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23.03.2004 at 19:45 York Road

Attendance : 190

Maidenhead United

4 - 2

St Albans City

Referee : Martin Cassidy Ryman Premier League

Brendan Gallen (20)
Ben Hammond (33)
Ben Hammond (81)
Brendan Gallen (84)
Steve Watts (35)
Steve Watts (45)
Opening squads
Phil Wilson
Steve Sanders
Andy Dugdale
Ryan Ashe
Adam Durrant
Brendan Gallen
Mark Boyce
Kelvin McIntosh
Rob Haworth
Ben Hammond
Craig Farley
George Clark
Richard Thomas
Dave Sargent
Corey Campbell
Gary Wraight
Adam Parker
Scott Oakes
Steve Watts
Lee Clarke
Neil Gough
Chris Seeby
Rob Martin
Danny Bolt
John Dreyer
Phil Gray
Martyn Lee
Chris Zoricich
Steve Castle
Ben Cogger
Greg Deacon
Will Davies
Rob Martin -> Craig Farley (73) Will Davies -> Corey Campbell (27)
Greg Deacon -> Neil Gough (51)
Chris Zoricich -> Scott Oakes (70)
Yellow cards
None None.
Red cards
None None.
Match report

New signing Adam Parker heads at goal
Another defeat, another four goals conceded. It sounds bad but St Albans City went down with all guns blazing in an absorbing Ryman League encounter in the Maidenhead mud on Tuesday night.

In appalling conditions underfoot – only matched by quite dreadful refereeing – the Magpies and Saints each deserve full marks for a Premier Division match packed with goalmouth incident, inspired approach work and high quality crosses begging to be turned into goals.

City welcomed back Scott Oakes, in place of Chris Zoricich who was carrying a slight groin strain, and had Adam Parker back in their colours for the first time since playing for the City youth 12 years ago. The former Hitchin, Aldershot and Braintree midfielder gave an impressive display adding some welcome steel and quality passing to City’s normally suspect midfield.

Three times inside the opening ten minutes City keeper George Clark dealt smartly with dangerous situations, none more so than when he saved from one time Saint Rob Haworth. Although City were looking threatening on the break it was of little surprise when United went ahead on 20 minutes. Chris Seeby did well to get the ball out but with a looping header from the resulting corner Brendan Gallen opened the scoring.

Six minutes later City lost Corey Campbell to injury but the introduction of Will Davies to the Saints defence is no bad thing. Maidenhead were very adapt at getting the ball wide and produced a series of crosses far better than most City have faced this season and on 33 minutes a half cleared cross paved the way for the troublesome Ben Hammond to powerfully crack home the second United goal.

St Albans looked out for the count only to be level within twelve minutes courtesy of two outstanding finishes by Steve Watts. His first, on 35 minutes, saw the former Shrewsbury striker latch onto Richard Thomas’s long ball down the right and neatly sidestep the advancing home keeper, Phil Wilson, before sliding the ball into the vacant net.

Watts then set up the out of touch Lee Clarke for a drive narrowly wide and a minute from the interval Dave Sargent fed Watts whose perfect lay off set up Gary Wraight for a crisp effort which was just bundled around the post by the sprawling Wilson.

But City’s persistence paid dividends in added time when Seeby’s long ball down the right sent Watts away once more. This time he coolly feigned to shoot to Wilson’s right before placing his seventh goal in eight games inside the keepers left hand post.

City carried their first half fightback into the second period with Watts proving a constant threat and receiving good support from Parker, Wraight and Greg Deacon whose appearance in place of the disappointing Neil Gough further strengthened City’s grip in midfield.

Watts delightfully teed the ball up for Wraight to hit a second powerful shot through the mud that Wilson again did well to keep out before Parker was somehow denied a penalty after being shoved in the back. On the hour Deacon went beyond his man and cut the ball back to Watts whose first time shot crashed against the underside of the bar before being cleared.

Maidenhead’s goal continued to lead a charmed life as City twice failed to punish Wilson after the keeper lost possession outside his penalty area. In the end, with just nine minutes remaining, it was a route one long ball over the City defence that produced the next goal as Hammond raced clear and beat Clark with a wonderful finish from the edge of the box. A minute later Clark denied Haworth following an identical ball over the Saints defence.

If proof were needed that this was not to be City’s night it came on 84 minutes when Zoricich could do nothing as the ball struck his arm from point blank range for the tedious Mr Cassidy to point to the penalty spot. Gallen looked on as Clark performed his familiar goalline jig before sending the keeper wrong way to finally confirm the Magpies third successive win over the Saints.

Report by Dave Tavener
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