St Albans City rang the changes for Saturdayâ€™s Conference South fixture against Concord Rangers and were rewarded with an attack-minded performance that clinched a 2-0 victory over Danny Cowleyâ€™s Beach Boys.
City made five changes from the previous Saturdayâ€™s defeat to Boreham Wood, and with the pacy Michael Malcolm and Jamal Lowe joining John Frendo in attack the Saints were positive from the off and fully deserving of the three points.
There was some concern as to whether the game would go ahead due to the bottom section of the pitch, the Hatfield Road end, being hard following a sharp overnight frost. The match was given the all clear but when club officials were unable to remove ice from the terrace that bottom area was shut off to supporters.
St Albans looked to have made an early breakthrough in the bright winter sunshine that had replaced a morning snowfall.
When Concord struggled to clear a Lee Chappell throw, Sam Corcoran curled a perfect cross to the back post where Frendo headed firmly against the crossbar.
Frendo pounced on the rebound and drove in a low shot that was knocked off the goalline by Jeremy Walker only for Malcolm to score with a diving header.
But the former Stockport County striker was unable to celebrate, at least at this time, a goal on his Conference South debut due to Ernie Mooreâ€™s raised flag for offside.
Concord responded well and worked several good moves without seriously testing Joe Welch on his return to the City side after missing three games due to a health scare.
But during a high tempo first half City were soon pressing forward again with James Kaloczi and the in-form Howard Hall setting up Frendo for a snap shot that went just wide.
Malcolmâ€™s wait for his first Conference South goal ended after just 13 minutes when his perfectly timed run saw him latch onto Frendoâ€™s astute through ball, beat the offside trap, and slide a right-footed shot wide of the advancing â€˜keeper Josh Vickers.
Concord responded well to the early setback and made a good contribution to an entertaining opening 45 minutes, but created only two serious attempts on the home goal.
The first saw Welch save in comfort from Steve Cawley, while the second saw the City keeper get down well to force a close range shot from Lewis Taaffe over the crossbar.
City strengthened their position on 32 minutes when Kaloczi, who was outstanding in midfield during the first half, headed the ball down the right hand side of the penalty area to Malcolm, who quickly moved it inside the box towards Lowe.
But after taking one touch Lowe was sent sprawling by Matt Fryâ€™s mistimed challenge. Frendo sent Vickers the wrong way from the penalty spot to claim his 15th goal of the season and eighth in the league.
City were happy to take a two-goal advantage into the break and seldom looked like surrendering their position during a less cohesive second period.
That said, a third goal would have settled the nerves and Vickers had to get down smartly to smother a fine opportunist shot by the City captain Chappell.
Frendo had a golden opportunity to put the game out of the reach of the Beach Boys on 66 minutes when referee Steven Plane, somewhat generously from Cityâ€™s point of view, awarded the home side a second penalty for a foul by Sam Collins on Frendo, as the two players tussled for a bouncing ball.
Frendo stopped twice in his run-up to take the resulting penalty and justice was probably done when Vickers saved not only the spot kick but also Frendoâ€™s follow up.
Concord broke at speed following Vickersâ€™ second save, but the unfortunate Collins found that good fortune was still not on his side when he dived into the goalmouth but was unable to keep his header below the crossbar.
A flowing move Hall and Corcoran work the ball up and across the pitch to City substitute Manny (Immanuel) Soetan, but the former Banbury and Bashley striker, who most recently has been playing in Australia for Shepperton United, shot straight at Vickers after cutting inside.
Collins was out of luck again for the visitors when a patient passing build up ended with his low shot towards the near post being very well held by the diving by Welch.
St Albans launched an excellent counter-attack late in the game with Frendo helping Hallâ€™s lengthy clearance onto Lowe.
The former Barnet player was denied low down by Vickers who then got to his feet quickly to keep out Charlie Smithâ€™s follow up effort.
City saw out the remaining time with minimal fuss, and at the final whistle celebrated their 100th victory in Conference South in the company of around 13 supporters of VfR Wormatia Worms, the football club from St Albans twin town in Germany.
The win keeps St Albans in tenth place in Conference South, just four points outside the play-off positions.
The Saints next fixture is on Saturday, 24th January when they will be looking to complete the league double over Maidenhead United. Kick off at York Road, Maidenhead, is at 3pm.