For the second consecutive weeks two goals in the final twenty minutes carried St Albans City to a Ryman League victory but there is little chance in anyone getting away with this latest success against a Croydon side which, having failed to score for the sixth time in seven Premier Division outings, will do well to prove the punters wrong by avoiding a swift return to Division One which they left last May.
City's satisfactory win, their fourth on opposition soil this season as opposed to just one at Clarence Park, was noteworthy in that it was achieved despite manager John Kendall being forced to make three further changes to the side which won at Slough the previous week. Army commitments took Lee Whittle and Craig Wall out of the frame whilst Robbie Simpson was laid low by a touch of 'flu, all of which allowed Corey Campbell to return after injury and Junior Samuels and Arama Simba returned to form what at 71 years must be the most senior striking partnership in the Ryman League.
The Sports Arena at Albert Road, Croydon, is an undesirable place at which to watch football with a running track keeping spectators well away from the playing area and the poor quality of the facilities certainly seemed to get through to the players as the football was of an equally poor nature. City's grumblings about the conditions though, would have far more vociferous had Croydon actually managed to turn home just one or two of the decent chances they created but with seven of Blues nine goals having come in two of their twelve Premier Division matches scoring is clearly not one of their strengths.
City were first to threaten with a long range effort from Danny Jones being tipped over by home keeper James Wastell but it was Croydon who should gone ahead in the 22nd minute when Chris Dickson's cross picked out Jimmy Sugrue but the former Kingstonian and Aldershot player could only put his volley back across the face of goal and wide. A minute later City had another let off when Craig Dundas careless drifted offside in front of goal.
The Saints were just as wasteful on 27 minutes when Chris Piper linked with Campbell before crossing to the back post were Simba, after having his first effort saved by Wastell, stabbed the rebound harmlessly wide. On the half hour City keeper Richard Hurst stretched superbly to beat away a Sugrue effort which took a couple of deflections on its way towards goal. Four minutes later Simba dispossessed the dithering Mark Dickinson only to see his low 25 yard effort smothered by Wastell.
The half ended with Piper and Simba neatly exchanging passes before Piper struck a shot wide of the target but any hopes of City continuing in the ascendancy after the break were quickly dispelled and it was Croydon who gained the upper hand.
Just after the hour a well worked free-kick saw Sugrue's drive strike an upright with McDonnell smacking the rebound wide of the far post. City only really got their act together at Slough the previous week following a similar incident and sure enough the Saints bounced back from that let-off to clinch their fourth away win in five games.
Jones missed a free header from a Mark Rooney cross as City began to assert themselves and just four minutes later, the 74th, substitute Lee Harvey swapped passes with Piper down the right before slipping a perfect ball into the six yard box where Simba was granted acres of space to tap home his first goal for the club.
A minute later former French international Simba, who recently became the 1,500th player to turn out for the Saints, shot wastefully wide when clear of the Croydon defence and during almost seven minutes of injury time both McDonnell and Omari Coleman had good chances to punish that miss but failed to trouble Hurst.
City made sure of the points six minutes into added time when a glorious diagonal pass from Simba sent Piper away and after fooling Wastell the midfielder confirmed his position as the Saints leading scorer with his seventh strike of the season.