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Terras tamed as City goal spree continues
With his 20th league goal of the season, John Frendo opens the scoring against Weymouth. Picture: Leigh Page
St Albans City encountered little resistance from mid-table Weymouth at a windswept Clarence Park on Saturday and leapt to third in the Southern League Premier Division with a second 3-0 success against the Dorset side this season.
City, courtesy of another brace by John Frendo and a first goal for the club by Peter Dean, had put the outcome beyond reasonable doubt by the interval and after the break were perfectly happy to preserve energy in preparation for Monday’s play-off place showdown with Bideford.
The Saints made three changes from the win at Arlesey in midweek.
Darren Locke’s fractured cheekbone ruled him while James Kaloczi and Mark Nwokeji were relegated to the bench.
Ben Martin returned and resumed as captain in place of Locke in the middle of the defence. James Comley came into the middle of the midfield after resting an ankle injury and Dean was given his second start up front.
Weymouth hoped to be unchanged from a midweek victory over Bideford only for Luke Winsper to pull up in the pre-match warm up, with his place taken by new signing Steve Colwell.
Playing up towards the York Road goal with a strong wind behind them, St Albans were soon dominating the game and enjoying almost total possession.
Inside the opening 20 seconds Frendo cut the ball back from the City left, only for a deflection off Jake Green to deny Dean a very early breakthrough.
Moments later Comley crossed low from the left, the ball flew up off Adam Kelly’s outstretched leg and struck a surprised Frendo on the head before looping just wide.
The clock had barely moved from 3pm and already the Terras were hanging on.
A linesman flag for offside came to the rescue of the visitors when Frendo despatched a Martin flick on into the net, while Terras keeper and player manager Jason Matthews received a knock as Frendo, perfectly legitimately, slid in to reach a Tom Ward header close to the goal.
With just 11 minutes gone St Albans made an already long overdue breakthrough.
Dean played the ball short to Frendo, from around 35 yards out Frendo moved forward ten paces before drilling a fine left-footed shot low to the left of Matthews and into the net via the foot of the upright.
With that goal Frendo became the first City player to score 20 league goals in a season since Lee Clarke in 2005-06; and just for good measure Clarke was at the Park on Saturday to witness Frendo’s achievement.
A minute later Frendo headed over from a Dean cross but Weymouth were not yet out of contention and Sam Poole went close with a glancing header to a Luke Burbidge cross.
Poole then turned provider with a hooked ball into the box that Stewart Yetton slashed high over Paul Bastock’s goal.
On 25 minutes Dean’s wait for his first goal for the Saints came to an end when he stretched to stab the ball past Matthews from eight yards out after Martin had headed on a trademark long throw from Lee Chappell.
City maintained the pressure with a shot over the top by Tom Ward and an excellent run in from the right and low cross by Matt Taylor that just eluded Frendo in front of the goal.
On a remarkably dry pitch that flew in the face of the struggles the rest of the country is having in getting rid of water, City strung together 11 passes in the build up to the third goal on 41 minutes.
Dean and Ram Marwa played short passes before the latter fed Frendo who raced clear of the Weymouth defence before guiding a delightful finish to the left of Matthews as the keeper fell to his right.
It was Frendo’s 33rd goal in all competitions this season, a total last beaten by a City player 15 years ago when Steve Clark scored 40 times.
The closing minutes of the half saw City in party mood with Frendo nonchalantly flicking on a Chappell throw to Dean whose well controlled volley only just cleared the target.
With their fourth consecutive league win all but secured St Albans could be excused for easing up in the second half, and a Weymouth side in the process of being rebuilt was never likely to spoil the party.
That said, Yetton was not far away from reaching an enticing ball into the box by Green.
But really, it was nowt but a fleeting moment of concern as Bastock, one game short of his 300th appearance for the Saints, had no problem in keeping his 12th clean sheet of the season.
Weymouth managed more shots on goal than St Albans after the break but other than for a header by Kelly, that went straight through to Bastock, and a shot over the top by Burbidge, there was little sign of the Terras grabbing a consolation goal.
City’s second half threats on goal were hardly lengthy but Dean forced Matthews into a save following a Richard Graham cross, while Chris Henry had one shot charged down close to goal and was not far away with a clever effort from a tight angle.
And late in the day Jamal Lowe went close with curling shot from the edge of the box.
The attendance is the second highest for a Southern League match played at Clarence Park and the third in succession in excess of 600 at the Park.
The win lifts the Saints to their highest position in the Southern League, third, and victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Bideford at Clarence Park on Monday (10th February) will see the Saints rise to second in the Premier Division.
Kick off at the Park, for what will be Paul Bastock’s 300th game for the City, is at 7.45pm.
Prior to the kick off, former Saint Mick O’Shea will present James Kaloczi with the January Player of the Month award.
St Albans City: P.Bastock, K.Gilbert, L.Chappell, R.Marwa, T.Ward, B.Martin, R.Graham, J.Comley (H.Hall 76), J.Frendo, P.Dean (J.Lowe 63), M.Taylor (C.Henry 63), subs; M.Nwokeji, J.Kaloczi.
Weymouth: J.Matthews, A.Wells (B.McConnell 55), J.Green, S.Colwell, M.Walker, S.Poole, L.Burbidge, A.Kelly (L.Sharpe 85), S.Yetton, G.Rigg, N.Thompson (S.Walker 70), subs; L.Winsper. B.McConnell.
Goals: 11 1-0 Frendo, 25 2-0 Dean, 41 3-0 Frendo.
Referee: Alex Guy (Wymondham).
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