Timid Terras swept away by record equalling Saints

After another successful week of cup football St Albans City turned their attention back to pressing for promotion from the Southern League in some style on Saturday with a resounding 3-0 victory over a below par Weymouth at the Wessex Stadium.

City’s third successive Premier Division victory extended the Saints undefeated away run to a 14th game, thereby equalling a club record that has stood for 92 years.

Weymouth went into the game smarting from a 7-0 defeat in their last league outing. And after conceding an early goal to the buoyant Saints, Brendon King’s side seldom looked capable of staving off their heaviest reversal at home to St Albans.

Just for good measure the Terras were booed by their own supporters at the final whistle.

City had no such problems and despite performing below their best had little trouble in staying in touch with the leading pack in the Southern League.

City were forced into making one change from the side that beat Tonbridge Angels in the FA Trophy with Chris Watters coming in for the suspended Lee Chappell at left-back .

The Saints were soon into their stride and dominated the early play under grey skies on the Dorset coast.

The Terras had an early escape when a long cross-field ball by the excellent Ben Martin was headed deep into the penalty area by Howard Hall.

As the ball dropped behind the home defence David Keenleyside, who passed a fitness test shortly before the kick off, looked set to score but drove his shot across the face of the goal and just beyond the far post.

But, on nine minutes, Weymouth were undone when a clearance by Barry McConnell was headed back towards the home penalty area by Ram Marwa to James Comley.

The City midfielder chested the ball down and, from 25-yards, drove a right-footed effort to the left of Jason Matthews. Despite getting both hands to the ball the home keeper was unable to stop the Saints forging ahead.

Matthews was more impressive when tipping over the top a shot from Frendo after the Saints leading scorer had blocked a clearance by Nathan Walker and taken a return pass from Mark Nwokeji.

A rare threat on the City goal came from a set piece when Scott Walker’s free kick was glanced on by Nathan Walker but drifted wide of the target.

Weymouth almost found a way back into the game through a piece of virtuoso inspiration by Luke Burbidge.

After winning the ball from Comley next to the touchline, Burbidge ran past three more City players before reaching the penalty area and then cutting between Martin and Watters.

The Terras midfielder tried to fire home inside the near post but the effort was beaten out by Paul Bastock with Burbidge clipping the rebound over the bar for a goal kick.

Having dominated the early stages City were less impressive later in the half with far too many passes going astray and allowing Weymouth to apply a little pressure.

Moments from the interval Scott Walker tested Bastock with a fine attempt from around 26-yards that the veteran keeper smartly palmed over the top.

Ten minutes into the second period City opened up the home defence with some neat passing football.

A Richard Graham cross from the right was collected by Comley and when his path was blocked he teed up Nwokeji with a clever pass but the striker’s shot was diverted into the side-netting by the sliding Sam Poole.

But Weymouth’s relief was short-lived as City scored from the resulting corner.

Watters deep corner was headed back across the penalty area by Tom Ward to Comley who in turn headed it towards the goal.

The ball fell to Martin who, with his back to goal and standing some seven yards out, beat Matthews with a stylish right-footed volley to the left of the Terras keeper for his second goal of the season.

Frendo, seeking to end a drought spanning four games without a goal, received a good pass from Comley and looked to curl a shot beyond Matthews’s grasp only for the Terras custodian to make fine save when stretching fully extended to his right.

As the half wore on the number of wasteful passes made by either side increased and the game looked to be edging towards a scrappy and occasionally fractious ending when City struck for a third time on 79 minutes.

A long kick by Bastock was headed away by Poole to Danny Clay who was shrugged off the ball by a firm challenge from Danny Green.

Frendo laid the loose ball out to Jamal Lowe with the substitute’s intended pass to the advancing Green clipping Ashley Wells and rolling perfectly for Frendo to send a controlled curling effort inside Matthews’ right hand upright for his 18th goal of the season.

City came close to snatching a fourth goal when a snap shot from outside the penalty area by Howard Hall was saved in spectacular fashion by the diving Matthews.

St Albans rise to eighth in the Premier Division on the back of their latest awayday success but remain five points outside of the play-off places.

City return to cup action on Tuesday with a 2nd Round Herts Senior Cup tie away to Hertford Town, kick off at Hertingfordbury Lane is at 7.45pm.

Chappell will be available after serving a one-match ban on Saturday but teenage striker Elliot Bailey will be absent after starting a one-month loan with fellow Premier Division side Bedford Town. Greg Ngoyi is also available at the end of his two-match ban.

Weymouth: J.Matthews, B.McConnell (M.Groves 76), A.Wells, D.Clay, N.Walker, S.Poole, L.Burbidge, M.Ford, S.Yetton, B.Joyce, S.Walker, subs; M.Walker, M.Harvey, M.Geeeno, M.Cafer.

Booked: Yetton, Poole, Clay, Wells.

St Albans City: P.Bastock, H.Hall, C.Watters, R.Marwa, B.Martin, T.Ward, D.Keenleyside (D.Green 52), J.Comley, J.Frendo (C.Henry 72), M.Nwokeji (J.Lowe 68), R.Graham, subs; J.Kaloczi, D.Locke.

Booked: Ward, Hall.

Goals: 9 0-1 Comley, 55 0-2 Martin, 79 0-3 Frendo.

Referee: Timothy Wood (Gloucester).

Att: 444.


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