Woking too strong for City

Two second half goals sink City

Blue Square Bet South

Woking 2 St Albans City 0

TWO second half goals condemned St Albans City to their third defeat in five games.

City had matched their hosts for the opening 50 minutes but the opening goal, a deflected Moses Ademola cross that beat Paul Bastock, took the wind out of City’s sails.

The defeat leaves City firmly rooted to the foot of the Blue Square Bet South table and still 11 points from safety. However if that objective is to be achieved they will have to address their alarming lack of quality in the final third.

Steve Castle made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Hampton & Richmond on Saturday giving a debut to 17-year-old Jake Reeves – another work experience player from Brentford – and starting with Dom Petrucci in place of Adam Martin and Inih Effiong.

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Having been knocked out of the FA Trophy by Zamaretto Premier Division side Salisbury City, Woking shot out of the blocks looking to make amends. Elvis Hammond latched onto a long ball into the box but blazed over the bar and captain Mark Ricketts was guilty of a dreadful mis-kick after Ademola had picked the midfielder out on the edge of the box.

The home side continued to apply pressure to the City defence but they were unable to call Bastock into action.

Garry Hill’s side worked the ball across the face of the City goal but Rob Magwood threw himself in front of Ricky Anane’s shot and Aswad Thomas fired over from the rebound.

Magwood impressed at Hampton on Saturday and he continued in the same vein at Kingfield. A surging run from Ricketts into the penalty area had the potential to cause Bastock some problems but Magwood tracked back and executed a perfect slide tackle to disposes the Woking man.

With Woking on top City were forced to look to the counter-attack for chances. James Fisher lobbed the ball into the box for Petrucci who beat the defender to the cross but the ball didn’t fall kindly for the striker to get a shot away and the home side cleared.

City’s best chance of the evening fell to young striker Kyle Vassell, who received Fisher’s pass and turned his marker but Adam Doyle recovered to block the striker’s shot.

City’s plans were disrupted when Vassell was forced off with a thigh injury just before half-time meaning an early introduction for Effiong.

The club’s top scorer came close to adding to his tally when he picked up Sean Shields’ pass into the penalty area and spun on a sixpence but the striker’s effort drifted just over the crossbar.

The 19-year-old made a lively start to the second half forcing his way into the Woking penalty area down the right hand side but his shot was blocked and so too was Shields’ from the follow-up.

From the resulting corner Shields found Adam Everitt at the near post but the defender couldn’t quite get over the ball and his header zipped over the bar.

The telling blow came six minutes after the restart when Ademola’s cross somehow found its way past Bastock.

The striker collected the ball in the left channel and played the ball into the box. The cross nicked off Dave Deeney and then clipped Bastock’s leg as it squirmed over the line and into the back of the net to give the home side the advantage.

City looked to get back into the game but struggled to make inroads against Woking’s experienced midfield duo.

Fisher did manage to beat two tackles and get a long distance shot away but it drifted well wide of Andy Little’s goal.

Former Saint Sam Hurrell went close to netting against his former team-mates but he could only direct Joe McNerney’s superb cross over Bastock’s goal.

Saints boss Steve Castle displayed his displeasure with Effiong’s showing by withdrawing the striker after only 26 minutes on the pitch and replacing him with Mark Peters.

Woking introduced former City loan-star Ollie Palmer with 20 minutes left and the striker was only denied a goal by the fingertips of Bastock. Ademola back-heeled the ball into the path of the young striker and his low curling effort looked destined for the bottom corner until Bastock stuck out a paw to divert it wide.

The second goal came 12 minutes from time when Kieran Murtagh burst past a tiring City midfield to latch onto Anane’s pass and beat Bastock from the edge of the penalty area.

The on-loan Wycombe Wanderers man went close to doubling his personal tally late on, dancing past two City defenders but he dragged his shot across goal and wide.

Again City couldn’t be faulted for their commitment but their struggle to create chances, let alone goals, is seriously hindering their bid for safety.

Woking: Little; Noel, McNerney, Doyle, Thomas; Anane, Murtagh, Ricketts �, Hurrell (Palmer 68); Ademola, Hammond (Faulconbridge 82).

Subs not used: Inns, Maledon, Peglar.

St Albans City: Bastock; Deeney, B Martin �, Everitt, Smith; Fisher, Magwood, Reeves, Sean Shields (O’Donoghue 67); Vassell (Effiong 42 (Peters 68)), Petrucci.

Subs not used: Dedman, A Martin.

Referee: Adam Bromley (Plympton).

Att: 690