Super Saints blast Basingstoke
Blue Square South St Albans City 4 Basingstoke Town 1 ST Albans City made it seven goals scored and only one conceded in two games as the Blue Square South survival bid gathered pace at Clarence Park against Basingstoke Town. Goalkeeper Paul Bastock made
Blue Square South
St Albans City 4 Basingstoke Town 1
ST Albans City made it seven goals scored and only one conceded in two games as the Blue Square South survival bid gathered pace at Clarence Park against Basingstoke Town.
Goalkeeper Paul Bastock made his first home appearance since returning from Rushden & Diamonds in goal. Impressive right back James Fisher was missing due to an ankle injury and manager Steve Castle switched Hasim Deen back to with Lee Clarke called into the side in midfield.
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Basingstoke Town, depleted by three departures prior to the game, could only include three substitutes in their squad.
The visitors threatened first from a corner in the fourth minute when the experienced former Woking forward James Taylor rose unmarked in the box but planted his header narrowly over the cross bar.
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The powerful Wasiu Akanni Sunday was first to breach the Stoke defence when he picked up a long throw from Deen and crashed a dangerous ball across the box which evaded the City attackers.
Basingstoke defender Tom Bird cleared off the line as City upped the intensity. Hakim expertly allowed the ball to run through to Paul Bruce on the left who drilled the ball into the box which Bird somehow blocked away ahead of the prowling Clarke and Hassan Sulaiman was unable to force the loose ball home.
Bastock showed all his experience and quality when called upon, albeit rarely in the opening period. The City defence was largely in control although Deen picked up a harsh booking for a lunge which made little contact.
Bruce set his sights with a free kick curled just wide of the near post before the midfielder combined superbly with Scott Cousins and saw his dangerous cross strike the upper arm of Basingstoke defender Jason Bristow who went down awkwardly in the box. The referee pointed to the spot immediately despite protestations from the visitors. Bruce stepped up and confidently sent Town goalkeeper Nick Jones the wrong way firing to the goalkeeper's right on 22 minutes for 1-0.
Hakim wasted a glorious chance to double the lead when the excellent Clarke slid a perfect ball through the Town defence. Jones emerged off his line and Hakim's tame low shot was easy pickings for the Town number one.
At the other end Bastock was called into action twice to protect the lead before the break. The City legend comfortably held a strike from Town midfielder Tyron Smith and denied Michael Charles as he palmed out a poor back header from Ryan Frater. The ball bounced to the edge of the box and the alert Bastock charged out to hack clear with Taylor lurking.
City almost profited in the 42nd minute when Sulaiman showed a superb turn of pace to surge between David Tarpey and Tom Bird and then cut the ball back for Bruce to thump goalwards what looked like a certain second. Somehow Town skipper Joe Dolan got back to head the ball spectacularly clear.
Any hopes of a result for the visitors were extinguished as City made an explosive start to the second half. The superb Sulaiman fed Hakim who controlled well and then thumped a searing shot into the bottom corner from 16 yards, giving Jones no chance.
Sulaiman teased the opposition again on 52 minutes when he surged forward and pulled the ball back. Hakim executed a perfect dummy and Clarke fired his shot just the wrong side of Jones' left post.
City got a deserved third in the 55th minute when Cousins, Clarke and Hakim combined for a controlled passing move. The ball was manoeuvred into the box where Sulaiman's deflected shot fell invitingly for the menacing Sunday to crash a left foot strike into the net.
Basingstoke replied with a goal three minutes later when Smith hit a good free kick into the box and Taylor planted a fine header into the corner giving Bastock no chance.
The response from Steve Castle's was immediate as combative midfielder Luke Thurlbourne drove into the box and exchanged passes with Hakim only to see Jones divert his shot wide for a corner kick.
City forced two further corners before on 60 minutes Bruce hit a short kick to Sulaiman, took the reverse pass and then from the right flank planted a spectacular swirling cross-shot high into the far corner of the net on 60 minutes for 4-1.
Defender Ryan Frater had the final two efforts for City thumping a header against the top of the cross bar after a fine ball in from Scott Cousins on 75 minutes, and firing at Jones with a long range free kick.