Vital victory for St Albans City over fellow strugglers Margate

Harry Crawford makes it 2-0

Harry Crawford makes it 2-0 - Credit: Archant

Managerless St Albans City claimed a 3-0 Vanarama National League South victory over Margate this afternoon [Saturday] after second half goals from strike duo Louie Theophanous, Harry Crawford and a wonderful Sam Corcoran effort at Clarence Park.

Saints keeper Joe Welch saves a penalty

Saints keeper Joe Welch saves a penalty - Credit: Archant

With caretaker manager Harry Wheeler in charge, following last weekend’s resignation of joint-bosses Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds, the Saints, second bottom of the table at the start of the day, secured only their fourth league win of the season and completed the double over Margate.

The visitors started the brighter of the two sides in the gusty conditions.

Livewire striker Freddie Ladapo went close twice in two minutes, after quarter of an hour he did well to work his way across the edge of the City box before firing straight at City keeper Joe Welch.

Moments later he got on the end of a cross from the right, however guided his attempt well over.

Louie Theophanous celebrates

Louie Theophanous celebrates - Credit: Archant

St Albans had to wait until 22 minutes for their first chance as Billy Gibson’s right-wing free-kick found diving skipper Lee Chappell at the far post who saw his header go just too high.

Former Saints winger Sean Shields was a box of tricks on the Margate left, and the Ebbsfleet United loanee shot at Welch before winning a penalty as his cross hit the arm of full-back Ben Nunn.

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Ladapo’s spot-kick though was well-saved by Welch diving low to his right to keep his side on level terms.

That crucial moment clearly gave the hosts a boost.

At the other end Theophanous brought a stop from Nikki Bull, Corocoran shot wide and then Comley was denied by the now busier Bull as the half came to a close.

After the break Shields had a goalbound effort deflected off target, before the hosts’ two-goal burst came.

From the left Billy Gibson clipped a ball into Theophanous, he turned his man before drilling a shot across goal and into the far corner past keeper Bull on 56 minutes.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 as Gibson picked out Theophanous again and he turned provider squaring for Harry Crawford to tuck home.

With themselves two ahead the hosts never looked like conceding and only wayward efforts from Matthew Johnson and Kane Wills were forthcoming.

With a minute to go, the goal of the game arrived as midfielder Corcoran was given space to carry the ball from his own half, after a couple of step-overs he shot from 25 yards over Bull and in off the crossbar to wrap up a vital victory for City.

The three points keep St Albans second bottom, but with other results going their way they are only two points from safety.

St Albans City: Welch, Nunn, Bender, Corcoran, Martin, Locke, Chappell (c), Comley, Theophanous, Crawford (Edwards, (Krans), Gibson (Meade).

Subs: Krans, Allen, Meade, Thomas.

Referee: Matthew Buonassisi.