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12.03.2016 @ 15:00 York Road (Maidenhead) Attendance : 188
Hayes & Yeading United
1 - 3
St Albans City
Referee : Daniel Cook (Waterlooville) Varnarama National League South-Match

Goalscorers
Ismael Ehud (79) Charlie MacDonald (8)
Louie Theophanous (32)
Harry Anderson (58)
Starting Line-ups
James Hamon
Elliott Simpson
Max Worsfold
Colin Mugoya
Darren Purse
Olumide Durojaiye
Luke Williams
Ashley Lodge
Elliot Benyon
Tom Collins
Shepherd Murombedzi
Joe Welch
Lee Chappell
Ben Martin
Harry Anderson
Tom Bender
Edward Oshodi
Josh Staunton
Louie Theophanous
Charlie MacDonald
Simon Thomas
Michael Thalassitis
Substitutes
Ismael Ehui
Rouke Pickford
Cole Brown
James Taylor
Matt Sinclair
Emmanuel Udoji
Darren Locke
Billy Gibson
Kevin Krans
Lee Allinson
Substitutions
Ismael Ehui -> Tom Collins (58)
Cole Brown -> Luke Williams (77)
Billy Gibson -> Michael Thalassitis (87)
Kevin Krans -> Louie Theophanous (90)
Yellow cards
Colin Mugoya (65) None.
Red cards
None None.
Match report
After a wait of six long months St Albans City finally secured a second away National League South victory of the season and the timing of Saturday’s success could hardly have been better, as an impressive 3-1 win over Hayes & Yeading United has given the Saints genuine hope of avoiding the drop.

Three wins in four games may not have moved the Saints out of the relegation places but the resurgence has greatly increased the number of clubs peering over their shoulders wary of what is going on just behind them.

If Ian Allinson’s side can maintain their current form throughout the final eight games then there is every reason to be optimistic that St Albans can pull off a remarkable escape act.

Saturday’s success over Hayes & Yeading United at Maidenhead United’s York Road ground was no mean feat, as Garry Haylock’s side had been in good form of late and moved themselves clear of the relegation dogfight.

But that good form counted for nothing in welcome spring sunshine as they were made to look second best all afternoon.

City, 3-0 winners in this fixture on the final day of last season, took just eight minutes to close in on their first away league win since early September.

Goalkeeper Joe Welch pumped a long kick down that park that Michael Thalassitis challenged for but the ball sailed past him and on to Charlie MacDonald, who immediately laid a pass into the path of the outstanding Harry Anderson.

The teenager played the ball out to the left to Louie Theophanous whose left footed cross was headed home from point blank range by MacDonald.

Once ahead St Albans never appeared remotely likely to loosen their grip on the game and a most mediocre Hayes side was fortunate to escape with such a relatively small reversal.

One of the reasons for City winning by just two goals was the wayward finishing of Thalassitis. The former Stevenage striker got into several good positions but the clinical strike he provided that paved the way for City’s midweek win over Weston-super-Mare eluded him at York Road.

However, regardless of the chances taken, St Albans did threaten the home goal on a regular basis.


Theophanous sent an enticing free kick bouncing across the face of James Hamon’s goalmouth, while good work by Anderson and Thalassitis won a corner that Ben Martin headed wide.

Fortune was on Hamon’s side when MacDonald blocked a clearance by the United keeper only for the ball to bounce and spin back into his grateful arms.

MacDonald linked well with Theophanous on 25 minutes but the latter’s shot sailed high and wide.

City’s first half display came close to mirroring their second half midweek show and every time Hayes repelled an attack the Saints would regain possession and push forward once again, more goals had to come.

Twice Hayes tried to end one attack when Eddie Oshodi – who was in exceptionally good form – dispossessed Max Worsfold inside the penalty area and crossed low for MacDonald to stab the ball just wide at the near post.

On 32 minutes a measure of justice was added to the scoreline as St Albans moved into a two-goal lead with a superb effort.

