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09.11.2002 at 15:00 Clarence Park

Attendance : 591

St Albans City

1 - 0

Chesham United

Referee : Ron James Ryman Premier League

Stafford Browne (23)
Opening squads
Richard Wilmot
Corey Campbell
Ryan Moran
Miguel De Souza
Rob Smith
Rob Gould
Jon Challinor
Steve Castle
Scott Oakes
Stafford Browne
Beckett Hollenbach
Delroy Preddie
Tom Neil
Mark Leach
Grant Cooper
Marcel Nugent
Andre Scarlett
Steve Sinclair
Steve Dogbe
Tresor Kandol
Jermaine Hunter
Dwayne Clarke
Derek Brown
Leon Townley
Craig Mackail-Smith
Simon Martin
Rob Kean
Julian Capone
Darren Hay
Dave Fotheringham
Nathan Bowden-Haase
Peter Thorne
Craig Mackail-Smith -> Miguel De Souza (36)
Rob Kean -> Beckett Hollenbach (70)
Julian Capone -> Marcel Nugent (17)
Darren Hay -> Jermaine Hunter (75)
Yellow cards
Jon Challinor (82)
Steve Sinclair (27)
Steve Dogbe (89)
Red cards
None. None
Match report

Today's visitors, Chesham United are 12th in the League with 24 points from an interesting W6, D6 and L6. Among their ranks are former Saint Dwayne Clarke who was to be their MotM today. City are 2nd in the table with 36 points, 1 behind the Shots.

The Dynamic Duo selected Wilmot in goal, 4 at the back: Gould, Moran, Campbell and Hollenbach (in for the hamstrung Naylor); 4 in the middle: Oakes, Challinor, Castle and Smith; and up front: Browne and De Souza. On the bench: Mackail-Smith, Martin, Townley, Brown and Kean.

It's a strange game, football. City won 1-0, and it could have been 4 or 5, without really getting above second gear. The centre-backs were solid and apart from an excellent double save in the second half and half-a-dozen crosses comfortably caught, Wilmot was untroubled. Challinor was industrious but the midfield was not functioning as a unit today. Both sides lost possession far too regularly, in City's case when speculative long balls were wide of the mark.

The goal came midway through the first half when De Souza crossed from wide and deep on the right to Castle on the edge of the box and his mis-hit shot was sharply hit home by Browne at the far post. Shortly after, De Souza, carrying a knock from Tuesday evening, was replaced by Mackail-Smith. Shortly after half-time, Hollenbach was replaced, Kean coming on to play wide on the left with Smith dropping to the back line of defence.

Mackail-Smith's pace caused problems for the visitors defence throughout the rest of the game and he was involved in the creation of most of the City chances that went begging for the remainder of the match. The youngster might have bagged a couple but for a last-ditch tackle by Clarke on one occasion and an excellent save by Preddie on another, and he made a chance for Browne that was volleyed high and wide. Castle missed a sitter that he wont enjoy watching on Match Of The Day tonight. F.T. 1-0.

Chesham are quick and skilful in the midfield but they lacked fire-power up front today. They will know that they might have stolen a point today but equally, they will know that they might have been on the receiving end of a hat-full. The crowd was around 500 with well under 100 having made the trip from Chesham. The sponsor's MotM was Challinor, who worked hard again today, but for me, perhaps courting controversy, Mackail-Smith.

Quickly forgotten, this game, but 3 very important points. Aldershot drew at home with Billericay so City regain top spot in the League. Hendon beat Braintree and Purfleet won at Kingstonian. There is the beginning of clear water between the top 4 and the rest. Most of the other teams will play at least once, some twice, before The Saints next League outing in two weeks time.

Entertainment 7/10. Atmosphere 6/10. Technical Merit 5/10. Referee 5/10.

Match report by Homer
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