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History making Saints maul the White Tigers
St Albans City marked their longest journey to a match in Britain by having a club record seven different players get on the score sheet as Truro City were ravaged 7-3 in a remarkable Southern League match at Treyew Road on Saturday.
In fact the 90 minutes almost bordered on the bizarre as joint-Saints manager James Gray admitted that his side did not even play well, which was probably just as well for Steve Massey and his shell-shocked White Tigers.
City headed for their first match in Cornwall on the back of two consecutive Premier Division defeats and also without their recognised central defensive pairing of skipper Ben Martin (at a family wedding) and Ryan Wharton (suspended).
Their absence allowed James Kaloczi to return to the starting line up for the first time in seven weeks while Darren Locke was recalled after five weeks out of the side.
City made one other change to the side that defeated Billericay Town in the FA Cup with winger Victor Osobu making way for Leyton Orient teenager Harrison Georgiou.
Truro, still searching for their first home league win of the season, included new additions Aaron Pugh and Ben Watson.
Central defender Pugh rejoined Truro after a year with Dorchester Town. Watson was also with Dorchester and marked his debut with a brace to stand alongside the duo he scored for Bognor Regis against the Saints in 2006.
City’s seven goals suggest that they laid siege to the home goal but it was more a case of outstanding finishing that secured the Saints highest tally in an away league match for 27 years.
Truro had at least an equal share of the play but were ruthlessly penalised for an opening 30 minutes during which they were quite abysmal.
During that opening third of the game the Cornish side - at their fine home - repeatedly conceded possession cheaply, made far too many wayward passes and left vast gaps in their own penalty area. Defeat was unavoidable.
St Albans needed just nine minutes to punish the first error with John Frendo winning the ball off Les Afful on the edge of the penalty area.
City’s leading goal scorer slid the ball into the path of Chris Watters whose low shot went through the legs of keeper Ollie Chenoweth for the opening goal.
Two minutes later and Watters’ first goal of the season was followed by Kaloczi’s first for the club.
A poor clearance by Dan Evans was seized upon by Lee Chappell and from his deep cross from the City left flank Kaloczi pounced at the back post to score with an excellent downward header.
Truro lost a chance to get back into the game when Paul Kendall failed to make a firm enough contact with a header to Afful’s corner.
On 22 minutes Truro’s problems increased when a City corner was only partially cleared to James Comley with the City captain clipping the ball wide to Watters.
From Watters’ perfect cross Locke moved forward to head home unchallenged and then mark his first goal for the club with the most elaborate celebration of the afternoon.
With a quarter of the game gone the result appeared to be cut and dried although a firm drive by Neil Slateford suggested the home side could still make an impact on the day.
Eight minutes from the interval City withdrew striker Mark Nwokeji, mostly as a precaution, to be replaced by Elliot Bailey.
And shortly before the break Truro replaced full back Evans with striker Liam Eddy and went for three at the back in the hope of staging a comeback.
And just three minutes after the interval that fightback got into gear albeit through controversial circumstances.
Referee Steve Annis appeared to blow his whistle for a foul on Howard Hall then left City high and dry by allowing play to go on. A quickly taken throw allowed Watson to break free down the left and beat Bstock with a fine low shot.
Truro now looked a different and more positive proposition, and just a minute after the goal Eddy flashed a shot over the Saints goal.
City enjoyed a moment’s good fortune when, following a corner, an audacious overhead kick by Pugh struck Paul Bastock’s left hand post and moments later the Saints keeper had to be alert to smother a shot by Afful.
Georgiou’s first starting appearance ended on 57 minutes as City’s super-sub Chris Henry entered the fray.
It is a moniker that the winger will be keen to shake off but within a minute of coming on he was flying down the left flank and causing problems for the White Tigers.
On the hour Kaloczi suffered a cut head, following a completely accidental clash of heads with Pugh, but was able to continue after treatment.
Truro had optimistic shouts for a penalty rejected after the ball bounced up and struck Chappell’s arm but on 68 minutes the home side did have cause for celebration.
A Joe Broad cross was struck back into the goalmouth on the half-volley by Afful for Watson to plunder his second goal from point-blank range.
A minute later and Bastock saved well from Matt Andrew but St Albans regained the upper hand with a stunning goal on 72 minutes.
A patient build up ended with Hall and Watters working the ball inside to Comley and from his long pass out to the left Chappell, ten yards inside the Truro half, saw acres of empty space in front of him.
As Truro stood off Chappell moved forward and hammered a blistering drive from around 28 yards that veered in several directions before sailing past the static Chenoweth and entering the goal via the underside of the crossbar.
There could hardly have been a more spectacular way in which the left-back could open his account for the Saints.
Four minutes later Bailey dispossessed the dithering Pugh on the edge of the penalty area before beating Chenoweth with splendidly placed low left-footed effort to the right of the diving keeper as City moved into a 5-2 lead.
On 81 minutes Truro again cast doubt on the outcome with an excellent goal as Cody Cooke notched his first league goal of the campaign.
Shane White played the ball in from the left to Watson and from his square pass Cooke fired past a surprised Bastock with a beautifully placed effort from 17 yards.
Eddy really ought to have set up a fascinating finale when clear but wanted too long on the ball and was tackled by Hall with Kaloczi completing the clearance.
Massey made an intriguing double substitution two minutes into added time but the move backfired as St Albans struck twice more in the little time remaining.
Henry was sent through three minutes into added time and superbly side-stepped the advancing Chenoweth before calmly switching the ball onto his right foot and from a tight angle slid the ball through the legs of the diving Kendall for his fifth goal of the season.
Even with that goal Henry was far from finished and two minutes later cut the ball back to Frendo who held off White before claiming the tenth and final goal of the day with an angled left-footed shot across the despairing Chenoweth.
City’s win lifts them up to eighth in the Southern League and this coming Tuesday, 8th October, they will look to make further progress when tackling struggling Bedford Town.
The short trip to the New Eyrie will be a welcome relief to the Saints following their six-hour trip to the south west on Friday and return journey on Saturday night.
Kick off at Bedford is at 7.45pm.
Truro City: O.Chenoweth, D.Evans (L.Eddy 42), S.White, P.Kendall, A.Pugh, J.Broad (J.Sims 90), L.Afful, C.Cooke, B.Watson, M.Andrew (O.Brokenshire 90), N.Slateford, subs; S.Broomfield, J.Copp.
Booked: Cooke, Kendall, Andrew, Afful.
St Albans City: P.Bastock, H.Hall, L.Chappell, R.Marwa, J.Kaloczi, R.Wharton, H.Georgiou (C.Henry 57), J.Comley, J.Frendo, M.Nwokeji (E.Bailey 37), C.Watters (M.Taylor 77), subs; V.Osobu, J.Gray.
Booked: Watters, Hall, Marwa.
Goals: 9 0-1 Watters, 11 0-2 Kaloczi, 22 0-3 Locke, 48 1-3 Watson, 68 2-3 Watson, 72 2-4 Chappell, 76 2-5 Bailey, 81 3-5 Cooke, 90 3-6 Henry, 90 3-7 Frendo.
Referee: Steve Annis (Penzance).
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