Slideshow: Frater points City in the right direction
St Albans City 0 Newport County 0 ST Albans City had to be content with a point at home to promotion hopefuls Newport County on Saturday at Clarence Park. For Saints to take the battle for Blue Square South survival to the final weeks of the campaign the
St Albans City 0 Newport County 0
ST Albans City had to be content with a point at home to promotion hopefuls Newport County on Saturday at Clarence Park.
For Saints to take the battle for Blue Square South survival to the final weeks of the campaign they will need to continue building on the commitment and effort that characterised a diligent and determined display.
Caretaker boss Steve Castle is hopeful of soon adding impressive looking striker Wasiu Akanni Sunday to his squad and also a former Premier League footballer to bring experience.
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On Saturday Castle unleashed tenacious teenager Luke Thurlbourne signed on a four week work experience deal from Southend United. Lee Clarke returned from suspension in attack alongside Simon Martin, ready to seal a permanent transfer back to Saints. Midfielder Paul Bruce was also back from his five match ban while Dean Cracknell (illness) and Hasim Deen (injury) missed out.
Saints stood tall at the back with rock solid Newport striker Jermaine Clarke offering a tough physical test. Experienced former Birmingham City winger Jason Bowen did his best to add spark to the contest but City with centre back Ryan Frater in imperious form, were up to the task. Midfielder Thurlbourne relished the battle and neither side conceded any ground in the battle for the points.
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City goalkeeper Nick Eyre had little to do with giants Frater and Ben Martin largely in control in defence. Bowen headed powerfully over the top when he did get free in the first half and in the second period County striker Charlie Griffen somehow spooned the ball up in the air with the goal at his mercy.
County goalkeeper Glyn Thompson had to make smart saves to deny Clarke and Simon Martin when one goal would surely have settled the contest in favour of The Saints.
After the game, Castle once again hailed the work rate of his side and is hoping that more of the same with that extra bit of quality added to the squad will lead to a charge for safety. Castle is continuing efforts to land Sunday who is awaiting confirmation of his work permit and international clearance. The City boss also confirmed he is looking to add a player believed to be an ex-Premier League footballer formerly with Derby County and Sheffield United.
Saints are back in action on Saturday when they travel to title chasers Eastbourne Borough. Welling United recorded a spectacular 3-0 win at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday, their first points since November, to leave Castle's men four points from the safety zone.