css drop down menu by Css3Menu.com


Change:  Move to:
10.01.2004 @ 15:00 Top Field Attendance : 468
Hitchin Town
1 - 0
St Albans City
Referee : Alison Chapman Ryman Premier League-Match

Goalscorers
Dean McElroy (81) None.
Starting Line-ups
Richard Wilmot
Matt Childs
Leroy Hutton
Ryan Frater
Jon Bone
Mark Coulson
Ryan Nicholl
Kevin Evans
Mark Bridge
Jim Duffy
Stuart Maynard
George Clark
Lee Gledhill
Richard Thomas
Corey Campbell
Miguel De Souza
Gary Wraight
Scott Oakes
Julian Edwards
Graeme Tomlinson
Greg Deacon
Matt Jones
Substitutes
Lance Gentle-King
Dean McElroy
Darren Hay
Mark Burke
Wayne Mills
Wesley Jackman
Jamie Richards
Ben Cogger
Andrew Oxby
Will Davies
Substitutions
Lance Gentle-King -> Mark Coulson (89)
Dean McElroy -> Kevin Evans (64)
Darren Hay -> Jim Duffy (79)
Jamie Richards -> Julian Edwards (46)
Ben Cogger -> Greg Deacon (72)
Yellow cards
None None.
Red cards
None None.
Match report
St Albans City’s dramatic descent from championship challengers of one year ago to relegation fodder twelve months later helped troubled Hitchin Town to ease their own fears of the drop by defeating the Saints for a third time this season at a muddied Top Field on Saturday.

Hitchin, blighted by a succession of player departures since the recent sacking of manager Robbie O’Keefe, should have been the perfect opposition for City to relaunch their bid for a place in the proposed Conference Two next season, instead an outstanding performance by their former keeper Richard Wilmot helped to underline just what a dreadful state St Albans are currently in.

With sub-standard players from lower leagues coming and going at an alarming rate and experienced players failing to show the quality required to assist the younger members it would not be an exaggeration to say that, right now, Steve Castle’s side are in free fall.

Looking to extend their fine record of one defeat in 11 Ryman League matches at Top Field, City gave a debut to Clapton striker Julian Edwards but after a nondescript 45 minutes he was hauled off in favour of Jamie Richards who was surprisingly dropped after scoring twice in City’s win over Aylesbury. Also making his Premier Division debut as a second half substitute was fellow striker Ben Cogger.

On a surface that was a good deal heavier than when the original fixture was ludicrously postponed on New Years Day it was St Albans that started in the more positive frame of mind with Wilmot receiving an early greeting from his former teammates when Miguel De Souza clattered into him.

Undeterred, Wilmot made his first significant save on 15 minutes when going full length to his right to parry a crisp 22 yard drive from Gary Wraight, Edwards was swiftly onto the rebound but his well struck effort was again superbly saved by the diving keeper who excelled to make up ground in a sticky goalmouth.

In a rare Hitchin foray into the City half an excellent first time low cross by one time City trialist Mark Bridge just eluded Ryan Nicholl in front of the visitors goal. Although in control for the remainder of the half City didn’t threaten again until a minute from the break when Scott Oakes curled a fine right footed free kick towards the top corner of Wilmot’s near post but again he was equal to the task and safely clawed the ball around the post.

A minute Edwards ought to have ended Hitchin’s stubborn resistance but the one time Norwich City youngster fired wide when clear on the edge of the penalty area.

Castle boosted City’s attacking power for the second period by pushing De Souza forward from his defensive position and then opted for four up front with the arrival of Cogger. This was fine while City dominated the opening portion of the second half but as Hitchin gained in confidence they were able to exploit gaps that now appeared in the Saints defence.

Three minutes after the restart Wilmot made a good block with his legs from another firm drive by Wraight following a Graeme Tomlinson lay off. Eight minutes later Oakes sent a powerful drive narrowly wide from 25 yards but by now the prospect of a City goal was fast diminishing, indeed it took a well-timed intervention by Richard Thomas to deny Bridge as Hitchin began to threaten.

As Hitchin’s self belief grew Ryan Frater should have put them ahead only to send free header over from a Stuart Maynard corner while George Clark, back in the City goal after two months out through injury, pushed away a low shot from exSaint Maynard.

With just nine minutes remaining Hitchin clinched their first league double over City for 20 years when a Saints attack broke down and Leroy Hutton broke at pace into the City half before setting up Dean McElroy who neatly beat Clark to claim his first goal for the Canaries.

Report by Dave Tavener
Powered by tplSoccerStats 2.3 © 2003 TPL Design
Free Counter