St Albans City put a couple of troubled weeks behind them to present manager John Kendall with a welcome victory on Tuesday which ended the Saints run of four matches without a win and handed his previous club the first reversal on their own soil for more than three months.
After weathering an opening half dominated by the home side the Saints took the honours after the break and with two late goals from striker Neville Roach new life was injected into the Saints season. While Roach's first goals for St Albans will secure him the headlines there can be no denying that the Saints hero was goalkeeper Andy Walker who marked his first game for the club with a string of fine saves.
The Bexley-born 19 year-old goalkeeper is currently on loan to the Saints from Colchester United, for whom he has made five first team appearances, and given his assured handling against Chesham United, combined with some outstanding saves, he looks to be one with a particularly bright future.
Standing in for Richard Hurst whose recent form has been below his best, Walker first demonstrated his ability with an excellent push over the crossbar from Victor Renner's well struck half volley. Walker's most spectacular save came on 26 minutes as he flung himself to his left to beat away Dudley Campbell's powerful drive from all of 30 yards and four minutes later the youngster got down quickly to carefully watch Terry Bowes low shot as it went into the side netting. Although on the back foot for much of the half City were not without chances as a Spencer Knight shot was deflected over the bar and home keeper Delroy Preddie had to stretch to collect a Robbie Simpson header from Knight's cross.
Playing down the slope in the second half City turned the tables after the break and soon had United boss Bob Dowie off the bench seeking to break the Saints dominance. The former St Albans manager overstepped the mark on one occasion and earned a rebuke from referee Mr Head whose overall performance was somewhat indifferent.
On 54 minutes Roach sent Simpson away down the left and raced into the middle but was thwarted as Preddie did well to clutch, at the second attempt, Simpson's cross. Despite City continuing to look the most threatening extra time was a distinct possibility until Roach opened the scoring in the 76th minute with a bizarre goal.
David Pratt launched a long free kick from the halfway line which Chesham defender Jason Court - a City veteran of 15 years ago - and Preddie sought to let run out for a goalkick. The two converged on the ball close to the goalline at the edge of the penalty area but were stunned as Roach slipped a leg between them and somehow hooked the ball across the penalty area and just inside the far post.
Chesham quickly upped the tempo but hopes of extending their lengthy unbeaten run were thwarted by Walker who again came to City's rescue with a fine save low to his right following Campbell's header from Renner's cross and United's challenge was virtually ended by the young custodian who superbly blocked Fitz Hall's point blank effort in the closing seconds.
There was, however, sufficient time for Roach to win an aerial challenge from Walker's long kick before surging forward and beating Preddie with a crisp drive low inside the keeper's left hand post to complete the Saints removal of Chesham from the Full Members Cup for a second successive year.
Report by Dave Tavener