St Albans City return to winning ways by beating Hitchin

TWO first half goals proved enough for St Albans City to nip their two league game losing streak in the bud with a well-deserved 2-0 win at Hitchin Town.

Excellent efforts from Barry Hayles and Chris Henry secured all three points.

It was not the first time Hayles had netted at Top Field, 18 years ago he scored for Stevenage against The Canaries.

The hosts had the best of the early possession and went close from a left hand corner on five minutes as Dean Gilbert headed Callum Donnelly’s cross wide at the far post.

However, with The Saints’ first real chance Ex-Fulham man Barry Hayles showed real class to open the scoring on seven minutes.

Inside the 18 yard box the former Premier League star controlled a long free-kick pumped into the area by Moussa Diarra.

He switched the ball from right foot to left and smashed home in off the left hand post.

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Hitchin forced their second corner on 13 minutes, again Donnelly swung it to the far post, this time Jack Beckett connected but nodded straight to keeper Nick Hardy.

Lewis Toomey, looking to get back among the goals after a game without one, shot left of goal after being teed up by Shields.

Saints looked for a second and Ryan Watts crossed from his left wing and James Gray, playing in midfield, headed well over.

City did double their advantage in spectacular fashion.

Chris Henry, recalled to the side after a groin injury ruled out Richard Graham, picked up the ball in the middle of the park with one thing on his mind.

He strode forward and blasted the ball into the top left corner from fully 25 yards giving keeper Martin Bennett no chance.

With the bit between their teeth City created further opportunities with Gray and Toomey heading off target.

Sean Shields fired low and just wide of goal then a minute later after drive was saved on the deck by Bennett.

Hitchin’s best effort on goal came at the end of the first 45 minutes as left back Kyle Lincoln drove forward and hit a swirling attempt just over the top left hand corner.

The best of the game was played out in the opening half, after the break St Albans were comfortable as Hitchin struggled to create any clear openings.

Striker John Frendo curled a 30-yard free-kick off target for Hitchin and Donnelly scuffed a 25-yard effort wide before the hour mark.

Layne Eadie came on to make his league debut for The Saints slotting in at left-back for Ryan Watts who was suffering from a tight hamstring.

Much of the second half was uninspiring for the spectators, but for The Saints the job was done in the first half.

Hitchin had another Frendo free-kick deflected over, had it gone in it would have seen a grandstand finish, as it was it was too high and City saw out the game.