Comley's cracker keeps City climbing with victory at Farnborough

Comley's cracker keeps City climbing with victory at Farnborough

James Comley's first goal of the season secures victory for City at Farnborough. Picture: Robert Walkley

St Albans City celebrate their first win at Cherrywood Road for 35 years. Picture: Robert Walkley

Farnborough goalkeeper Charlie Grainger saves at the feet of John Frendo. Picture: Robert Walkley

City goalkeeper Joe Welch was in excellent form at Farnborough. Picture: Leigh Page

One-time Limassol player John Kyriacou powers forward at Farnborough. Picture: Leigh Page

The impressive stand at Cherrywood Road. Picture: David Tavener

First published in Local Sport
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A first half strike by the mercurial James Comley clinched a second successive Conference South victory for St Albans City on Saturday as Farnborough stay rooted to the foot of the table following their third reversal of the season.

Farnborough, for a side that had lost its opening two matches, started the game in a surprisingly attacking frame of mind but St Albans soon gained the upper hand and dominated possession to a remarkably high degree with short measured passing.

But for all their neat approach work City hardly overworked home keeper Charlie Grainger and had only three on-target shots during the entire 90 minutes.

The first came from David Keenleyside following a pass by John Frendo, this came shortly after Farnborough did get the ball into the net, through Ollie Treacher, but the striker was pulled up for pushing City defender Darren Locke.

Sam Corcoran, who has enjoyed a highly impressive start to the season, fired wide from 25 yards, and a snap shot by Steve Wales almost caught Grainger out by his near post.

Boro’ hit back well with City keeper Joe Welch making a good save to deny Treacher.

The goal that secured the Saints fifth consecutive away win, their best run for 12 years, came on 42 minutes and followed a patient build up that typified their first half performance.

Corcoran played the ball forward from the half way line to Frendo who put a delightful first time touch into the path of Comley.

After side-stepping the lunging tackle of Courtney Fearn, Comley hammered a powerful left-footed shot from 22 yards that took a slight deflection off Lewis Ferrell before clipping Grainger’s outstretched right hand on its way into the net.

During the few minutes remaining before half time City pressed hard for a second goal.

Frendo had a shot deflected out for a corner, a good run by Corcoran ended with Lee Chappell drilling a low cross towards the near post that Grainger smothered well, while a cross by Wales was just too high for Keenleyside to get above to head on target.

The interval lead was no less than City deserved but their second half showing was most disappointing.

Even allowing for the fact that Spencer Day’s Farnborough side did raise their game, St Albans seemed to allow more than a slice of complacency to creep into their play.

That complacency was never more evident than on 56 minutes when Dan Bennett was left unmarked from a Matt Ball free kick but somehow missed his free header in front of goal, and the ball curled out for a goal kick.

Another crystal clear opportunity went begging for the hosts when substitute Joe Taylor raced clear but shot weakly and allowed Welch to save at the cost of a corner.

A couple of well worked corner routines maintained the pressure with Welch stretching to push away a good cross by Bennett before the keeper got down quickly to save a crisp shot on the turn by Taylor.

City looked to set to launch a good counter-attack only for Wales to be booked for an off the ball trip on Fearn when it appeared to be nothing more than an accidental clash between the two players.

Bennett almost atoned for his earlier miss when setting off on a fine weaving run that ended with a rising drive that Welch flipped over the crossbar.

As Farnborough continued to push City back Danny Green followed skipper Ben Martin and Wales into the book when cynically pulling back the marauding Bennett.

St Albans lost a good chance to quell the Boro fightback when a John Kyriacou cross was, inadvertently, headed into the path of Elliot Buchanan by Farnborough defender Paul Rodgers, only for the City substitute to stretch and scoop his shot way over the target.

Farnborough’s threat waned towards the latter stages with their final serious assault on the City goal seeing Taylor head over from a Rodgers cross.

Much to the delight of the vocal City support that beat horrendous traffic delays to get to Farnborough, the Saints held out to complete their first win at Cherrywood Road for 35 years.

With three Conference South matches played St Albans are one eight sides sitting just one point behind league leaders Eastbourne Borough.

City are next in action on Saturday, 23rd August, when Bishop’s Stortford are the visitors to Clarence Park (3pm), and on Bank Holiday Monday the Saints travel to Eastbourne Borough.

Farnborough: C.Grainger, P.Rodgers, A.Tumwa, C.Fearn, D.Siaw (D.McAvoy 56), L.Ferrell, D.Bennett, M.Ball (J.Webb 76), P.Page (J.Taylor 39), F.Okenabarhie, O.Treacher, subs; K.Spencer, D.Pearse.

St Albans City: J.Welch, J.Kyriacou, L.Chappell, S.Corcoran, B.Martin, D.Locke, D.Green, J.Comley (L.Clarke 77), J.Frendo, D.Keenleyside (E.Buchanan 63), S.Wales (L.Pires 67), subs; M.Taylor, T.Ward.

Booked: Martin, Wales, Green.

Goal: 42 0-1 Comley.

Referee: Savvas Yianni (Weston-super-Mare).

Attendance: 327.

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