After some very impressive performances of late City fell someway below their best on Tuesday night but courtesy of Lee Clarke’s 25th goal of a remarkable season closed in on their first Herts Senior Cup success in five years.
Tom Davis in action
Quite where City would be without Clarke’s goals this season is open to conjecture but certainly the Northern Ireland U21 international struck at the right moment to quell an impressive opening burst by a visiting side hastily rebuilt following the departure of around ten players and manager Andy Leese to Boreham Wood earlier in the season.
Clark smartly drilled the deciding goal to keeper William Viner’s right on 12 minutes after a foraging run by Chris Seeby had caused near panic in the Cheshunt defence. It was one of only about two occasions a Cheshunt defence, which included one-time Saint Graeme Butler, allowed the prolific striker a shot at goal.
Cheshunt put up a more than commendable fight creating a good number of chances in either half but Ricky Perks, in the City goal, was in no mood to kick off his first team career at Clarence Park with anything other than a clean sheet. Perks made good saves from Dean Fenton, twice, and Tommy Morgan, and raced from his area to make two vital interceptions; from the latter of which he picked up an injury late in the game due to an accidental clash with Nicky Marsh.
The only other relatively new face in the City side was Carl Kavanagh. The young centre-back, who will be 18 on Friday and was playing in the first team for just the second time, made one particularly impressive and important tackle to thwart George Georgiou when the ace marksman – though somewhat over his optimum playing weight one suspects – appeared odds on to equalise.
In addition to the injury sustained by Perks, City also lost left-back Scott Cousins inside the opening half-hour with a foot injury. Following this coming Saturday’s Conference South fixture with Margate at Ashford, Cousins will be absent for three matches due to suspension. Dean Hooper is available for selection at the weekend after completing his latest ban.
Gary Elphick was expected to turn out for Brighton & Hove Albion in the Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday night and, providing he came through that unscathed, it is anticipated that he will be included in the City squad for the Margate match.
Striker Richard Pacquette, who made his debut for the Saints at Basingstoke Town last Saturday, has been released.
Report by David Tavener