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Welcome to saintsstatistics.co.uk - this site lists every match St Albans City F.C. has played since it’s formation in 1908.
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08.03.2008 at 15:00 Clarence Park Attendance : 404
St Albans City
4 - 1
Basingstoke Town
Referee : Simon Ross (Boston) Blue Square South-match

Goalscorers
Paul Bruce (pen.) (21)
Paul Hakim (46)
Wasiu Akanni Sunday (55)
Paul Bruce (60)
James Taylor (58)
Opening squads
Paul Bastock
Hassan Sulaiman
Hasim Deen
Scott Cousins
Luke Thurlbourne
Ben Martin
Ryan Frater
Paul Bruce
Paul Hakim
Lee Clarke
Wasiu Akanni Sunday
Nick Jones
Tyron Smith
Tom Bird
Jason Bristow
Joe Dolan
Ben Townsend
Ben Wells
David Tarpey
Michael Charles
James Taylor
David Cates
Substitutes
Marcel McKie
Simon Martin
Jonathan Hunt
Hamsa Twomey
Austin Byfield
Matthew Neems
Chris Waller
Mark Vockins
Substitutions
Jonathan Hunt -> Hasim Deen (68)
Simon Martin -> Wasiu Akanni Sunday (74)
Hamsa Twomey -> Paul Hakim (84)
Matthew Neems -> David Cates (52)
Chris Waller -> Ben Townsend (80)
Yellow cards
Hasim Deen (11)
Luke Thurlbourne (44)
Tyron Smith (41)
Red cards
None. None
Match report
BASINGSTOKE TOWN did their bit to aid St Albans City's quest for Blue Square South salvation by releasing a number of senior players during the week due to financial constraints, and the Saints were only too happy to take full advantage at a blustery Clarence Park on Saturday by recording a long overdue second home win of the season with Paul Bruce, for the second successive week, scoring twice during a one-sided 4-1 victory.
In coasting to a second three-goal win in a row, City oozed confidence. Steve Castle's side played no shortage of precise passing football and were rewarded with their biggest home league win for two years, and yet Castle was understandably disappointed that the margin was not greater.
City were not without problems of their own as a twisted right ankle picked up by James Fisher in training on Thursday ruled out the right back who has made an excellent impression during his short time with the Saints.
The versatile Hasim Deen switched to cover for Fisher with Lee Clarke being given his first start in five games, and the deposed City captain revelled in his midfield role as he gave his most commanding performance of the season thus far.
The game was lively from the start and it was soon evident that City had their tails up following on from the 3-0 win at Weston-super-Mare the previous weekend, a weakened Basingstoke side was soon on the back foot.
Even so, it was the ‘Stoke who almost drew first blood with the troublesome James Taylor heading over from Ben Wells’ fourth minute corner. Two minutes later the debut making Basingstoke keeper Nick Jones, snapped up from Wessex League side Lymington, had his first moment of concern as Wasiu Sunday drilled the ball low across the face of the goal following a throw-in by the outstanding Deen.
The pressure was maintained with Hassan Sulaiman, Clarke and Paul Hakim combining to free Bruce whose crisp drive was blocked in the goalmouth by Tom Bird. After the ball was scrambled out for a corner Bruce swung the ball perfectly into the goalmouth for Deen to head home only for a foul on the keeper to terminate the celebrations.
Basingstoke travelled to St Albans on the back of a six match winless run and had conceded three or more goals four times during that spell, and already their backline appeared brittle as City pushed forward. Given their recent traumas the visitors could have done without referee Stephen Ross intervening to hand City a crucial penalty on 22 minutes.
Scott Cousins played the ball down the left flank to Bruce whose cross in to the Hatfield Road penalty area was not one of his better deliveries but being about a metre off the ground it tempted Jason Bristow to lean forward and be judged to block the ball with his upper arm.
That handball was a replica of the second spot kick City won at Weston, but Bruce’s finish bore no relation to his efforts in Somerset as this time he placed the ball low to Jones right as the keeper fell to his left.
Although on the back foot Basingstoke provided the occasional threat on the home goal but when two potentially dangerous crosses were plucked from the air with great authority by the ageless Paul Bastock the visitors spirits wilted visibly.
A fine move by Sunday, Clarke and Deen cut Stoke open only for Hakim to lob the ball easily within the reach of Jones. Basingstoke were ripped apart again moments later with Hakim sending Sunday and Sulaiman through the middle only for the out-rushing Jones to just beat the pair of them to the ball.
City had one more decent chance before the interval when Clarke fed Sulaiman whose deep cross was met with a sumptuous volley by Bruce only for Joe Dolan to head away in spectacular fashion from virtually on the goalline. But it was Basingstoke who ended the half on the attack with several forays into the home penalty area.
David Torpey took a short pass from Tyron Smith and fired a volley at Bastock that dipped awkwardly in front of the keeper who gathered it with minimal fuss. Bastock had a more uncomfortable time when a loose headed back pass by the otherwise solid Ryan Frater almost let in Michael Charles while in added time an inswinging Smith free kick was headed wastefully over the top from close in by Taylor.
The second half saw City dominate in a fashion not seen since the promotion season of 2005-06, and whilst the opposition may have their problems credit must be given to the Saints for the quality of their approach play and general passing.
Basingstoke were undone just 44 seconds into the second half as City moved closer to three vital points with a clinical second goal. Sulaiman, attacking the York Road goal down the Saints right flank, played the ball along the edge of the penalty area. As Bristow appeared to hesitate Hakim moved across the central defender, took the ball on his chest and thundered a fine finish past the helpless Jones.
Having struggled to find his touch during the opening half Hakim was now on fire and led the Stoke defence a merry dance as City threatened to score a hatful. That said, a slip by Frater allowed Taylor to break away down the right on 49 minutes. A goal beckoned as Taylor crossed to the back post but the chance went begging when Torpey attempted an adventurous scissor kick but only succeeded in completely miscuing the ball and letting City off the hook.
Chances were now coming at a rate of knots with Clarke firing wide after an excellent dummy by Hakim from Sulaiman’s cut back, but on 55 minutes City did find the net for a third time. Again a Hakim dummy was instrumental as it created space for Sulaiman to get in a shot that was blocked with the rebound falling kindly to Sunday who duly opened his account with a vicious drive past Jones.
Basingstoke received good support from a reasonable following throughout the game and on the hour the supporters loyalty was rewarded with Taylor beating Bastock with a fine header following Smith’s perfectly placed free kick from 40 yards.
A minute later and City came so close to regaining a three-goal advantage as the eye catching Luke Thurlbourne exchanged passes with Hakim, with whom he linked superbly throughout the second half, only to see his low shot deflected within a whisker of the target by the sprawling keeper.
The respite proved preciously brief though for Basingstoke as Jones’ save merely sparked a run of three successive corners for the Saints with the final one leading to the fourth goal.
Bruce, on the City right, played a short corner to Sulaiman before darting round his team-mate to accept the return pass. Bruce then unleashed a powerful cross that flew over the heads of crowded penalty area and inside Jones’ right hand upright for his fourth goal in two games. The goalscorer had the decency to admit to his colleagues after the game that the shot was indeed intended as a cross.
It seemed impossible that Basingstoke would escape without any further damage but having the rare comfort of a three-goal cushion Castle felt sufficiently satisfied to use all three substitutes and possibly slightly ease the pressure on the Hampshire clubs goal.
City’s passing during the final 30 minutes was exemplary, whether going forward, backwards or sideways St Albans found their target with ease but without being overly critical maybe a chance to improve the goal difference was possibly missed.

Report by David Tavener
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