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15.12.2015 at 19:45 Clarence Park Attendance : 287
St Albans City
3 - 2
Maidenhead United
Referee : Christopher O'Donnell (Leighton Buzzard) Varnarama National League South-match

Jernade Meade (2)
Ben Martin (41)
Jonathan Edwards (90)
Dean Inman (18)
Dave Tarpey (45)
Opening squads
Joe Welch
Lee Chappell
Ben Martin
Sam Corcoran
Ben Nunn
Tom Bender
Edward Oshodi
Billy Gibson
Jack Green
Jernade Meade
Louie Theophanous
Carl Pentney
Josh Huggins
Harry Pritchard
Ryan Upwards
Alan Massey
Dean Inman
Dave Tarpey
Christian Smith
Jake Reid
Mark Nisbet
James Mulley
Scott Thomas
Darren Locke
Kevin Krans
Jonathan Edwards
Sam Barratt
Gavin James
Ben Wright
Kyran Wiltshire
Isaac Olorhnfemi
Kevin Krans -> Billy Gibson (66)
Jonathan Edwards -> Louie Theophanous (75)
Scott Thomas -> Jernade Meade (90)
Gavin James -> Josh Huggins (62)
Yellow cards
Lee Chappell (24)
Sam Corcoran (45)
Jack Green (65)
Ben Martin (87)
James Mulley (64)
Red cards
None. None
Match report

Jonathan Edwardes scores the winner.
Harry Wheeler wielded his magic touch for a third successive game on Tuesday as St Albans City, boosted by Jonathan Edwards sensational late winner, climbed out of the National League South bottom three with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Alan Devonshire’s Maidenhead United.

Twice United pegged City back at Clarence Park, as the sides shared four headed goals prior to the interval, but there was no way back for a third time for the Magpies when Edwards opened his league account with a stunning 90th minute strike.

Wheeler has enjoyed a most remarkable start in management with wins in all of his three games in charge. A reasonable return of points from the next four games will almost certainly see him offered the job on a permanent basis.

The game got off to a scintillating start with one ball being kicked out of the ground inside ten seconds and City taking the lead in a little over one minute.

Jack Green, recalled to the right of the midfield in place of the suspended James Comley, set the Magpies on the path to a fourth defeat in their last four visits to the Park when being fouled by James Mulley close to the touchline.

With all eyes on the formidable figure of Ben Martin, as Billy Gibson swung an excellent set piece towards the middle of the six-yard box, the diminutive Jernade Meade nipped in to head powerfully past United keeper Carl Pentney.

The first two appeals, against Green and Ben Martin, were ambitious but the third, when Tom Bender palmed away a deep Dave Tarpey corner from the United right, looked to be a certain penalty in the eyes of everyone on the sparsely populated terraces but, critically, not the match officials.

But there was no denying the Magpies an equaliser on 18 minutes when another Tarpey corner from the right saw Dean Inman rise highest in a crowded goalmouth to thump a powerful header past City keeper Joe Welch.

It was the first goal that City had conceded in 198 minutes under Wheeler’s, so far, temporary spell as manager.

United maintained the pressure on the home goal and when their next corner was only partially cleared left-back Josh Huggins unleashed a glorious volley from 26 yards that went within a whisker of creeping inside Welch’s right hand upright.

Lee Chappell picked up the first of City’s four bookings on the night when just clipping keeper Pentney following indecision in the United backline. The speed with which Chappell went for the ball made the incident appear a good deal worse than it actually was.

Having survived a spell of Maidenhead pressure City hit back on 41 minutes with a fine Gibson free kick forcing Pentney to dive to his right to save, and the keeper followed that up when blocking another goal-bound effort from Gibson.

From the ensuing corner Gibson swung the ball right-footed, away from the goal, and perfectly for Martin to plant a classic centre-half headed goal high past the diving Pentney.

