Super Saints sink United
St Albans City 2 Hayes & Yeading United 0 PAUL Bruce curled home a sublime free kick as St Albans City beat Hayes & Yeading United on Easter Monday to make it four wins and a draw from five league games. Saints were unchanged from the starting XI that took to the field at Thurrock.
PAUL Bruce curled home a sublime free kick as St Albans City beat Hayes & Yeading United on Easter Monday to make it four wins and a draw from five league games.
Saints were unchanged from the starting XI that took to the field at Thurrock. Right back James Fisher was fit to play despite going off early on Saturday but his replacement, Hasim Deen was ruled out with an ankle injury picked up at Thurrock.
Visitors Hayes & Yeading included former City midfielder Ram Marwa but were missing former Lazio goalkeeper Alessio De Angelis and veteran Delroy Preddie with teenager Adam Thompson taking the number one jersey. Striker Josh Scott was fit enough to return to the bench after missing recent games.
City were first to threaten with experienced centre back Nevin Saroya forced to hack the ball away for a corner after a cross from Hassan Sulaiman. Left back Scott Cousins then clipped a fine ball forward to striker Paul Hakim who surged clear only to run the ball wide of the post with goalkeeper Thompson off his line quickly. Hakim, then had the first effort on target when he rose to glance a header straight at Thompson from another cross by Cousins.
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Sulaiman won a third corner for the impressive Saints with a good run and the opening goal followed in the 15th minute. Paul Bruce saw his near post kick cleared to defender Ben Martin. The big centre back hooked the ball back into the box and a driven shot from Sunday was diverted into the corner of the net via a flick off midfielder Lee Clarke. Both players claimed the goal and although Sunday led the celebrations, Clarke's touch was decisive.
The visitors chased an equaliser and only a superb sliding challenge from Ben Martin prevented Saroya getting a shot away at the back post following a Liam Collins corner kick. City responded and a low strike from skipper Bruce flashed just wide at the other end.
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The Hayes & Yeading defence were constantly struggling to handle the menacing Hakim who used his pace to good avail until he was tackled fiercely three times in quick succession and had to leave the field. Former Hayes & Yeading player Simon Martin replaced Hakim with 38 minutes gone and City had to change the style of their attacks. A measured long pass from Bruce teed up Ben Martin, up from defence, who scuffed his volley at goalkeeper Thompson.
City wasted a great chance to double the lead in injury time before the interval, when Bruce whipped in a superb free kick and Sunday crashed a powerful header wide of the near post.
Defenders Fisher and Ryan Frater made important interventions early in the second half as the visitors threatened. From a corner Ben Martin was beaten in the air and a glancing header from substitute Scott flashed just wide of Paul Bastock's left post.
Saints went close to a second on 63 minutes when Clarke chipped the ball through to Simon Martin who took his shot early and fired just over the cross bar.
Striker Martin was through again minutes later when he took a long ball from Frater only for the United defence to recover and after Martin checked inside he was crowded out.
In the 70th minute Bruce flashed a free kick just wide of Thompson's left post as suddenly the match sparked back into life. Simon Martin looked set to surge clear of the defence until he was hauled back by midfielder Steve Perkins. Referee Stuart Burt awarded a free kick 19 yards out and red carded the culprit. Bruce stepped up in the 73rd minute and hit a sensational left foot free kick into the top corner with Thompson rooted to his starting position.
With Fisher, Bruce and the outstanding Ben Martin in dominant form, Saints played out the rest of the contest with their commanding 2-0 lead rarely threatened. Ben Martin executed an excellent sliding challenge to deny Scott and in the 90th minute a sweetly struck 35 yard free kick from Saroya was tipped around the post by City goalkeeper Paul Bastock.