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05.12.2015 at 15:00 Clarence Park Attendance : 421
St Albans City
3 - 0
Referee : Matthew Buonassisi (Northampton) Varnarama National League South-match

Louie Theophanous (57)
Harry Crawford (59)
Sam Corcoran (89)
Opening squads
Joe Welch
Lee Chappell
Ben Martin
Sam Corcoran
Ben Nunn
Tom Bender
Darren Locke
Billy Gibson
James Comley
Louie Theophanous
Harry Crawford
Nikki Bull
Glenn Wilson
Nathan Green
David Hunt
Jake Goodman
Charlie Wassmer
Kane Wills
Matthew Johnson
Freddie Ladapo
Danny Green
Sean Shields
Scott Thomas
Jernade Meade
Kevin Krans
Luke Allen
Jonathan Edwards
Lewis Taylor
Brett Johnson
Jamie Taylor
Christian Jolley
Jamie Stuart
Jonathan Edwards -> Harry Crawford (69)
Kevin Krans -> Jonathan Edwards (78)
Jernade Meade -> Billy Gibson (79)
Danny Green -> Lewis Taylor (63)
Glenn Wilson -> Christian Jolley (63)
Yellow cards
Lee Chappell (25)
James Comley (26)
Darren Locke (64)
Sam Corcoran (81)
Red cards
None. None
Match report
St Albans City may be in limbo while the appointment of a new manager is debated, but struggling Margate felt the full force of a City resurgence under caretaker-boss Harry Wheeler, as the Saints strolled to a 3-0 National League South victory at Clarence Park on Saturday.

The defeat had serious repercussions for Gate manager Terry Brown and his assistant Stuart Cash – the latter manager of St Albans for two games in November 2004 – as the duo parted company with the Kent club shortly after the final whistle.

With Margate rumoured to have one of the highest budgets in the Division the duo are thought to have been walking on thin ice for some time and Saturday’s reversal proved to be one too many.

Prior to the game a fierce wind looked likely to grab the headlines but, in the end, it was a man-made whirlwind that blew Margate away on a day when all of the bottom three sides gained maximum points.

Playing into the wind during the opening 45 minutes City will have been satisfied to go in at half time on level terms. But that position was only possible thanks to match-turning penalty save by the Saints outstanding goalkeeper Joe Welch.

With the wind to their backs after the interval City avoided the frequent mistake Margate had made earlier in the day by over-hitting too many through balls and looking on as it gathered pace and ran out of play.

Wheeler, buoyant after a 5-0 county cup success in his first match in charge, persisted with playing captain Lee Chappell on the left of the midfield while Tom Bender, on his home debut, shone again at left-back.

Wheeler also, bravely perhaps, kept faith in striker Harry Crawford when Jonathan Edwards, scorer of two goals in the midweek cup success at Oxhey Jets, was pressing hard for his league debut.

Edwards did, eventually, replace Crawford but not before the no.10 had fired City into a two-goal league.

For Edwards though, his home debut was brief as he lasted just nine minutes before succumbing to a hamstring injury.

Included in the Gate line up were new loan signings from Ebbsfleet United Matt Johnson and former Saint Sean Shields.

Also in the Margate starting XI were other one-time City players Nathan Green and Danny Green.

Margate kicked off playing up the slope towards the York Road goal and had the better of the early exchanges, not that City were ever overrun.

The first chance of the game came Margate’s way following a long throw by Johnson but Charlie Wassmer’s shot was blocked by the chest of James Comley.

The Saints first threat to Nikki Bull’s goal saw an audacious effort from over 40 yards by the excellent Ben Nunn drift a few yards wide of the target.

A good spell of pressure by the visitors saw Welch make his first save of the day to keep out a low drive by Freddie Ladapo while Kane Wills toe-poked a tame effort wide.

Other than for the penalty miss, Ladapo also missed the clearest of the chances created by Margate.

A good run down the right by Wills ended with his cross being cut out by Ben Martin, the ball ran to Ladapo but the striker carelessly slashed the ball high over the goal, out of the ground and into the Clarence Park sensory garden.

St Albans hit back immediately with a crisply struck Billy Gibson free kick from out on the City right being headed just over at the back post by Chappell.

After a quiet start, Shields began to make his mark on the game when cutting in from the left and firing low towards the near post, where Welch saved with minimal fuss.

On 29 minutes Shields made another run at the City defence with his cross from close to the goalline by being blocked by Nunn’s right hand. Technically, referee Matthew Buonassisi was correct, but the decision to award a penalty was harsh.

Ladapo struck the resulting spot kick powerfully to Welch’s right but the City keeper guessed correctly to save a penalty for the first time in 15 months.

Looking to avoid a third successive league defeat, Welch’s save provided just the boost St Albans needed and now they started taking the game to Brown’s boys.

Sam Corcoran, another Saint in sparkling form, played a ball up to Theophanous who superbly turned two defenders before seeing his drive from close on 30 yards beaten away by the diving Bull.

And Gate skipper Bull was soon back in the thick of the action to turn a long range effort from Comley out for a corner after it had bounced awkwardly just in front of him.

City began the second half encouragingly with Bender being shut out following a long throw by Chappell.

Margate responded with one of their pressing moves of the day.

Johnson was blocked on the edge of the home penalty area, the ball ricocheted wide to Shields whose driven low cross clipped the legs of Martin and ran enticingly across the face of the City goal.

Ten minutes into the half Billy Gibson slipped when taking a corner on the City left, but the ball still bounced its way towards the near post where Comley attempted a back-heeled shot that looped over the crossbar.

But a minute later and there was no escape for the Gate as City, attacking the York Road end in the second half for the ninth time in their eleven home games this season, moved into the lead.

Comley won the ball off Johnson on the halfway line and swept a pass wide to Gibson on the left.

Gibson appeared to miscue his pass into the penalty area but Theophanous seized possession and, after going wide of Jake Goodman, fired left-footed across Bull for his 12th goal of the season.

Two minutes later, the 59th, and City were well on the way to victory with a second goal.

Chappell broke up a Margate attack and laid the ball back to Corcoran who cut the Gate open with a perfect pass of some 50 yards to Gibson.

With a cushioned touch Gibson sent Theophanous scampering away before he touched a pass square pass to Crawford who, with his second touch, shot low to Bull’s left for his first goal at the Park.

Now Margate did appear a beaten side and on 89 minutes St Albans equalled their biggest home league win of the season with a third goal that City will struggle to better all season.

With some clever skills Shields sent Wills away but Nunn stepped across to launch a City counter-attack.

Nunn played the ball up to substitute Jernade Meade who quickly slipped it inside to Corcoran.

From 15 yards inside his own half Corcoran moved forward unchallenged at a gentle pace before indulging himself in a couple of step-overs and a cracking shot from around 25 yards that left Bull rooted to the spot, as it flew high to his right and into the net via the underside of the crossbar.

St Albans remain just one place off the foot of the National League South table but Havant & Waterlooville and now managerless Margate are just two points above them.

City are without a game next weekend but return to league duty on 15th December with the visit of Maidenhead United to Clarence Park.

The Saints will almost certainly have a new manager in situ by then but the prospect of Harry Wheeler, 26, being the man at the helm appear to have receded with St Albans thought to be looking at managers with greater experience than the City coach who is also a full-time coach with Dagenham & Redbridge.
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