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17.11.2014 at 19:45 Clarence Park Attendance : 344
St Albans City
2 - 3
Referee : Lee Venamore (Maidstone) Vanarama Conference South-match

Joel Nouble (69)
Steve Wales (82)
Michael Richens (13)
Reece Beckles (31)
Phil Page (87)
Opening squads
Joe Welch
Lee Chappell
Ben Martin
Sam Corcoran
John Kyriacou
Ian Gayle
Omar Beckles
Charlie Gorman
Charlie Smith
James Comley
John Frendo
Charlie Grainger
Amadeu Arnau
Oli Treacher
Michael Richens
Darryl Siaw
Lloyd Foot
Aaron Dawson
Harry Grant
Louie Theophanous
Fejiri Okenabirhie
Reece Beckles
Darren Locke
Matt Taylor
Steve Wales
David Keenleyside
Joel Nouble
Phil Page
Dan Bennett
Courtney Fearn
Dan Pearse
David Banjo
Steve Wales -> Charlie Gorman (58)
Joel Nouble -> Sam Corcoran (58)
David Keenleyside -> Charlie Smith (64)
Phil Page -> Louie Theophanous (74)
Dan Bennett -> Reece Beckles (78)
Courtney Fearn -> Fejiri Okenabirhie (88)
Yellow cards
John Frendo (38)
John Kyriacou (39)
Ian Gayle (56)
Aaron Dawson (30)
Harry Grant (34)
Amadeu Arnau (90)
Red cards
Lee Chappell (90)
Match report
A sucker-punch 87th minute deflected shot by Farnborough substitute Phil Page sent St Albans City spinning to a ninth Conference South reversal of the season on Monday, with the Saints lowest home league attendance since January witnessing Farnborough’s 3-2 win.

City took to the pitch with the plaudits still ringing in their ears from their showing at Basingstoke on Saturday, but reality quickly set in as Spencer Day’s side bossed the opening half to gain a two-goal advantage.

St Albans, boosted by goals from substitutes Joel Nouble and Steve Wales, pulled level with eight minutes to go and, at this point, looked set to end a run of poor results at the Park.

But, courtesy of a cruel deflection, City did succumb to another home defeat and can only blame themselves.

City were dreadful prior to half time with their distribution poor and far too many players being anonymous.

Credit, though, has to be given to a new-look Farnborough side that showed the same determination to be first to every ball that City had at Basingstoke. The tables were turned and for an hour St Albans had no reply.

Unsurprisingly, City were unchanged from Saturday and after a cagey opening almost took the lead when Charlie Smith threaded a ball through to the free Sam Corcoran.

The midfielder shot across keeper Charlie Grainger who did well to push the ball away from goal where Omar Beckles sent an improvised back-heeled effort wide.

Farnborough, beaten in each of their previous five Conference South matches, took the lead on 13 minutes and received an unwitting helping hand from City skipper Ben Martin.

The giant defender failed to control a misguided flick by Boro midfielder Harry Grant and handed possession to Michael Richens, who quickly found the lively Fejiri Okenabirhie.

The no.10 slipped a return pass inside to the now unmarked Richens and, from an angle, the on-loan Peterborough United player drove a right-footed shot past the surprised Joe Welch.

City hit back with a speculative effort by John Frendo from around 30 yards that drifted a couple of yards wide of Grainger’s goal.

Frendo’s opportunist effort failed to stir City into life and Farnborough were soon back on the attack with former Staines Town striker Louie Theophanous wasting a clear opening following good work by Okenabirhie and Reece Beckles.

The second Farnborough goal, on 31 minutes, seemed to sum up City’s performance thus far.

The ball pinged about in midfield like a pinball before it was hoisted over the home defence.

Welch rushed towards the edge of his penalty area to collect but, realising that he was about to step out of the area, threw on the brakes only to slip and fall ungraciously to the ground.

Before the keeper could recover Beckles nipped forward and ran in the second goal.

City’s best chance of the half saw James Comley do well to shrug off Amadeu Arnau and Oli Treacher by the touchline before cutting along the goalline and squeezing the ball into the six yard box, where Martin was just unable to apply to decisive touch.

Another chance went begging when Smith curled a free kick deep into the Boro penalty area only for Martin, Omar Beckles and Comley to all miss the ball.

