St Albans City collected their first Blue Square South point of the season at a blustery and drenched Gander Green Lane on Tuesday night but remain just one of three sides still searching for their first goal of the season.
City hopes of opening their account in front of goal suffered a setback when traffic problems delayed Lee Clarke’s arrival at Sutton forcing manager Ritchie Hanlon to leave on the bench St Albans top scorer for the past four seasons. Hanlon also left out Leo Roget and Garry Burrell from the side beaten by Dorchester at the weekend with teenage striker Jerome Anderson, on loan from Stevenage Borough, given his debut and Ram Marwa recalled to the midfield.
Goal chances were at a premium at either end with home keeper Phil Wilson not called upon to make a single worthwhile save while City custodian Nick Eyre did well to block both Warren McBean and Ross Montague during a penalty area scramble, but saved his best moments for the closing seconds of each half when going full stretch to grab a Craig Tanner header and then smartly tip over a well struck 30 yard free kick from the United man of the match.
Sutton, tipped for relegation by the league sponsors Blue Square, bossed the opening 70 minutes without really appearing capable of finding the back of the net for the first time this season while City, with the wind at their backs, only stretched their hosts during the final 20 minutes. Clarke went close with a fine header from a Paul Bruce cross and caused Wilson some concern with a well struck volley after a Marcel Mckie cross was only partially cleared.
City picked up a couple of injuries with Gary Elphick hobbling off with a leg injury late in the first half while Mckie too was troubled with a leg problems during the latter stages. St Albans also picked up four yellow cards with their two most senior players, Bruce and Beard, both cautioned for dissent.
Report courtesy of The St Albans & Harpenden Review.