Toomey at the double to down Kettering Town
LEWIS Toomey struck in both halves to hand St Albans City a well deserved 2-1 victory over Kettering Town at Clarence Park on Saturday afternoon.
Going into the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division clash the City number nine had gone three matches without a goal, but his two tidy finishes secured all three points for St Albans.
The hosts shaded the first period against the division’s bottom side, there due to a 10 point deduction at the start of the season.
Kettering opened the game well with defender Ben Gerring heading off target and midfielder Jamie Griffiths forcing a stop from home keeper Nick Jupp.
Saints’ defender Moussa Diarra then sliced a clearance which allowed Warren Byerley half a chance, but he bobbled an attempt wide.
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City didn’t have a real sight of goal until the 11th minute when Ryan Watts and Sean Shields interchanged with Watts firing low and just wide of keeper Laurie Walker’s goal.
Kettering went close themselves on 14 minutes as Ryan Hervel’s right wing corner was met at the near post by Will Blazio who was unable test Jupp with his header.
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Saints’ striker Barry Hayles picked up a yellow card for trying to shrug off the attentions of Jamie Griffiths after he had held the City man’s shirt.
City youth product Matt Taylor, making his first start for the seniors, half volleyed just off target and then the 17-year-old had another attempt blocked before Saints went ahead.
A bit of creative genius by City winger Chris Henry set up the opener on 23 minutes.
He cut in from the left and played a disguised pass looking one way and feeding a delightful throughball into the box.
On it like a flash Toomey rounded the keeper and whacked the ball into the roof of the empty net.
Kettering could and probably should have levelled straight away but after hesitancy in the home defensive Hervel’s effort was blocked by skipper James Gray.
Back at the other end David Ijaha smashed just off target and Shields saw his low drive tipped round the post by Walker.
St Albans kept up the pressure at the start of the second half with a host of corners with Diarra and then Shields thwarted by Walker.
The second goal did come for the hosts and it was another well-worked one.
Taylor showed composure on the on the edge of his own box to pick out Toomey on the left flank, just inside the Kettering half.
He raced down the wing, exchanged passes with Hayles 18 yards out and tucked into the bottom right past Walker.
Jupp pulled off the save of the game on the hour mark tipping over Griffiths’ effort after bursting into the box.
A minute later Kettering thought they had pulled a goal back, but Gerring’s header from a corner was disallowed to the dismay of Gerring and Byerley who were both booked for their protests.
Toomey thought he had registered a first league hat-trick on 75 minutes when he touched home after Diarra had headed down a Richard Graham free-kick, however he was adjudged offside.
With nine minutes left Kettering pulled a goal back after Palmer blasted past Jupp after receiving the ball from Andrew Burns.
There were still plenty of scoring opportunities to come with Toomey denied by a fine Walker stop and James Gray heading a corner off target for City.
The home side could have been made to regret those misses, but they were fortunate when Griffiths side-footed wide with just Jupp to beat with five minutes left.
City should have added a third near the end as Toomey fed Hayles, but the ex-Premier League striker fired well off target from the edge of the box.
It was a comfortable win for St Albans who sit fifth in the table with 13 points from seven matches.