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09.01.2001 at 19:45 Clarence Park

Attendance : 88

St Albans City

3 - 1


Referee : Mike Tingey League Cup 2nd Rd

Richard Goddard (34)
Ben Strevens (35)
Ashley Cooper (54)
Opening squads
Richard Hurst
Mark Rooney
Francis Birch
Richard Goddard
Ryan Moran
Ashley Cooper
Danny Davis
Gary Wraight
Garry Cook
Ian Culverhouse
Ben Strevens
Richard Evans
Spencer Knight
Robbie Simpson
Spencer Knight -> Ashley Cooper (55)
Robbie Simpson -> Garry Cook (68)
Richard Evans -> Ryan Moran (84)
Yellow cards
None. None
Red cards
None. None
Match report
First goals for the Saints by Richard Goddard and Ashley Cooper, plus a comical effort from recent acquisition Ben Strevens, carried St Albans City through to the 4th Round of the Ryman League Cup on Tuesday night at the expense of a hard working Marlow side which belied its position some 47 places below that of their hosts in the Ryman League.
On what was probably the coldest night for football in the south of the country so far this season, the Saints will be pleased to have returned to winning ways after going three games without a win, their longest unsuccessful spell since the opening three matches of John Kendall's highly promising reign. That said, the Saints performance was positively low key but given the fact that going into the match seven of the side had played ten or less games for the club it is hardly surprising that the players are still getting to know each other.
Former Brighton & Hove Albion youngster Danny Davis came in for his home debut and showed some good touches while fellow home debutant Cooper scored with a fine header to follow on from the brace he notched for the Reserves last week. Ian Culverhouse made his debut at the age of 36 and displayed all the awareness one would expect from a player with 431 Football League appearances behind him.
Whilst most of the early attention of the tiny crowd was grabbed by the somewhat fuzzy total eclipse of the moon, there was a sprinkling of goalmouth activity for visiting keeper Lee Carroll to deal with as Strevens, Gary Wraight and Ryan Moran all tried their luck from distance. A fine effort from Marlow midfielder John Issac also went close to giving the Division Two side an early lead.
Marlow had a scare on 34 minutes when Carroll almost punched a Francis Birch corner into his own net but within four minutes the tie was as good as settled as City struck twice within sixty seconds. Goal number one saw City skipper Goddard get some part of his anatomy to the ball from a Mark Rooney corner and force it into the Hatfield Road net to notch his first goal for the club in 32 appearances.
Marlow, almost immediately, lost possession from the kick-off and found themselves two down when Carroll, attempting to clear a back pass after a long ball forward by the Saints, watched in disbelief as the ball thudded against the incoming Strevens and bounced over the keeper, a couple of bounces later and Strevens had his second goal in four days.
To stand any realistic chance of pulling off a cup upset Marlow needed to score quickly after the restart and five minutes into the second half only a goalline clearance from a Luke Evans header following a Grant Goodall corner denied the Blues the goal they desperately needed.
Worse was to come for Marlow in the 54th minute as Rooney played a short corner to Wraight and collected a return pass before sending over a cross which the unmarked Cooper was able to despatch into the back of the York Road goal with a stooping header wide to the right of Carroll's full length dive.
Not to be outdone, Marlow came back with an equally fine finish of their own four minutes later as the Blues counter-attacked swiftly and with devastating effect as James Pritchard lifted an exquisite chip over Hurst and into the goal. City replied with Spencer Knight forcing Carroll to save by the foot of the post but it was Marlow who came closest to scoring again when Robert Gibson turned neatly in the penalty area in the 86th minute and struck the City crossbar.

Report by Dave Tavener
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