Boosted by a double blast from Shaun Jeffers, St Albans City maintained their unbeaten start to the season when overturning a two-goal deficit to see off Ebbsfleet United 3-2 in a lively National League South encounter at Clarence Park on Saturday.

City looked to be down and out as German coach Dennis Kutrieb’s side opened up a two-goal advantage within the opening half-an-hour and had generally kept City at arms-length to that point.

A wonderful header by Mitchell Weiss hauled City back into contention and within three minutes Jeffers had pulled the sides level. Woeful marking just prior to the hour allowed Jeffers to head home the winner.

Saints manager Ian Allinson made three change from the midweek FA Cup penalty shoot-out win over Mickleover. James Kaloczi, absent through suspension, was replaced by Joy Mukena, while Luke Warner-Eley and David Noble made way for Dave Diedhiou and Weiss.

The opening exchanges suggested that it would be an open, attack-minded 90 minutes, although neither goalkeeper was tested during this time.

Kyran Wiltshire fired just over the York Road goal for the home side while Ben Chapman was way off target at the opposite end of the pitch. Another Fleet foray saw Reece Grant spin swiftly before shooting low across Michael Johnson’s goal and just wide of the ‘keeper’s left hand upright.

Grant gave Johnson more problems in the 21st minute when breaking into the penalty area and was adjudged to have been brought down by the former Hitchin custodian. Rakish Bingham confidently struck the resulting spot kick into the Hatfield Road net.

Six minutes later and City’s cause began to look hopeless. Ebbsfleet were in control at this point and when Charlie Rowan played the ball forward for Jack Paxman to cleverly flick it through the middle of the home defence Grant darted clear to fire in his first goal of the season.

Before the game restarted City captain Tom Bender was given orders to make some positional changes and what inspirational alterations they proved to be as, gradually, City grabbed the upper hand.

Devante Stanley, pushed forward after starting the afternoon at right-back, shot well wide after going on a long run while Jeffers clipped a free-kick just wide of Tom Hadler’s right-hand post.

Stanley’s keenness to get forward paid rich dividends on 38 minutes when his cross from the City right found Weiss. Having peeled clear of Fleet defender Rowan, Weiss sent an excellent downward header across Hadler and into the net for his first goal since joining the Saints from Kings Langley.

Three minutes later and City were back on level terms. Mukena won the ball well ten yards inside the City half and got it forward to Zane Banton who opened up the Fleet back line with a delightful low through ball.

Jeffers did well to beat the outrushing Hadler to the ball and prod it goalwards. Hadler spread himself on the edge of the box but could not deny the former Chelmsford man his first league goal of the season.

Having gone three games without a forward getting his name on the scoresheet, St Albans were now causing the Fleet serious problems, although it was the visitors, following a good run and cross by Adam Mekki, who almost snatched the lead right on half-time.

Having ended the first half strongly, St Albans continued to offer the greater threat as they attacked down the slope following the interval. That said, good chances were at a premium at either end until a flurry of goalmouth activity towards the end that kept both keepers busy.

But it was City, on 58 minutes, who were next to find the target, as they came from two-down in a home league game to win for the first time since March 2012.

An attack down the left looked to be breaking down until Sundire returned the ball to Banton whose cross was headed to the right of the static Hadler by the unchallenged Jeffers from about eight yards out.

United fleetingly offered some threat to City’s lead – substitute Iffy Allen shot wastefully out of the ground when well placed – but it took two saves in quick succession by Hadler to deny Munashe Sundire and Weiss from extending the Saints advantage.

On 79 minutes Johnson made a fine save to his right to beat out a crisp effort from Alfie Eagan following a cut-back by Allen.

In the closing stages – extended by over seven minutes due to some frustrating City timewasting – Fleet saw their best chance go begging when the always lively Taylor drove a low cross in front of Johnson’s goal only for Bingham’s close-range effort at the back post to be blocked by the diving ‘keeper.

City had not previously scored three times in the 25 other meetings between the two clubs but only a good save by Hadler from Weiss late on denied the Saints a fourth.

Referee Oliver Mackey, on his first visit to Clarence Park, received no lack of criticism from the visitors and after the final whistle the Fleet’s manager was shown a yellow card to go with six other players – three from each side – booked earlier in the day.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, D.Stanley, T.Bender, K.Wiltshire, S.Nwabuokei, S.Jeffers (J.Chidausiku 87), Z.Banton (L.Warner-Eley 90), D.Diedhiou, M.Weiss (Onokwai 90), M.Sundire, J.Mukena. Subs not used: M.Clark, M.Dara.

Ebbsfleet United: T.Hadler, BJ Taylor, S.Kahraman, A.Mekki (I.Allen 59), J.Payne, R.Bingham, W.Wood, R.Grant (A.Egan 60), J.Paxman, B.Chapman (G.Cundle 74), C.Rowan. Subs not used: B.Frempah, J.Holmes.