St Albans ‘much sharper’ in final third

Simon Thomas has a shot saved by Kai McKenzie-Lyle. Picture: Leigh Page

Simon Thomas has a shot saved by Kai McKenzie-Lyle. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

Thomas and Malcolm score first goals of pre-season

St Albans City looked much sharper in the final third in tonight’s 3-2 loss to Barnet, according to joint manager James Gray.

Simon Thomas rocketed a shot past Kai McKenzie-Lyle, Barnet’s goalkeeper, to open the Saints’ pre-season account in their fourth friendly of the season. Michael Malcolm, who set up Thomas’ goal, then netted a goal of the utmost class, rolling the ball into the bottom corner after Luke Allen made a run down the right.

Thomas could have had a hat-trick but McKenzie-Lyle tipped his header onto the post and then, minutes later, he failed to get a solid contact on a corner. Allen also had a fierce drive tipped over.

All in all, it was a much-improved performance going forward for the Saints.

“I did ask the boys to be more creative because they’re getting closer to fitness and defensively we’re looking alright,” said Gray.

“After the Watford game and the clean sheet at Boreham Wood, I told the boys that our defence would take care of itself and we need to try to score goals at the other end. I thought [Sam Corcoran], Allen, Lewis Hilliard and the front two looked really sharp.”

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The Saints first-half line-up was especially strong and it showed the potential for the upcoming season. The management team changed the entire outfield in the second half, leading to a disjointed display as Barnet came from a goal behind to win 3-2.

“I thought the first -half display was right up there,” said Gray.

“I don’t take too much from second half - is what it is. We changed a lot of players and had lads who haven’t done a [training] session. We could have scored a couple - some lads need to be sharper - but that’s how it is at this time of year.”

He added: “Overall it was a good workout and everyone is another 45 minutes closer to where we need to be.”