Charities benefit as Saints sink HMS St Albans

The company of HMS St Albans were left all at sea on Monday night after going down 6-1 to St Albans City in a charity match at Clarence Park but the big winners were the Grove House Hospice and Help For Heroes with the two charities splitting the match proceeds and a collection taken from around the ground.

The crew of the frigate, which is currently moored alongside HMS Belfast near Tower Bridge, gave a good account of themselves despite the final scoreline with goalkeeper Rab Johnman particularly catching the eye with a string of first half saves.

The ship’s commander Tom Sharpe OBE and his crew were welcomed to Clarence Park by the City owner Lawrence Levy, chairman Ian Ridley and club secretary Steve Eames.

The football club presented the ship with a first team shirt and a commemorative plaque while the sailors handed the Saints two HMS St Albans plaques.

The superior fitness, at least in football terms, of St Albans City was soon evident and within five minutes Jamal Park-Jude had opened the scoring with an excellent finish.

With a fine long range effort James Shaw had doubled City’s advantage by half time.

City made eight changes during the second half which allowed manager David Howell to have a rare run out; although a stroll may be a more accurate description.

Assistant manager Ken Charlery played for the entire second half and added the fourth goal shortly after James Bent had scored the third.

Coach Stuart Crawford also joined in the action as did Youth team manager Graham Golds some 18 years after he played for the City Reserves.

City’s fifth and sixth goals were added by Sakho Bakare and Ryan Ware.

HMS St Albans drew the biggest cheer of the evening when Rob Jones hammered in a blistering shot to claim a consolation goal on 82 minutes following good approach work by Ross Self and Dan Barker.

The seaman had several other attempts on goal with Karl Pritchard trying his luck from distance on a couple of occasions while Lee Mancell struck the woodwork and John Bayne, who was instrumental in arranging the fixture, looked to be in on goal before being outpaced by Frenchman Moussa Diarra.

The good nature of the encounter was exemplified at the final whistle when HMS St Albans gave their hosts a hearty three cheers and the home side reciprocated by forming a guard of honour as the seaman left the pitch.

St Albans City: D.Bailey, A.Blackwood (C.Yapp 46), S.Henderson, J.Shaw (S.Crawford 54), M.Diarra (D.Howell 74), L.Wroe, J.Park-Jude, D.McGonigle (G.Golds 54), J.Bent (K.Charlery 48), J.Ehui (S.Bakare 54), G.Lee-Baptiste (R.Ware 46).

HMS St Albans: Rab Johnman, James Carrington, Jonny Anketell, Dan Barker, Matt Pritchard, Leigh Rowe, Lee Mancell, John Bayne, Karl Pritchard, Sam Crowther, Brian Williamson, subs used; Daniel Ball, Conner O’Connell, Greg John Cooper, Rob Jones, Ross Self, Louis Vine-Scratcherd.

Referee: Steve Chittenden.

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