St Albans City lose home opener to Oxford City

Lewis Hilliard stretching the Oxford defence. Picture: Leigh Page

Lewis Hilliard stretching the Oxford defence. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

St Albans City are still looking for their first win of the National League South season after losing 3-1 to Oxford City at Clarence Park.

Ander Del Alamo scored the winning goal in the second half after Louie Theophanous had taken all of two minutes to cancel out Kynan Isaac’s 21st minute opener. Bradley Bubb scored the third with the last kick of the game.

It was a goal of the utmost class from Theophanous, and City will be hoping for a lot more of the same from the summer signing.

In truth, Oxford deserved the victory. They were excellent in possession and could have scored three or four if not for some excellent blocks and last-ditch defending. There were positive signs for St Albans, but their failings in the final third from Saturday still lingered.

The Saints made one change to Saturday’s starting line-up, with Lewis Hilliard replacing Simon Thomas, and they started very brightly as they took the game to Oxford. Theophanous had the first sight of goal but it was blocked before it could worry Laurie Walker in the Oxford goal.

Joe Welch was not so lucky and had to be at his best to survive a scare in the ninth minute when Oxford had three efforts at goal, all of which were hacked clear.

It started a period of outright dominance from the visitors, with every player showing an incredible amount of poise and comfort on the ball. The pressure turned into a 21st minute goal when Bradley Bubb picked up Scott Thomas’ poor clearance and rolled it into Kynan Isaac’s path. He made no mistake.

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The lead lasted only two minutes as Theophanous opened his account for St Albans. Fellow summer signing Hilliard collected the ball on the left and played a clever ball inside to Theophanous, who wrong-footed the goalkeeper to level the game.

The half petered out after the excitement and the teams went into the break level at 1-1.

Oxford brought a free-kick straight from the training ground in the 50th minute and nearly re-took the lead. Del Alamo played it short to Lee Henderson who flicked it out wide to Darren Pond. He flashed a ball across the face of goal for Bradley Bubb who, with only Welch to beat, looped his shot onto the bar.

The Saints were equally as guilty for missing a gilt-edged chance. Corcoran played an inch perfect through ball to Hilliard who tried to run across the defenders and lost it when he should have made a bee-line for goal.

Oxford re-took the lead through Del Alamo. It was really unlucky for Welch who seconds earlier made a great reaction save. The ball fell to Del Alamo who, with his back to goal, flicked it over his shoulder and into the net.

Joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds threw caution to the wind in the last 15 minutes as they went in search of an equaliser. Strikers Billy Medlock and Simon Thomas were introduced, as well as Jack Green. The moves didn’t pay off as Oxford continued to pose the bigger threat and got out of Clarence Park with a 3-1 win after Bubb netted a late goal.


St Albans City: Welch, Kyriacou, Chappell, Martin, Comley, Locke, Thomas, Corcoran (J Green 70), Theophanous, Hilliard (Thomas 63), Allen (Medlock 75). Subs: Longe-King, Coulton.

Oxford City: Walker, Coulson, Lapoujade, Del Alamo, Henderson, Santiago, Isaac, Pond, Bubb, Lafuente (Fleet 59), Picarre (Lawrence 70). Subs: Benjamin, Arzamendi, Hill.

Attendance 481