Report – St. Albans City 2 – 1 Wealdstone
2 - 1
Wealdstone suffered an unlikely first defeat of the season after going down1-2 to ten-man St Albans City at Clarence Park on Tuesday evening. Josh Hill opened the scoring for the Stones against his old club before Sam Merson equalised against the run of play.
Tom Bender was shown a straight red for deliberate handball, Elliot Benyon’s resulting penalty hit the post before Zane Banton won the game for the Saints with a moment of magic and despite dominating the game for large periods the Stones took the short journey home empty handed and hugely frustrated.
Gordon Bartlett made two changes to the side that beat Concord Rangers at the weekend. Former Plymouth Argyle midfielder David Ijaha was handed a debut and Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick a full debut as they replaced Ricky Wellard and Dan Fitchett who were switched to the bench.
The game started tightly but with St Albans looking the more likely to make defensive errors. Stones soon started to dominate, playing with confidence and menace and pushing the home defence to breaking point. Bender fluffed his lines clearing a cross before Hippolyte-Patrick thundered a half volley off the crossbar on 26 minutes.
Eight minutes later the Stones finally took a deserved lead. Danny Green whipped in a free-kick to Hill at the far post and the unmarked defender nodded the ball home at the far post.
Just before half time the Saints equalised completely, and, frustratingly, against the run of play. A lapse in concentration allowed Banton to roll the ball through to Merson and he placed it through Jonathan North’s legs.
St Albans were playing on the counter attack and nearly took the lead just four minutes into the half. Hill lost the ball on the edge of the Saints penalty box and they broke with pace finding themselves 4 v 2 on the edge of the area before Solomon Sambou played in Kieran Monlouis but somehow the forward shot wide with the goal gaping.
On 52 minutes the game turned. A low cross was played to Green who shot at goal only for it to be stopped by a fine save. Unfortunately for St Albans the save was from defender Bender, who was then given his marching orders.
Benyon stepped up to take the penalty only for it to smash off the post and Saints cleared. But with the man advantage the game should have turned in Stones’ favour. It didn’t.
Banton gave the hosts the lead after picking up the ball near the halfway line, going on a 30-yard run, beating Hill inside the penalty area before swerving a low shot past North.
Stones worked hard to rally, introducing the attacking options of Fitchett, Wellard and Andrew Osei-Bonsu but they failed repeatedly to create any real clear-cut chances and, amazingly with so much possession, left pointless.
WEALDSTONE: North, Oshodi, Okimo, Ijaha (Wellard 62), Hill, Brown (Osei-Bonsu 83), Hippolyte-Patrick (Fitchett 62), Cox, Benyon, Green, Eisa. Subs not used: Godfrey, Hunt.
By Chris Woods
Post Match Interview with Gordon Bartlett HERE
Herts Advertiser Report HERE