Towers powerfully drove the ball past Jupp after being set free by Rickards.

St Albans City: Jupp; Harriman, Jinadu, Moran (Lansiquot 81), Scott (Barnard 46); Hart, Gray, Ijaha, Watts; Haworth � (S. Martin 39), Walker.

Subs not used: Bakare, Matthews.

Barwell: Castle; Saunders (Lower 77), Rowley, Daly, Sanders, Towers, Hadland � (Julien 67), Stanley, Green; Barlone, Charley (Rickards 70).

Subs not used: Bains, Blenkinsopp.

Referee: Wade Norcott (Harlow)

Att: 324