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29.08.2011 at 15:00 Clarence Park

Attendance : 596

St Albans City

2 - 1

Hemel Hempstead Town

Referee : Christopher O'Donnell (Leighton Buzzard) Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division

Danny Hart (12)
Jerome Walker (23)
Lewis Toomey (6)
Opening squads
Nick Jupp
Matt Pooley
Nathnael Ralph
Ryan Moran
Matt Cutchey
David Ijaha
Danny Hart
Solomon Shields
Jerome Walker
Paul Furlong
Joackim Ehui
Mike McEntegart
Danny May
Justin Clayton
Marquin Smith
Warren Goodhind
Matt McEntegart
Ryan Blake
Craig Rydeheard
Jamie Arlick
Lewis Toomey
David Pearce
Barrie Matthews
Marvin Alebiosu
Sakho Bakare
Brian Haule
Nathan Haisley
Charlie Gorman
Bill Morgan
Jake Gilbert
Morgan Williams
Michael Alexis
Nathan Haisley -> Solomon Shields (28)
Barrie Matthews -> Joackim Ehui (35)
Sakho Bakare -> Jerome Walker (80)
Michael Alexis -> Warren Goodhind (60)
Morgan Williams -> Craig Rydeheard (60)
Jake Gilbert -> Marquin Smith (80)
Yellow cards
Matt Pooley (68)
Red cards
Ryan Moran (25)
Match report
St Albans City survived the first half dismissal of Ryan Moran and a second half onslaught by neighbours Hemel Hempstead Town to secure a 2-1 victory in the Southern League Premier Division Hertfordshire derby at Clarence Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

Hemel came into the match with just a single point from their opening five league fixtures but looked to be having a change of fortunes when Lewis Toomey scored an excellent early goal.

City turned the tables to be ahead midway through the half courtesy of goals from Danny Hart and Jerome Walker only for fate to seemingly smile kindly on the visitors when Moran was sent off for bringing down Toomey when many believed that it was the Hemel striker who had impeded the City defender.

Referee Christopher O‘Donnell, brother of former City midfielder Jonathan, was in no doubt about what he saw and immediately brandished a red card. Moran was staggered and fumed that Toomey had fouled him as he headed down the tunnel and slammed the dressing room door.

After making five changes for the trip to Banbury two days earlier, City boss David Howell announced six more alterations for the first league encounter between these two close rivals for 28 years.

Only two of Monday’s changes were enforced. Sean Shields had aggravated an ankle injury picked up against Hitchin whilst Rob Magwood was ill for most of the second half on Saturday and Howell felt it best to rest the midfielder.

Hemel included former City defender Justin Clayton and striker Jamie Arlick who also appeared at the Park less than a week earlier for Hitchin Town.

City made a lively start with a rising crisply driven Hart free kick being tipped over by the young Tudors keeper Mike McEntegart.

Hemel responded with a clever effort from Arlick dipping just over the bar and on six minutes broke away to score the opening goal.

McEntegart required two attempts to catch a Nathan Ralph cross before launching the ball down the centre of the pitch.

Toomey and Moran tussled for the falling ball with Toomey coming out on top and beating Nick Jupp with wonderful right-footed strike to the keeper’s left from 18 yards.

Hemel lost a half chance to double their advantage before City pulled level on 12 minutes.

Paul Furlong held the ball up on the edge of the penalty area before sliding a precise pass into the path of Hart who shot low to the left of the diving keeper for his first goal for the club.

Eleven minutes later what proved to be the decisive goal was scored.

Joackim Ehui won a corner on the City right. Hart’s cross was punched away by McEntegart but was swiftly switched back across the goal where Craig Rydeheard bizarrely pulled out of stretching to clear the ball and allowed it to run back to Hart.

This time the midfielder played it into Walker whose first touch led to the ball bouncing off of his chest and falling perfectly for him to clip a volley, from 12 yards, over the extended keeper for his first Southern League goal.

City’s recovery was threatened on 25 minutes with Moran’s dismissal and from the ensuing free kick, struck by Matt McEntegart, the ball took a slight deflection on its way just wide of the home goal.

Central midfielder Solomon Shields was sacrificed as Nathan Haisley was sent on to join Matt Cutchey in the middle of the City defence and before the interval Joackim Ehui was also hauled off to be replaced by Barrie Matthews as Howell sought to bolster his side in the middle of the park.

City had two narrow escapes as David Pearce and Ryan Blake each sent blistering drives across the face of the goal. Rydeheard also caused concern with a fine effort that just missed Jupp’s left hand upright .

Jupp made a stunning save low to his left from McEntegart with the rebound being forced out for corner before Clayton could force it home.

As City appealed, unsuccessfully for a penalty against McEntegart Hemel broke at speed and only good work by Jupp denied Toomey.

The second half saw much of the play contained in the City half as Hemel, inspired by right-back Danny May, pushed forward. Although on top Hemel struggled to create clear openings but also squandered three clear chances.

The towering Clayton proved to be a threat as he sent a looping header against the crossbar and another headed effort wide of the target.

But the Hemel defender also did his former club a favour when somehow heading wide at the back post with the goal beckoning in front of him.

But the most glaring miss came on 83 minutes when Jake Gilbert headed the ball to Arlick who, from no more than six yards out, headed tamely over the home goal.

With Cutchey getting in a number of decent blocks the game was slipping away from the Tudors and City almost made them pay in the closing stages.

Hart tried three audacious efforts from distance, from one, a free kick from 25 yards, the keeper had to move smartly to his right to save.

Hemel wasted their last clear chance when Toomey, teed up by May’s through ball, shot across Jupp but also beyond the keeper’s right hand post.

A chance to completely kill Hemel off was lost when David Ijaha led a counter-attack and freed Bakare who shot weakly wide when Furlong was well-placed and unmarked.

The attendance was the highest at Clarence Park since April 2010.
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