Wood defeat leaves City reeling

Blue Square Bet South

St Albans City 0 Boreham Wood 1

IT CAN’T get much worse than this for City fans. Awful weather, poor football and a defeat to your arch rivals.

Boreham Wood were full value for their three points and really should have won by more than Greg Morgan’s first half strike.

Lebanese striker Ali Chaaban alone should have had three before half time but a combination of a lack of composure and last ditch defending meant the front man finished goalless.

City were again without striker Pelayo Gomez as the Spaniard is currently on trial at Morecambe following his release by npower League 1 side Brentford. In his place came Jacob Joyce, a first-year scholar with Peterborough United, with another Posh man, Joe Newell, returning to Clarence Park to take his place on the left wing.

It was the two men from London Road who combined to provide City’s first effort but Newell fired across the face of goal after Joyce had turned the ball into the winger’s path inside the penalty area.

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Neither side was able to hold onto possession for long but it was the away side who made the most of what possession they did have.

Chaaban stole the ball from City and rolled it through a gap in the backline to strike partner Elliot Godfrey. The former AFC Wimbledon man got into the penalty area and tried to round Paul Bastock but the City stopper got down to push the ball off the attacker’s toes.

City were then guilty of standing off and allowing Morgan the time and space to line up a shot. Thankfully for the home side the Wood man shot straight at Bastock.

Chaaban’s first sight of goal came and went in the 19th minute. The striker beat the offside trap and got into the box but for some unknown reason he refused to pull the trigger. City made the most of this let off and Ryan Frater and Bastock combined to snuff out the danger.

The visitors continued to apply pressure on City with captain Mario Noto firing wide from 25 yards. Ian Allinson’s side did have the ball in the back of the net in the 36th minute but centre-half Luke Wilkinson saw his effort ruled out because of offside.

Just a minute later the visitors really should have opened the scoring. Chaaban again beat the City defence and this time rounded Bastock. However the striker again dallied and when he shot towards goal Ben Martin was on hand to fall on the ball and stop it from going in.

The closest City came in the first half was an Adam Everitt header but unfortunately for City the ball landed on the roof of the net.

The fatal blow came just a minute later as Chaaban evaded the attentions of his marker and rolled the ball across goal for Morgan to fire home. It was no less than the visitors deserved but left City shell-shocked.

The home side could have been level just a minute before the break when Putnins spilled the ball under pressure from Newell gifting the ball to Joyce. The young Peterborough man did everything right with his lob but Luke Garrard scampered back to his own goal line to head over the bar.

City did up the pressure on their opponents after the break but they never really tested Putnins.

The closest the Saints came to an equaliser was when Dave Deeney’s free kick skimmed off the top of a Boreham Wood head forcing Putnins to dive full length to tip the ball around the post.

Bastock was called into action again to nick the ball of the toes of Godfrey after he’d beaten the City defence while at the other end Putnins saved well at close range after sub Sean Shields’ shot had fallen to Inih Effiong inside the six yard box.

Shields made a real impact down the right flank after his introduction get some good crosses into the box and Everitt may have done better with a header from one such cross. As it was the midfielder’s effort went wide of the post.

On the other flank Newell also got in a good cross that Wilkinson diverted narrowly past his own post while Bastock saved well from Chaaban at the other end.

City continued to put plenty of effort in right until the final whistle but it wasn’t enough as Wood held on for maximum points.

City: Bastock; Hocking (Sean Shields),B Martin, Frater �, Smith; Fisher, Everitt, Deeney (A Martin), Newell; Joyce (Petrucci), Effiong.

Subs not used: O’Donoghue, Magwood.

Wood: Putnins; Garrard, Wilkinson, Moran, Cestor; Morgan (Sogbanmu 75), Noto �, Risbridger, Nicolau; Chaaban, Godfrey (Hibbert 89).

Subs not used: Kamara, Aisien, Adjei.

Referee: Oleksandr Saliy (Enfield)

Att: 294.