Theophanous marks his St Albans City debut with a goal
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City secured their second win of pre-season, as they overcame neighbours Hitchin Town with a 2-0 win at Top Field on Thursday evening.
The Saints went into the game on the back of a draw with Biggleswade Town on Tuesday, and were looking to go one better against their county rivals.
New arrival Louie Theophanous went straight into the starting eleven, partnering Billy Medlock upfront, while there was also a new face in the form of trialist Billy Gibson, previously with Watford, Yeovil and Cambridge United, who started in midfield for City.
It was Hitchin who started the game the brighter of the two sides, and forward Jamie Arlick had an early sight of goal for the home team, but he put his header wide of the far post.
Hilliard, looking to continue the form which saw him score twice against Waltham Abbey, went close in the 13th minute, as he forced a save from Charlie Horlock, who palmed the winger’s low effort away.
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In the 28th minute came a flash point which suggested the fixture was not as friendly as was billed. Billy Medlock challenged with Canaries captain Alasan Ann, resulting in both falling to the floor and tangling legs, before Ann appeared to kick-out towards the City forward.
The referee was left with no choice but to send the defender off; a rather bizarre sight in pre-season.
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The Saints quickly took advantage of their extra man, and found themselves 1-0 up just five minutes later. Lee Chappell delivered in a corner which James Comley headed into the goal mouth, and Medlock was on hand to turn it home from less than a yard out.
That lead was doubled within three minutes, when a ball was played through into the path of Theophanous, who took a touch before finishing from the edge of the area with a curved right footed effort, which appeared to go through the goalkeeper’s arms.
The second half began with a number of late tackles from both sides going unpunished, with Chappell eventually being forced off with a knock just before the hour mark, who was replaced by Danny Green.
Theophanous went looking for his second of the evening, and unleashed an ambitious strike from an incredibly tight angle, which Horlock got a hand to. Tom Coulton, who came on for Joe Welch mid-way through the second half, was called upon just once, when he had to make a routine save from Jonny McNamara.
Hitchin, who are looking to build upon their ninth place finish in the Evo-Stik Southern premier last season, slowly took a grasp on the game, and controlled large spells of possession during the closing stages, but they failed to really threaten the City defence.
It was a routine victory for the Saints, who play their final pre-season fixture on Saturday afternoon at Clarence Park, when National League side Woking are the visitors. Kick-off is 3pm.
St Albans City: J. Welch (T. Coulton 65); J. Kyriacou; L. Chappell (D. Green 55); S. Corcoran; B. Martin (Bola 63); D. Locke; B. Gibson; J. Comley (J. Green); L. Theophanous (Malcolm 63); B. Medlock (K. Bishop 63); L. Hilliard.