A resurgent Hampton & Richmond Borough became St Albans City’s latest victims in National League South on Saturday as Ian Allinson’s side extended the club’s best start to a season for 109 years with a 2-0 victory at a chilly Beveree.

The Beavers came into the game having scored nine times in their two previous away games, but their suspect home form this season let them down again as City’s fourth consecutive match against top five opposition ended with a fourth successive clean sheet.

A goal in the final minute of each half secured City’s success in the 50th league meeting between the two clubs.

But it was the shut-out at the opposite end of the pitch, which included two more excellent saves by former Hitchin Town goalkeeper Michael Johnson, that laid the foundation for the win that moves City to within two points of the top of the table with games in hand.

The only unbeaten side in all divisions of ‘elite’ football also enjoyed a slice of good fortune when Ru Donaldson, probably incorrectly, had a goal disallowed for offside when the game was still goalless.

St Albans were unchanged from the win at Eastbourne while Hampton were without the influential Charlie Wassmer, injured, and suspended leading goalscorer Niko Muir.

Hampton started the brighter of the two teams and ought to have moved ahead on seven minutes.

Myles Anderson dispossessed Shaun Jeffers and slid a superb ball between James Kaloczi and Michael Clark for Nathan Minhas to race clear, but Muir’s stand-in failed to lift the ball high enough over the sprawling Johnson who deflected the shot wide for a corner.

St Albans struggled to get forward with much conviction during the opening 45 minutes and had a major let off with the disallowed ‘goal’ on 27 minutes.

Jake Gray played the ball out to Ryan Gondoh and from his precise pass through the middle of the City backline Wilson Carvalho got clear but, once inside the penalty area, elected to pass to Donaldson rather than go for goal.

Donaldson was certainly goal-side of his team mate when he stroked the ball into the net but video footage suggests that he was onside when the pass was made.

City forged ahead just before the start of first-half added time. A Tom Bender free-kick was partially cleared back out to the City skipper who quickly touched it onto Zane Banton. Coming inside, Banton chipped a clever pass towards the goalline that Mitchell Weiss brought down with one touch before his second flashed the ball across Alan Julian and into the corner of the net in front of the Alan Simpson Stand.

Boosted by that goal, the visitors gave a better account of themselves after the break and on 53 minutes went close to adding a second goal.

Solomon Nwabuokei and Banton were each involved four times in a slick move before Banton, taking a pass from Shaun Jeffers, darted into the penalty area. The ball ran loose towards Weiss whose powerful shot was beaten away most impressively by the veteran Julian Bender’s header from the ensuing corner was comfortably gathered by Julian.

Johnson showed his class again just after the hour with an excellent diving save to his left when Gondoh looked to have found a way through.

Hampton maintained the pressure until a massive punt downfield by Nwabuokei was seized upon by Jeffers who then worked his way in from the right before forcing Julian to make another good save to his right.

Two minutes before the start of more than seven minutes of added time Hampton squandered a good opportunity when Tyrell Miller-Rodney, latching onto Carvalho’s pass, fired high over Johnson’s goal.

The Beavers were made to pay for that miss seven minutes into added time when the Saints made certain of completing the league double over Gary McCann’s side.

Bender clipped a good ball down the City left to Luke Warner-Eley. The City substitute had space and time to advance into the penalty area and cut a pass back to the edge of the box where Nwabuokei struck a first-time low shot that Julian could only deflect onto the inside of an upright on its way into the net.

City’s points tally is their highest after nine games since 1911 and their unbeaten start to the league campaign is the club’s best for 99 years.

Hampton & Richmond Borough: A.Julian, S.Cox, D.Inman, M.Anderson (C.Smith 77) K.Farrell, T.Miller-Rodney, R.Gondoh, S.Deadfield, J.Gray, R.Donaldson (D.Fisher 73), N.Minhas (W.Carvalho 13), subs not used: M.Bowman, L.Ruddick.

St Albans City: M.Johnson, T.Bender, K.Wiltshire, J.Kaloczi, M.Clark, S.Nwabuokei, S.Jeffers, Z.Banton (L.Warner-Eley 90), M.Weiss (D.Noble 80), M.Sundire (D.Stanley 90), J.Mukena, subs; D.Diedhiou, J.Chidyausiku.