St Albans City boost survival hopes with shock but comfortable victory at Bath City
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City secured an important three points in their battle to beat the drop in National League South with a brilliant 3-0 win away to high-flying Bath City.
It was a repeat of the score in the same fixture last season and while on that occasion Bath could have felt somewhat unlucky, they can have no complaints with this result at Twerton Park.
Solomon Nwabuokei put them ahead before Joe Iaciofano doubled the lead before half-time.
Zane Banton finished things off in the 70th minute.
Ian Allinson made a number of changes from the side that lost to Welling United, although one was enforced after James Kaloczi picked up an injury during the week.
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Those changes meant that City lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Tom Bender joining David Longe-King in the heart of defence, while Dave Diedhiou lined up in a defensive midfield position.
The signs were positive early on as the Saints established themselves against a side that had not lost on home soil in the league since the August bank holiday.
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Banton was inches away from opening the scoring in the 11th minute after latching onto a loose ball deep in the home half. The attacking midfielder burst into the box and rounded Bath goalkeeper Ryan Clarke but with the angle tightening quickly he saw his strike crash off the post.
Bath's Adam Mann was presented with the home side's first opening of the game when he met Alex Hartridge's cross from the left and sent a header over the bar from eight yards out.
The deadlock was broken two minutes later when Iaciofano combined with Banton on the edge of the box before the latter teed the ball perfectly into the path of Nwabuokei who calmly swept a right-footed effort from 20-yards past Clarke and into the bottom corner of the net.
Mann looked to be Bath's only outlet during the opening half an hour and went close when he found space 25 yards out at the angle and struck a vicious drive that sailed just wide of Dean Snedker's far post.
The Saints, however, needn't have worried as they doubled their lead courtesy of a superb solo effort.
An attack from the hosts was halted on the edge of the City box and the ball was cleared to Iaciofano five yards inside his own half.
The 21-year-old turned a Bath man and burst over the half-way line before dinking the ball past two defenders and working it into the box where he took aim and rifled it in off the post.
Another dangerous delivery into the area looked to have presented Frankie Artus with a great opportunity to reduce the deficit, only for the home fans to see the unmarked midfielder send his header high and wide.
The hosts searched for an immediate response after the break but Connor Riley-Lowe's heavily deflected strike that sailed into the arms of Snedker was as close as they came.
The expected pressure from Bath didn't materialise and it was the Saints who scored the third and final goal of the game.
The visitors, who had been imperious at the back all afternoon, won the ball back and put together a 13-pass move in the home half before Rohdell Gordon slipped the ball through for Banton who smartly curled the ball past Clarke at his near post.
Bath continued to struggle to find a footing in the game and the closest they came to a consolation was Ryan Brunt's wild volley from corner of the box that sailed well off target.
Ian Allinson used the final few minutes as an opportunity to give minutes to Antonis Vasiliou and Harry Forster and the fresh legs of both helped pin the home side in their own half during the dying embers of the game.
The victory sees the Saints move up to 19th in the Vanarama National League South, two points above Tonbridge Angels who sit second from bottom.