Poor control by Colin Mugoya led to a rushed pass across the pitch that was seized upon by Anderson who quickly moved the play up to MacDonald.

Controlling the ball with his back to goal the veteran striker twisted and flicked a pass of pure class through the centre of the home defence for Theophanous to run onto and drive right-footed shot across Hamon for his 16th goal of the season.

With just over a third of the game gone the difference in the two teams was stark.

In defence City were dominant while Hayes were jittery, and in attack City were free flowing and inventive whereas the home side could create little but chase lost causes.

Five minutes from the break Hayes did apply some pressure with City defender Josh Staunton doing well to block a shot by Ashley Lodge whose next effort dipped high over Welch’s goal.

St Albans appeared to have added a third goal on 40 minutes when MacDonald fired to the right of Hamon but the striker was deemed, somewhat harshly it seemed, to have strayed offside before shooting home.

The home side should still have turned around three-down but were let off by a remarkable close range miss by Thalassitis following good work by Anderson and MacDonald.

Right on half time Hayes survived another close shave when Thalassitis beat on-loan Exeter City keeper Hamon to a Lee Chappell corner but United captain Lodge hooked the loose ball away before either Tom Bender or Theophanous could force it home.

Playing down the slope in the second half Hayes adopted a far more positive attitude but a good opportunity to quickly reduce the deficit was lost when Luke Williams and former Saint Elliot Benyon both failed to turn in Mugoya’s clever chipped ball into the penalty area.

But once City had seen off United’s brief fightback they again took control and ought to have added a third when Theophanous, after being picked out by Martin’s well flighted free kick, cut the ball back to Thalassitis who again failed to hit the target when well placed.

But Hayes’ relief was short-lived as City did finally grab another goal of individual brilliance on 58 minutes.

The vastly experienced Darren Purse headed away a lofted ball by Oshodi but with the ball going straight to Anderson out on the right City were once more looking to attack.

The on-loan Peterborough United winger cut in from the flank, drifted inside Purse and drove a clinical left-footed shot to the right of Hamon from 19 yards for his first National League South goal.

The kick-off was delayed as Purse got into a spat with MacDonald and followed that by grabbing a part of Bender’s anatomy that is not usually grappled with during a game, but referee Daniel Cook let Purse off with nothing more than a warning.

Five minutes later the match official had to calm both benches after a war of words broke out and on 65 minutes Theophanous was possibly lucky to be shown just a yellow card when bringing his leg down onto the head of Mugoya following a heavy challenge by the Hayes midfielder.

This time Purse was peacemaker as he hauled Mugoya out of a dramatic 17-man scrum, but it failed to save his team-mate from being booked.

Midway through the half a swift City move started by Bender, who enjoyed a good 90 minutes, and carried on by Thalassitis and Theophanous, ended with Hamon diving to his right to keep out MacDonald’s shot from 25 yards.

Hamon made another good save to beat away a fierce drive from Scott Thomas, from just four yards out MacDonald put the rebound wide but was also flagged offside.

Hayes, beaten just once in their previous seven games, reduced the arrears on 79 minutes when substitute Ismael Ehui hammered home an excellent volley from eight yards after Welch had finger-tipped Wordsold’s effort from 30 yards onto the crossbar.

It was rare moment of enjoyment for Worsfold who had spent much of the afternoon watching Anderson going flying past him.

City comfortably saw out the remaining time and on 87 minutes replaced Thalassitis with Billy Gibson. His shortcomings in front of goal aside, Thalassitis had given one of his best performances since joining St Albans at the end of January.

The points were safe but City could have emphasised their superiority during added time had any of Theophanous, Gibson or MacDonald accepted chances that came their way.

Despite chalking up a third win in fourth games St Albans remain just one place off the foot of the table but the gap between Ian Allinson’s side and those just above the relegation zone is down to three points.

City’s bid to evade the drop takes them to Canvey Island next Saturday (19th March) where they face a Concord Rangers side unbeaten so far this year in a run covering ten games.
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