Sutton send Saints packing

James Comley scored for St Albans City in their 2-1 loss at Sutton United. Picture: Bob Walkley

James Comley scored for St Albans City in their 2-1 loss at Sutton United. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

A first half deflected strike from St Albans City captain James Comley was not enough to secure the Saints’ first points at Gander Green Lane since the 2007/2008 season.

The Saints, looking to make amends after conceding against local rivals Hemel Hempstead in 89th minute on Boxing Day, started the game brightly, as they made the most of a tough start for the home side.

Sutton were forced into making two substitutions before the 25th minute mark, as both Kevin Amankwaah, and Jamie White were forced off with injuries which they picked up while off the ball.

The opening goal came with less than half an hour gone. Comley picked the ball up on the edge of the Sutton area, and took a touch allowing himself some room to get a shot away. The midfielder’s shot looked destined for the goalkeeper’s arms until it struck a backtracking defender, causing the ball to spin away from the stranded Tom Lovelock, who despite his best effort, could not prevent the ball from trickling over the line.

That goal seemed to give the home side the wakeup call that many of the fans in the stands were calling for, and Sutton could have been on level terms with a minute. Joe Welch, one of City’s stand out performers so far this term, was called upon to make a diving save high to his right, before a follow up shot from United captain Charlie Clough was cleared off of the line.

Clough, who was constantly causing trouble up front, should have levelled things up on the stroke of half time. An excellent run from the dangerous looking Matthew Sanders ended with a dinked ball being played through to Clough, who somehow managed to hit his strike out of the ground from less than 5 yards out.

Sutton came out after interval clearly boosted by their attacking play, and it wasn’t long until they were on level terms. A mistake from City defender Darren Locke allowed the ball to be played through to substitute Billy Medlock, who had just Welch to beat, and made no mistake as he found the back of the net, via the post, with his shot

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Welch was called upon again on the hour mark, as he was required to make a low diving save to keep out Craig Dundas’ first time effort.

The hosts eventually took a deserved lead in the 66th minute. A through ball unleashed Charlie Clough, who made up for his earlier miss, and found the bottom corner with a strike from 20 yards out.

The Saints almost received a lifeline five minutes later, when a set-piece fell to defender Ian Gayle inside the Sutton area, who struck an effort which looked destined for the net, but it was somehow hacked clear off of the line.

Sutton, however, had no trouble holding out for the final quarter of an hour, and in the process picked up their first win in eight league games.

City meanwhile, must regroup ahead of the New Years Day derby with Hemel Hempstead Town. Kick-off at Vauxhall Road is 1pm.

Sutton United: T. Lovelock, H. Osbourne, C. Hart, K. Amankwaah (C. Dundas 14), S. Cooper, C. Clough ©, J. Evans, G. Southam, J. White (B. Medlock 24), B. Gomis, D. Wishart.

St Albans City: J. Welch, J. Kyriacou, L. Chappell, O. Beckles, D. Locke (H. Hall 69), I. Gayle, N. Green, J. Comley © (J. Green 82), D. Keenleyside (D. Green 69), S. Corcoran, C. Lancaster.