Frendo collected a booking for dissent on 38 minutes but appeared to have a good case when he looked to be impeded by Farnborough skipper Lloyd Foot as he tried a pot-shot from 25 yards.

A minute later Beckles should have added a third goal when Richens, from out on the left touchline, delivered an excellent free kick to the far post that Beckles meekly headed wide when the goal was at his mercy.

There was a lengthy delay right at the end of the half when a cross by Lee Chappell, that had curled out of play then back in, was flicked onto the crossbar by Grainger who, as he fell into the goal, pulled the net from stanchion.

Running repairs by the City secretary Steve Eames helped get play underway again.

The half, which had become increasingly scrappy, ended encouragingly for City with three corners in quick succession, the third of which saw Omar Beckles glance a header wide from Smith’s cross.

Playing down the slope for the second half, Farnborough threatened more damage with Richens having two shots charged down before Okenabirhie blazed over.

Either side of the hour, City used all of their three substitutes, and joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds will be gratified to know that the moves were a success with two of the three new faces getting on the score sheet.

A familiar long throw by Chappell was headed away only as far as Frendo, and when he was tackled on the 18-yard line by Theophanous, David Keenleyside clipped the loose ball a yard or so over the bar.

On 69 minutes City’s increasing presence in the game was rewarded with a somewhat soft goal.

Martin, standing 15 yards inside his own half, struck a free kick across the pitch to Keenleyside who quickly hooked it down the left to Chappell.

The left-back hit a fine volley towards the centre of the penalty area and when Foot missed the ball Nouble slid in to tuck away his first goal for the club.

Buoyed by that strike, Nouble proved a real handful for the visitor’s defence during the closing stages.

And it was Nouble who sailed past Darryl Siaw before his low cross was partially cleared to Comley who touched the ball to Keenleyside. With a well-controlled shot the City substitute forced Grainger to go full stretch to save.

At last City were stringing some passes together and Farnborough began to look ragged.

Frendo’s search for his first league goal at the Park in open play since August should have ended on 72 minutes, but after chesting down Chappell’s cross the striker slashed a poor shot well wide with his less reliable right foot.

Chappell tested Grainger direct from a free kick while another set piece on 82 minutes led to the City equaliser.

Chappell floated the ball towards the back post where Grainger rose to collect but was clattered into by the solid frame of the jumping Martin.

Somewhat surprisingly referee Lee Venamore allowed play to go on and as Richens and Frendo challenged for the falling ball it bounced kindly to Steve Wales who duly thumped his eighth goal of the season into the York Road net.

St Albans appeared to have avoided defeat and a home win was now very much on the cards.

Wales added much needed penetration down the City right and was next involved in a move that saw Comley burst between three players and cut a pass back to the stretching Keenleyside, who scooped his shot wide.

City looked to build another attack on 87 minutes but when Martin miscued a pass to Boro defender Arnau the visitors counter-attacked in force.

Arnau powered his way forward past Martin and Ian Gayle before having a powerful shot beaten away by Welch.

Still Arnau went on to regain the loose ball and laid a pass through a crowded penalty area, where it ran on to Page whose fierce drive from 19 yards clipped the lunge of Kyriacou and flew over Welch’s dive into the Hatfield Road goal.

The frustration in the City camp was clear, and when Page delayed the taking of a free kick Chappell kicked him from behind and wasted no time in heading for the dressing room as the referee sent him packing.

Welch used his legs well to deny Page a second goal while Frendo and Wales were out of luck when trying to turn in a Beckles header following a Comley free kick.

The defeat leaves City in eighth place in Conference South and this coming Saturday, 22nd November, they entertain fifth in the table Havant & Waterlooville. Kick off at Clarence Park is at 3pm.

There has been plenty of transfer movement from the Park in recent days with several players moving on.

Geoff Mitchell has signed for Canvey Island, although there may be a question over the legality of the move as St Albans did not receive a seven-day approach from the Islanders.

Danny Green, having played for Sandridge Rovers at the weekend, is set for a spell with Hitchin Town.

Greg Ngoyi had been linked to a move back to St Albans but has now signed for Harrow Borough.

Darren Locke is unable for the next couple of weeks due to a long-booked holiday, while Sean Shields loan period is due to end after the Havant match on Saturday.

Second choice keeper Tom Coulton is likely to be out of action at least until December after an operation on a thumb injury.

Chappell is facing a probable three-match ban for his dismissal against Farnborough.
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