City ought to have added a third goal four minutes later when a quick counter-attack saw Inman fail to clear a low cross by the otherwise disappointing Louie Theophanous, with the ball falling to the free Meade whose almost point-blank shot was well kept out by the keeper.

The ball was put out for a City throw but United immediately regained possession and hit back to devastating effect with Tarpey beating Welch to a teasing cross by Mark Nisbet to head home the second equalising goal.

There was just sufficient time before the interval for Corcoran to collect his fifth booking of the season for a pretty poor challenge on Christian Smith.

After the interval Corcoran used his undoubted quality to better effect when putting through a succession of excellent passes to open up the United defence.

A steady drizzle throughout the evening made the surface slippery and tempting for long shots.

From one such effort, by Harry Pritchard from 25 yards, Welch made an excellent full stretch save with his left hand and then used his legs well to stop the ball bouncing away as Reid closed in for the kill.

Maidenhead almost took the lead for the first time early in the second half when a crisp low cross from the right by Tarpey was met by the stretching Mulley whose shot from six yards thudded against the underside of the crossbar before rebounding to safety.

Mulley’s frustration was compounded moments later when he was harshly booked following a foul on Corcoran.

Midway through the half City replaced Gibson with Kevin Krans but after impressing in his two most recent substitute appearances Krans found his touch to be erratic in this game.

That said, he still probed to reasonably good effect as City finished the game in positive mood.

With just 15 minutes remaining Theophanous made way for Edwards and the on-loan Peterborough United striker, 19, was soon causing problems for the visitors with his direct running and determination to score his first National League South goal.

Meade, who caught the eye early on in much the same way that Edwards did in the latter stages, regained the spotlight on 78 minutes when collecting a Benn Nunn pass and moving inside to fire in a blistering left-footed effort from over 30 yards that Pentney did well to push away for a corner, after it had bounced awkwardly in front of him.

From the resulting corner, City’s first of the second half, Maidenhead survived appeals for handball after Martin had cleverly flicked the ball goalwards.

Martin then made a match-winning intervention at the opposite end of the pitch to divert wide of the goal a goal-bound snap shot by Reid after a cross by Pritchard had been deflected into the striker’s path.

Both sides went in search of a late winning goal.

For United it would have taken them to within a point of the play-off places, whilst for St Albans it would mean a position outside of the bottom three for the first time in three months.

Maidenhead had an opportunity to snatch victory in the 90th minute as the ball zipped across the penalty area, but Reid was slow to get it under control and Nunn stepped across to clear.

Nunn’s clearance only went as far as Ryan Upward who forced a good low save out of Welch with an effort from around 30 yards.

Welch launched the ball long and after a spell of head-tennis from either side Martin lofted a pass out to the left wing for Edwards to chase.

Once in possession, Edwards’ only thought was to come inside.

And that he did as he rode one half-hearted challenge, before beating Pentney with a wonderful right-footed angled shot from just inside the penalty area that left the diving keeper without a prayer, as it sped its way across him and into the York Road net.

Edwards still had unfinished business to attend to and set off on another long meandering run deep into added time but this time Pentney was equal to the teenager’s shot.

The performances of Meade and Edwards greatly sharpened City’s oft criticised attack but a lot of the credit for this victory should also be passed to central defender Eddie Oshodi.

The debut-making former Forest Green Rovers player has recently seen service with Hemel Hempstead Town after taking a break from the game earlier this year to undertake charity work.

Oshodi, 24 in January, started his career with Watford but has since played well over 100 times for Forest Green. He was also a target for former City managers Graham Golds and Jimmy Gray prior to their recent departure.

St Albans will be looking to complete their second league double of the season on Saturday with a visit to bottom of the table Basingstoke Town. Kick off at the Camrose is at 3pm. City will again be without the suspended Harry Crawford but Comley will be available after completing his one-match ban.

City’s victory has lifted them to 19th in the table with Margate and Havant & Waterlooville dropping into the relegation zone.
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