St Albans City’s time out of the National League South relegation zone was short-lived as they dropped back into the bottom two with a 3-1 home defeat against Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday.

First half strikes from Jonathan Ayunga and Danny Kedwell had the visitors two goals up before Scott Shulton pulled one back for the Saints.

Ayunga’s second restored The Hawks’ two goal advantage with 20 minutes to go, sealing the defeat for the hosts.

The Saints were without top scorer Joe Iaciofano for the clash and struggled without his eye for goal, while at the other end Dean Snedker did his best to keep the score down.

An early shot from Ayunga was kept out by a strong leg from the keeper after he had been played through by Josh Taylor.

Shortly after, it was down to Shulton to prevent Havant and Waterlooville from taking the lead when he cleared a header from Craig Robson off the line.

The Hawks continued to put pressure on the St Albans defence and looked to have eventually found a way through when Kedwell’s cross from the left was smashed goalwards by Andy Drury, leaving Snedker flat-footed, only for a timely intervention from Zane Banton to prevent the ball from hitting the net.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the 19th minute when Robson climbed highest to power a header towards goal.

Snedker did well to sprawl to his right and keep out the initial effort, but Ayunga turned the rebound back into the net to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.

The Saints did manage to get the ball into the net when James Kaloczi followed up Albert Adu’s saved strike from the edge of the area and nodded it past Ross Worner, but he was in an offside position when the ball was hit.

A slight resurgence from the hosts saw them go close once again from a corner, but a resilient defence forced Lewis Knight to fire wide from inside the box as the equaliser continued to evade them.

The Saints found themselves on the back foot again shortly after, when a long range effort from Taylor flew towards the top corner, only for some acrobatics from Snedker to turn it away for a corner.

Nevertheless a second goal seemed all but inevitable as Havant and Waterlooville continued to attack and Nick Bailey ought to have found the net from a corner, but he skewed his header wide.

With half-time looming, it looked as if the Saints would be able to regroup at the break, but they were dealt a cruel blow in the final minute of the first period.

Kedwell was fouled inside the area by David Diedhiou before stepping up and sending Snedker the wrong way.

Shulton halved the deficit shortly before the hour mark after Andronicos Georgiou burst down the left before cutting back into the box, where the midfielder applied the finishing touch to a goalmouth scramble.

St Albans had a number of chances to level the tie, while some important stops from Snedker kept the scoreline within their reach, but when Jake Flannigan delivered a cross from the right, Ayunga was on hand to turn the ball in from inside the six yard box and restore their two goal advantage.

The Saints could have set up a nervy end to the contest for Havant and Waterlooville when Frankie Musonda was tripped in the box, but Joshua Oyinsan’s spot-kick was saved by Worner before some quick thinking from the Hawks’ defenders smothered the rebounds.