Weakened Saints well beaten
Harlow Town 4 (Ricci Crace 3, St Albans City 2 (Solomon Shields 74, James Fisher 90) A WEAKENED St Albans City side had a night to forget as they were well beaten by Ryman Division One side Harlow Town. The Saints were missing Ryan Frater and Drew Rober
Harlow Town 4 (Ricci Crace 3, Joe Stevens 50, Clark Akers 56p, John Frendo 67)
St Albans City 2 (Solomon Shields 74, James Fisher 90)
A WEAKENED St Albans City side had a night to forget as they were well beaten by Ryman Division One side Harlow Town.
The Saints were missing Ryan Frater and Drew Roberts through illness, the injured duo of Adam Everitt and Jonathan Hunt and Gary Cohen and Alex Bailey who were unavailable.
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One bright note for the handful of City fans that made the trip to Barrows Farm was the sight of substitute Solomon Shields in a City shirt once more.
City's FA Cup exit at the same venue last season saw the Clarence Park outfit conceded inside 37 seconds and this time they managed to hang on for another two minutes 23 seconds before going behind.
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John Frendo outmuscled Julio Barnes before slipping the ball to strike partner Ricci Crace who kept his composure to lift the ball over the advancing Bastock and into the net.
The traffic was all one way in the first half as Harlow launched attack after attack.
On City's sporadic forays into the Harlow half trialist Jamie Donoughue looked lively. The former Brimsdown Rovers forward latched on to a Luke Thurlbourne pass and forced Harlow stopper Anthony Anstead to push the ball over the bar for a corner.
Frendo was getting the better of Barnes throughout the first half and when he'd got the better of his marker in the 21st minute he was left with only Bastock to beat but the City keeper did well to smother the danger.
City's best chance of the first half came midway through the period. Former Harlow winger Danny Green hooked the ball into the box for Darren Quinton who flicked the ball on to Effiong who was only denied a goal by a superb reflex save from Anstead.
With half an hour on the clock Harlow thought they'd made it 2-0. Frendo again worked his way into the box before curling a shot past Bastock only to see the effort crash off the post and land in the arms of the 'keeper.
Shields was introduced at half-time alongside Ronnie Jones and Ben Nunn, a full back who was previously with Cambridge City.
The hosts made it 2-0 five minutes into the second period when Joe Stevens steered the ball into the corner of the net following Emmanuel Osei's cut back.
It was soon became 3-0 with the goal coming from the penalty spot. A poor back pass from Jamie Thurlbourne was pounced upon by the Harlow attacker and Bastock could only bring his opponent down. Clark Akers made no mistake from the spot sending Bastock the wrong way.
Manager Steve Castle made the unusual decision to bring his assistant, and centre half, Mark Peters on in attack and the 37-year-old showed he could do a job up top.
The former Kings Lynn man caused the Hawks defence, which now included former Saint Jon Stevenson, all number of problems, but not before Frendo had turned and fired home to make it 4-0 in the 67th minute.
Peters was involved in the Saints first goal of the match knocking down a left wing cross for Shields who stabbed home from 10 yards.
City kept probing the Hawks defence but failed to really test their goalkeeper until the last minute when Fisher curled a wonderful shot home from the edge of the box.
It was a night to forget for this inexperienced City side and they'll be looking to put it right next week when City face five games in five days.
Harlow Town (4-4-2): Anstead (46); Clemo, Blower, Walton, Bardle; Wheeler, Ramshaw, Akers, Stevens; Frendo, Crace. Subs: Stevenson, Bruno, Beckles, Osei, Querry.
St Albans City (4-4-2): Bastock; Knock (Nunn 46), Barnes (Jones 46), Quilter, J.Thurlbourne; Quinton (Kane 58), L.Thurlbourne (Mortimer 66), Fisher, Green (Shields 46); Donoghue, Effiong (Peters 66)