Two second half strikes ended a run of eight Conference South matches without victory for Sutton United as St Albans City, with a dispiriting performance, slumped to a flattering 2-1 defeat at a cold Gander Green Lane on Sunday.

After crawling through lengthy delays on the M25 en route to Surrey, City soon received a setback when leading goal scorer John Frendo failed a pre-match fitness test.

Frendo’s misfortune allowed one-time Tottenham Hotspur player Cameron Lancaster to act as a one-man attack, as City packed the middle of the park with five players.

Nathan Green, after a couple of impressive performances at left-back switched to the left of the midfield, with Lee Chappell reclaiming his defensive position.

These changes aside City took to the pitch pretty much as they did for the Boxing Day game with Hemel Hempstead Town. But that is where any similarity ends, as this was a desperately poor and uninspiring St Albans performance.

Only a last minute goal conceded at Wealdstone 48 hours earlier had extended Sutton’s wait for a league win, but even after falling behind on Sunday Paul Doswell’s side looked the XI most likely to end the year on a winning note.

Sutton had shown the most attacking intent during a slow start to the game but must have felt that fate was against them when losing Kevin Amankwaah and then Jamie White to injury inside the opening 25 minutes.

And just to add insult to injury, United then conceded a goal, on 29 minutes, to a deflected shot that wrong-footed keeper Tom Lovelock.

John Kyriacou took a throw level with the edge of the home penalty area out on the City right before receiving a return pass from the disappointingly quiet David Keenleyside.

Kyriacou’s ensuing cross into the penalty area was headed away by Bedsente Gomis but only as far as City captain James Comley, whose soft shot clipped the boot of Glen Southam and trickled past Lovelock, as the keeper tried to retrieve his ground.

One of the bonuses for Sutton in making two early substitutions was to bring the experienced Craig Dundas into the fray, for he was soon proving too big a handful for City to cope with.

Dan Wishart kept Kyriacou busy down the flank, while the United skipper Charlie Clough got into excellent positions on several occasions, even if his finishing was a touch wayward until striking a glorious goal in the second half.

Three minutes after taking the lead St Albans found themselves under heavy pressure.

Joe Welch made an excellent save from Gomis, Clough returned the ball into the goalmouth where a claim for handball against Chappell was rejected. The rebound broke to Wishart whose low shot was kicked off the goal-line by Kyriacou.

The pressure was maintained as Welch dived to save a well-placed Billy Medlock free kick, Gomis saw his powerful shot blocked and Clough, from behind the City defence, headed over.

Clough’s fortunes got no better just prior to the interval when Wishart, after weaving his way along the goal-line, squeezed the ball into the six yard box where Clough somehow scooped his shot over the bar.

Remarkably, St Albans went in at half time a goal to the good but were a limp attacking force that became completely impotent after the break.

The second half was played out in murky conditions, as the floodlights struggled to improve the light of a winter’s twilight.

The City goal was soon the centre of attention again as Jack Evans had a shot deflected over the crossbar and then, from Southam’s corner, Clough shot over the top from virtually on the goal-line.

A Sutton goal had to come but when it did arrive, on 52 minutes, it owed much to City’s either seasonal generosity of utter incompetence.

From ten yards inside the Sutton half Lancaster headed the ball back into the City half and straight to United’s Medlock.

The Sutton substitute gave a quick first touch to Clough who let the ball run on to Dundas. With an exquisite through ball Dundas sent Medlock clear of the City defence to fire past Welch from 18 yards.

Only a well-timed intervention from Ian Gayle soon after prevented Medlock from repeating the trick.

Still the flow towards the City continued with the excellent Welch making further good saves from Southam and Dundas.

St Albans were barely hanging on and on 65 minutes Sutton scored a long overdue second goal.

A move close to the City penalty area looked to be breaking down as Sutton were pushed back into their own half, where Shaun Cooper clipped a long pass out to Evans.

With a clever header, Evans played the ball inside to Clough who held off Darren Locke and outpaced Omar Beckles before drilling a crisp low drive right-footed across Welch.

City, though, were almost gifted a passage back into the game when Lovelock fumbled a Chappell free kick with the ball dropping to Gayle, but the on-loan Dagenham player was denied his first goal for St Albans by Clough’s goal-line clearance.

Freed by Southam, Clough should have added a second goal but dithered and allowed Nathan Green to get the ball away for a corner.

Sutton appeared happy to settle for what they had during the closing stages and with City offering little threat the outcome was never in doubt.

St Albans did, however, make a little piece of history eight minutes from time when Jack Green replaced the injured Comley.

In joining his brother Danny, and the not related Nathan, on the pitch, 17-year-old Jack ensured that City had three players on the pitch bearing the same surname for the first time since 17 April 1922 when three Miller brothers were in action.

The Saints are back in action on New Year’s Day and will be looking for John Frendo to return, along with Steve Wales and Charlie Gorman now that that duo have completed their suspensions, for the short trip to Hemel Hempstead Town.

Kick off at Vauxhall Road for the Conference South fixture is at 1pm.

Sutton United: T.Lovelock, H.Osborne, C.Hart, K.Amankwaah (C.Dundas 15), S.Cooper, C.Clough, J.Evans, G.Southam, J.White (B.Medlock 25), B.Gomis, D.Wishart, unused subs; R.Wellard, K.Serbonij, S.Hippolyte-Patrick.

Booked: Cooper (63), Southam (70), Medlock (90).

St Albans City: J.Welch, J.Kyriacou, L.Chappell, O.Beckles, D.Locke (H.Hall 69), I.Gayle, N.Green, J.Comley (J.Green 82), D.Keenleyside (D.Green), S.Corcoran, C.Lancaster, unused subs; E.Bailey, D.Longe-King.

Booked: Corcoran (68).

Goals: 29 0-1 Comley, 52 1-1 Medlock, 65 2-1 Clough.

Referee: Christopher Pollard (Stowmarket).

Att: 466.