Inspired by a hat-trick from midfielder Tom Davis, St Albans City gave the perfect response to the wholesale changes rung by manager Colin Lippiatt with an emphatic victory on Tuesday over a Yeading side boasting the best away record in the Conference South this season.
Tom Davis celebrates his goal.
Davis, dropped just prior to a recent suspension, hit back with a sumptuous three-goal burst as the Saints reclaimed second place in the table on a night of 41 goals from nine Conference South fixtures.
Lippiatt brought Patrick Ada back into the heart of the defence following the Saints four goal mauling by Eastleigh, gave Anthony Allman a rare run out at right back, returned Davis to the midfield and recalled Simon Martin to the attack in place of Lee Clarke following his nine match goal drought. Chris Seeby was moved into Nick Roddis’ position just in front of the back four and produced a performance that strongly challenged Davis in the man of the match stakes.
City were ahead inside eight minutes when Davis won a free kick some 23 yards out that Sean Hankin buried into the back of the York Road net with a blistering left footed piledriver. Six minutes later the Saints scored a brilliant second as Seeby played a good ball to Lee Flynn who in turn pushed it forward to Davis. With a delightful dummy the former Fulham player left his marker and curled a right-footed shot from 20-yards wide to the left of Delroy Preddie.
City completed their devastating opening burst on 17 minutes with a third goal when Martin challenged for a high ball which broke to Davis who, from virtually the same spot as his first effort, clinically put the game beyond Yeading’s reach.
Davis maybe should have completed his hat trick on 24 minutes as Darti Brown and Preddie hesitated over a loose ball that Davis latched onto but from a tight angle shot into the side netting. The Ding stemmed the flow of goals during the remainder of the half but other than for an effort over the top by Manny Williams gave City precious little to worry about.
As rain lashed down on the lush Clarence Park turf St Albans began the second half in the same manner as they did the first although Matt Hann’s attempt to get on the scoresheet was foiled by a decent low save by the beleaguered Preddie. Hann, though, was instrumental in City’s third goal on 60 minutes as he latched onto Martin’s through ball from Paul Bastock’s long kick only to be sent crashing to the ground by the advancing Preddie. The Yeading keeper correctly guessed which side Davis would put his spot kick but could not stop him from completing City’s second hat trick of the season.
Just four minutes later and City were five up when Preddie did well to block a fierce drive from the irrepressible Hann but could not recover soon enough to stop Martin from putting away his seventh goal of the season from the rebound.
City immediately, if somewhat strangely, withdrew Anthony Allman who handed the captains armband to Seeby as Roddis came on.
The Ding’s cause looked even more hopeless when skipper Nevin Saroya was dismissed for a second bookable offence but two further City substitutions and positional changes seemed to disrupt the home side and Yeading seized their chance to reduce the deficit with goals, both from close range, by Errol Telemarque and Williams on 74 and 77 minutes respectively.
During the closing minutes City sought to retrieve those two goals but lost out as Preddie saved low down from Graham and then pushed a Dean Cracknell effort onto the crossbar.
Match report by Dave Tavener. Kindly supplied by The St Albans Observer.