Stroll in the Park for City
St Albans City 3 (Paul Hakim 22, Ben Martin 33, Simon Martin 77) Weston-super-Mare 0 James Ronayne at Clarence Park CITY bounced back from last Tuesday s defeat at Eastleigh to score three goals of their own as they eased past Weston-super-Mare. At time
St Albans City 3 (Paul Hakim 22, Ben Martin 33, Simon Martin 77)
James Ronayne at Clarence Park
CITY bounced back from last Tuesday's defeat at Eastleigh to score three goals of their own as they eased past Weston-super-Mare.
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At times City served up the type of football that the fans and management have craved, playing with pace, power and precision.
Steve Castle freshened the team up recalling Paul Bastock, Ryan Frater, Jonathan Hunt, Hector Mackie and Simon Martin.
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Weston themselves were forced into changes, with eleven first team players currently on the sidelines with injury. Their cause wasn't helped when they lost both of their centre halves, Craig Rand and Tom Evans, during the second half after they'd collected knocks.
The game was lively from the off and Weston were lucky not to have been reduced to 10 men with just four minutes on the clock when Ben Wiltshire, the visitor's last man, fouled Hunt but referee Andrew Parker deemed that the challenge wasn't worthy of a card.
Weston posed a threat going forward and tested the returning Bastock on a number of occasions. Bastock held Marc McGregor's free kick and then the visitors had the ball in the net but Scott Partridge saw his goal ruled out for offside.
City broke the deadlock with 22 minutes gone. Hassan Sulaiman, so often criticised for his final ball, played in a measured cross that Paul Hakim headed home for his 18th goal of the campaign.
Sulaiman delivered another pin-point cross that Hakim was unlucky not to connect with and then Adam Everitt scoped the ball over the bar after Ben Martin had knocked down Hunt's corner.
Another Hunt corner, found Fisher outside the box and although the midfielder's volley was wayward, Ben Martin's quick reactions saw the defender stoop to double City's advantage.
Weston went in search of a goal but McGregor's wild volley went high and wide.
Solomon Shields, playing his last game for the club before returning to Leyton Orient, was twice denied by Ryan Northmore in the Weston goal.
First the midfielder broke from deep and rounded the stopper only for Northmore to recover and collect Shields' cross.
Then some quick thinking saw Shields released in the Weston box but Northmore produced a fine save low down to prevent the 19-year old from signing off with a goal.
Castle introduced Gary Cohen for Hakim at half time, and the substitute made an immediate impact.
Mackie ran the length of the pitch following a Weston attack and when his cross found Cohen, the former Grimsby man rolled his marker and slotted home. Unfortunately for City, referee Parker deemed that Cohen had fouled his man and disallowed the strike.
Cohen's pace was causing real disruption in the Weston backline and Wiltshire was required to hack the ball away from goal after Cohen had got to the by line and played the ball across the face of goal.
Ben Wells looked the most likely to score for Weston seeing his 30 yard effort held by Bastock and having another shot smash off the bar.
City wrapped the game up with 13 minutes remaining when Simon Martin rose highest to head home Hunt's corner at the near post.
City, clearly enjoying the glorious sunshine, went in search of a fourth but with Cohen and Mackie both denied by Weston they had to be satisfied with just the three.
This was a fine performance from City and one that showed that they can play some really good football. There's still areas to be worked on but there is plenty for Castle and Andy Edwards to work on and they'll take heart from several fine individual performances.
St Albans City (4-4-2): Bastock; Sulaiman (Bailey 67), B.Martin, Frater, Everitt; Hunt, Fisher (Mortimer 62), Shields, Mackie; S.Martin, Hakim (Cohen 46). Subs not used: Quilter, Butcher.
Weston-super-Mare (4-4-2): Northmore; Kite, Rand (Clark 75), Evans (Groves 54), Wiltshire; Bartlett, Harris, McGregor (Holgate 54), Wells; Brown, Partridge. Subs not used: Armstrong, Purnell.
Referee: Andrew Parker (Stanford-le-Hope)