Sigere goal gives City first win of the season
Three off as City sink Havant & Waterlooville
Havant & Waterlooville 0
St Albans City 1 (Jean-Michel Sigere 61)
JEAN-MICHEL Sigere scored his first goal for St Albans City to bring an end to the club’s long winless streak with the single goal victory giving Steve Castle’s side their first three points of the season.
The French striker struck just after the hour mark, robbing Havant skipper Ian Simpemba before coolly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Aaron Howe.
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The goal came from City’s only shot on target but that did not mean it was an undeserved three points.
Paul Bastock was largely untroubled in the Saints’ goal mainly thanks to a fantastic rearguard, marshalled by skipper Ryan Frater and Man of the Match Mark Peters.
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Peters belied his 38 years with a magnificent performance that nullified the threat of Havant’s rated front pairing of Mustafa Tiryaki and Manny Williams.
Williams’ afternoon ended early with a horrific hack at James Fisher that earned the striker a second yellow card, but such was the nature of the tackle he should feel grateful to referee Ian Crouch for not showing him a straight red.
Williams’ dismissal wasn’t the first time in the clash that referee Crouch’s red card had made an appearance. The New Eltham based whistle blower had little choice but to issue a straight red to City’s Adam Everitt and Havant captain Bobby Hopkinson after Everitt retaliated to a dangerous tackle from the Havant man.
The late second half action was out of character in a match that had failed to spark in the opening hour, with both defences coming out on top.
The home side had the best of the opening chances but Tiryaki crashed an effort into the side netting and Hopkinson headed Sammy Igoe’s cross wide.
Bastock then did well to keep out Hopkinson’s low drive despite a nasty deflection off of Frater with Williams offside from the rebound.
Rob Magwood failed to make it past half time after taking a heavy knock on his ankle and being replaced by Adam Martin.
The sub went closest for the visitors in first half stoppage time but his half volley flashed wide of the post.
City looked better after the break and started to create more half chances. The best of these fell to Drew Roberts but the striker, who had been recalled to the side for the match, mistimed his volley and it sailed harmlessly wide.
The game burst into life in the 57th minute with the first of the dismissals. Everitt, who had been excellent up to that point, received the ball in the left back position but as he got rid of the ball Hopkinson lunged in and caught the City man. Everitt retaliated by pulling Hopkinson up by his hair and referee Crouch quickly reached into his pocket to dish out the red card to both players.
City to their credit knuckled down and just four minutes later had what proved to be the winning goal.
Simpemba dallied on the ball 30 yards out and Sigere nipped in to steal it before racing clear and confidently beating Howe.
Now it was down to the defence to keep out their hosts, a challenge they achieved manfully.
The Hawks bombarded the City box with crosses but everytime Peters was on hand to head clear the danger.
City had their hearts in their mouths when Wes Fogden raced into the box, went down and referee Crouch blew his whistle but the official gave City the free kick and booked Fogden for diving.
The home side should have equalised when substitute Harvey Whyte picked out top-scorer Fogden at the far post but he drilled his shot across goal and wide.
Havant were growing frustrated by their failure to get the better of City and Williams picked up his first booking for swinging what looked like an elbow in the direction of Peters. The striker was lucky to escape a red for the incident but still managed to get in the showers ahead of his teammates for his later misdemeanour.
City should have wrapped up all three points deep into the six minutes added time but substitute Inih Effiong tried to go on his own instead of rolling the ball to the unmarked James Fisher and wasted the chance.
Fisher ended the afternoon in a heap on the floor after Williams’ dreadful hack which resulted in the Havant man’s second yellow card as City held on for the win.
Havant: Howe; Newton, Simpemba, Pearce, Hinshelwood (Whyte 71); Igoe, Selley (Ramsey 89), Hopkinson, Fogden; Tiryaki, Williams.
Subs not used: Woodford, Sewell, Molloy.
St Albans City: Bastock; Deeney, Peters, Frater, Everitt; Sulaiman, Magwood (A Martin 45), Fisher, Smith; Roberts (R Martin 76), Sigere (Effiong 86).
Subs not used: Shields, Dedman.
Referee: Ian Crouch