Change:  Move to:

24.03.2008 at 15:00 Clarence Park

Attendance : 527

St Albans City

2 - 0

Hayes & Yeading United

Referee : Stuart Burt (Northampton) Blue Square South

Lee Clarke (15)
Paul Bruce (73)
Opening squads
Paul Bastock
Hassan Sulaiman
Scott Cousins
Luke Thurlbourne
Ben Martin
Ryan Frater
Paul Bruce
Paul Hakim
Lee Clarke
Wasiu Akanni Sunday
James Fisher
Adam Thomson
Danny Allen-Page
Peter Collins
Andy Thompson
Nevin Saroya ©
Ram Marwa
Steve Perkins
James Mulley
Kieran Knight
Stafford Palmer
Liam Collins
Marcel McKie
James Quilter
Simon Martin
Jonathan Hunt
Hamsa Twomey
Josh Scott
Will Hendry
Joel Ledgister
Kyle Mathews
Toby Little
Simon Martin -> Paul Hakim (38)
James Quilter -> Luke Thurlbourne (60)
Jonathan Hunt -> Hassan Sulaiman (79)
Yellow cards
Paul Bruce (77)
Red cards
None. Steve Perkins (73)
Match report
ST ALBANS City’s stunning transformation continued at Clarence Park on Easter Monday with a determined 2-0 victory over midtable Hayes & Yeading United that takes the Saints recent points haul to 13 out of 15 only for results elsewhere to leave Steve Castle’s side still entrenched in the Blue Square South relegation zone.
A deflected first half goal by Lee Clarke and a sumptuous second half free kick by skipper Paul Bruce gave the Saints a second successive home win, something not sampled by City for two years, as the club extended it’s unbeaten run to a fifth match.
Despite winter bowing out with a three-hour snow shower in the morning that left the pitch heavy the match got off to a lively start with a strong whiff of goals in the air. Ultimately just two materialised with the St Albans defence, as so often in recent matches, performing admirably while goalkeeper Paul Bastock pulled off a stunning save from the one time Hayes & Yeading really tested him.
Hassan Sulaiman posed problems for the visitors, particularly during the first half, and it was he, following a pass by the outstanding James Fisher, who won the first corner of the game.
That corner came to nothing but on four minutes City maybe should have forged ahead when Paul Hakim, sent away by Scott Cousins through ball, sprinted clear of the Hayes & Yeading defence only to overrun the ball and eventually just stretch to stab it tamely wide for a goalkick.
Both sides were committed to attack with City looking the most likely to break through with visiting keeper Andy Thomson, making just his second appearance, comfortably gathering a Hakim header. But on 15 minutes City’s persistence was rewarded.
Sulaiman collected a long punt down the right by Bastock and won City’s second corner of the afternoon. Bruce, from in front of the main stand, swung the ball in left footed and when a defender half cleared it Ben Martin astounded everyone with an overhead kick that planted the ball back into the goalmouth. Akanni-Sunday Wasiu was first to react but as his shot headed towards Thomson the ball deflected off Clarke’s ribs for his 11th goal of the season.
The Middlesex side hit back powerfully and forced City to defend. But with full backs Cousins and Fisher keeping the two flanks secure Hayes & Yeading struggled to create clear openings. On 16 minutes though Kieran Knight looked set to pounce on Andy Thompson’s knock down only for Martin to clear his lines with a second spectacular overhead effort.
Twice more within the next minute Hayes & Yeading worked the ball into dangerous positions but on each occasion Martin, who was well supported by Ryan Frater, made crucial interventions with a flying block when Nevin Saroya looked set to score being the pick.
Having weathered the visitors best spell City displayed the confidence that has grown within the side in recent games with a move involving most of the team that ended with Bruce drilling the ball into the penalty area and winning another corner.
City’s front partnership of Sunday and Hakim was causing problems for Hayes & Yeading but a couple of hefty challenges on Hakim put paid to him with the striker limping off with a damaged ankle. His replacement, the experienced Simon Martin, took a while to get into the game but in the final 30 minutes showed up well against his former club.
Right on the stroke of half time City looked to have increased their lead when Bruce curled a lengthy free kick towards the Hatfield Road that Sunday met well but planted his header narrowly wide of the Thomson’s goal.
After the highly promising start when an open game seemed to be in the offing the play did become a touch scrappy towards the interval and after the break neither side was its best although City were full value for the three points.
Fielding an unchanged outfield ten players for the fourth successive match more was expected of Hayes & Yeading as an attacking prospect and certainly that threat did increase with the half time introduction of Josh Scott who went close with a header from Liam Collins cross on 58 minutes.
Steve Castle sought to clamp down on Scott’s influence with the 60th minute substitution of Luke Thurlbourne with James Quilter, something that did not go down too well with the competitive 17-year-old midfielder.
Just after the hour Sunday battled for a long goal kick by Bastock with the ball falling to Clarke. From his exquisite lob to the edge of the penalty area Simon Martin was in good space but his attempted chip over the keeper was struck too firmly and went over the York Road goal.
Shortly after, Ben Martin won the ball on the halfway line and twisted in a manner that would have impressed Ronaldo before clipping a good pass up to Sunday whose touch was collected by Simon Martin. The former Hayes & Yeading striker won a free kick with Bruce sending the dead ball within a whisker of Thomson’s goal.
But there was no escape for the visitors a minute later, the 73rd when Simon Martin, after a swift exchange of passes with Sunday, was hauled down by the shirt-pulling Steve Perkins who was instantly shown a red card. While Hayes & Yeading pondered their options Bruce lined up the free kick and from 19 yards struck a sweet left-footed effort high to Thomson’s left for his eighth goal of the season.
At two goals to the good and with a one-man advantage City were able to see out the closing stages in comfort but on 89 minutes the vocal Bastock again emphasised his value to the side with spectacular tip away high to his right when Saroya’s superbly placed 35-yard free kick seemed about to sneak just under the crossbar.
City went into the game fielding an unchanged starting XI for the third successive match but an injury to Hasim Deen’s left ankle led to him being replaced on the bench by Hamza Twomey.
Castle may be forced into making an alteration to his side for Saturday’s visit to Clarence Park of FA Cup heroes Havant & Waterlooville though as Hakim left the ground looked more than a tad uncomfortable with his ankle injury.

Report by David Tavener
Cookie Policy

This website uses cookies that are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the privacy policy. By accepting this OR scrolling this page OR continuing to browse, you agree to our privacy policy.