National League South: St Albans involved in another five-goal game but nothing to celebrate against Hampton & Richmond Borough
PUBLISHED: 21:47 14 August 2018
Copyright - Leigh Page 2018
Yet again St Albans City were involved in a five-goal game but this time they were on the wrong end of a 3-2 score as they lost at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough.
They had taken the lead through Ben Wyatt but Rhys Murrell-Williamson, on his return to Clarence Park, and Casey Maclaren put the visitors ahead.
Sam Merson levelled minutes after coming on but Chris Dickson grabbed what turned out to be the winner on 66 minutes.
Ben Herd’s suspension, picked up for two yellows at Woking, meant he sat this one out, his place on the right of the pitch taken by Khale Da Costa, while Tarik Moore-Azille replaced James Sage in the centre of defence.
And after featuring in over 250 minutes in the opening three games, David Noble was also missing, replaced in midfield by Percy Kiangebeni.
Saints have developed a reputation already this year of being the entertainers with seven goals in three games and an average of over four goals per game.
And five again would have had some calling it a thriller.
It was anything but.
The first-half was not close to being the best with neither side showing enough.
City had got their noses in front on 19 minutes, however, and it owed a lot to Khale Da Costa.
He motored down the right and the cross he put in was enough to cause Tom Lovelock problems and after he flapped at it, Wyatt stuck it into the empty net.
They had a great chance to make it two moments later but after David Moyo had pulled it across goal, Da Costa’s shot was deflected inches wide.
And with chances at a premium it would prove to be costly as out of nothing Murrell-Williamson came back to bite the hand that fed him last year, drilling it into the bottom corner after the ball squirmed to him from a tackle.
But there wasn’t much else to keep the 585 crowd entertained. The second half, however, made up for that although again it had little to do with sparkling football.
And it won’t be one that will please Saints fans or management.
There could be no complaint about the goal which put Hampton ahead, a stunning overhead kick by Maclaren arrowing into the top corner, the one place Dean Snedker couldn’t reach.
An injury to goalscorer Wyatt didn’t help either and forced a change to 4-3-3.
That said within two minutes of coming on Merson had scored from the penalty spot, awarded after Ralston Gabriel was bundled over.
And Saints almost turned it round when Moyo got onto the end of a Zane Banton free-kick but his thunderous header rattled the crossbar.
It was probably still shaking when Hampton retook the lead a minute later.
A great cross from the left found Dickson ghosting in and he nodded home from six yards.
Saints were still playing three up front and threw Roman Michael-Percil and Richard Sho-Silva, making his first appearance, to try and fashion an equaliser.
Too many times though they gave the ball away cheaply and it meant a lack of chances to equalise.
In fact Hampton were the ones who could increased their lead and their win, the first of the season, was greeted with big cheers from the travelling support.
For Saints there is much to do.
St Albans City: Snedker, Da Costa (Michael-Percil 82), Bender, Kiangebeni, H.Joseph, Moore-Azille (Sho-Silva 82), Wyatt (Merson 57), Sambou, Gabriel, Moyo, Banton.
Subs (not used): Sage, Bonfield
Goals: Wyatt 19, Merson (pen) 59
Hampton: Lovelock, Miller-Rodney, Sprague, Wellard, Bray, Corcoran, Z.Joseph (Mavilla 86), Maclaren, Dundas, Dickson (Bowry 90+4), Murrell-Williamson (Uchechi 68).
Subs (not used): Eggleton, Burns
Goals: Murrell-Williamson 33, Maclaren 48, Dickson 66
HT: St Albans City 1 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1
Referee: Dean Hulme (Blyth)