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25.09.2004 at 15:00 York Road Attendance : 258
Maidenhead United
3 - 3
St Albans City
Referee : Mr D Brockwell Conference South-match

C O'Connor (32)
C Elsegood (44)
B Matthews (56)
Lee Clarke (34)
Chris Zoricich (50)
Adam Parker (77)
Opening squads
M Watkins
A Jennings
K McIntosh
C O'Connor
R Saunders
B Matthews
A Dugdale
C Elsegood
B Smith
J Cook
S Hale
Mel Capleton
Chris Seeby
Richard Thomas
Miguel De Souza
Chris Zoricich
Adam Parker
Ranbir Marwa
Gary Wraight
Ben Abbey
Lee Clarke
Ben Walshe
P Gray
J Dreyer
D Elford
B Connor
N Hart
Wesley Jackman
Ben Martin
Adam Smith
Dave Parkinson
Amadou Gerber
None Ben Martin -> Ben Walshe (71)
Dave Parkinson -> Ben Abbey (85)
Yellow cards
McIntosh (4)
Matthews (38)
Elsegood (80)
Gary Wraight (38)
Red cards
None None.
Match report | Preview

Chris Zoricich scores City's second goal
The Saints had to come from behind three times to earn a point against fellow strugglers Maidenhead United in a game where two porous defences allowed plenty of chances for either side to grab much-needed points in their efforts to climb from the lower reaches of the table.

Steve Castle fielded Ben Abbey, signed this week from Gravesend & Northfleet, to partner Lee Clarke up front and there was a recall for popular youngster Chris Seeby at right-back to cover for the suspended Dean Hooper. Matt Hann who has impressed in the last couple of games was injured, and Gary Wraight returned to the midfield.

After 5 successive defeats, Maidenhead have slipped into the relegation zone
and under fire manager John Dreyer's cause was not helped when, after an uneventful 9 minutes with no hint of the drama to come, his prefered centre back pairing of Andy Jennings and skipper Andy Dugdale challenged for the same high ball resulting in a sickening clash of heads. After a 6 minute delay for treatment both had to leave the pitch to be taken to hospital for stitches.

City pressed and the first chances of the game fell to Clarke, a wayward header from a Seeby cross and moments later, having dispossessed a defender on the edge of the box, the Northern Ireland U21 striker delayed his shot allowing Bryan Smith to make a challenge and the ball was safely gathered by the home keeper, Michael Watkins, a triallist for the Saints at the start of the season.

Just after the half hour, a fierce shot from Abbey was parried by Watkins
and Clarke was on hand to put the ball into the net. However, to the surprise of most in the ground, the effort was disallowed by the referree who adjudged Clarke to have fouled the keeper. On 32 minutes, against the
run of play, the Magpies took the lead when Kelvin McIntosh chipped the ball
into space in the City back-line to met by Craig O'Connor with a powerful
shot which gave Mel Capleton no chance.

City equalised within a minute when, from an Abbey free-kick wide on the
right, Clarke found himself alone in front of Watkins with time to pick his
spot from 6 yards.

The tempo increased significantly as both defences were leaving space to be exploited and both keepers showed their mettle. Capleton denied the lively O'Connor with a fine save at full stretch, and moments later, Barrie Mathews volleyed just wide of the visitors post. At the other end, Abbey put Ram Marwa through in space but his shot was pushed wide by Watkins.

Goals were sure to come and Maidenhead took the lead on 43 minutes when
Jamie Cook fed O'Connor on the right who took the ball at pace and hit a
delightful chipped cross to the unmarked Chris Elsegood, another former City triallist, on the far post who scored with a downward header from close range. Just before the half-time whistle, City had another scoring opportunity when Adam Parker freed Clarke who squared the ball to Abbey in space but his goalbound effort was cleared by the head of Elsegood.

City started the scond half the brighter. In the opening moments, Ben Walshe fed Marwa wide on the left and his cross fizzed across the goal eluding the strikers to be safely put behind by Elsegood. Watkins made two fine reaction saves within a minute, first from an Abbey volley and then to block a Clarke effort from point-blank range. The equaliser came on 50 minutes. From a corner on the right, Walshe crossed to the back post and Abbey's header was blocked by Watkins, to fall at the feet of City skipper Chris Zoricich who made no mistake from close range.

At 2-2 the game was swinging in favour of the visitors but 4 minutes later,
Capleton came to the rescue saving superbly from Barrie Mathews after the veteran striker seized upon a howler of an error in the Saints defence. Two minutes later, another defensive error led to the home side's third goal. A through ball should have been cleared by two City heads but the ball was glanced through by Steve Hale to the unmarked Mathews who chipped to beat Capleton's despairing dive.

Chances continued to fall at each end. A fine long range effort from Seeby
was just high. Clarke struck just wide. The Magpies should have put the game out of reach on 66 minutes when Capleton raced from his area but misjudged an attempted clearing header, which was gathered by Hale who hit a short square ball to O'Connor. The striker hit a firm goalbound shot from distance which was deflected onto the crossbar by the head of Richard Thomas.

The game was either side's for the taking, with shots from distance failing to find the target, or being met by the two keepers, both of whom were their sides Man of the Match.

City equalised for the third time on 78 minutes and again the defence was clearly at fault. A good cross from distance found Parker unmarked 12 yards out, who leapt to flick a header over Watkins who had strayed into no mans land too far from his line.

Chances were made at each end but neither side could break the deadlock. A pulsating, high octane game with goalmouth action aplenty ended 3-3 but not one for the purist or for either manager or Chairman, all of whom will regard this result as two points lost rather than one gained.
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