Photos: Leigh Page
The Saints fell to their third consecutive defeat on Tuesday evening, as they lost 1-0 at Eastbourne Borough’s Priory Lane.
City went into the fixture looking to pick up three points following a disappointing start to the new campaign, and Gray and Golds decided to go with the same starting XI as the one which fell to a 2-0 defeat against title favourites Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.
However, it was the hosts who leapt out of the gates, and could have been at least a goal up within the opening few minutes.
Early pressure allowed the home side to win a corner following a Martin clearance, and Kieran Khinder-John sent a header towards the goal, which Lewis Hilliard cleared off of the line.
Kane Haysman, who joined Eastbourne from Sutton United last November, looked dangerous for the home side, and came close twice in quick succession. A ball over the top caught the City defence out, before Haysman latched onto it in the area, but his first time effort was hit well over the on-rushing Joe Welch and his goal.
The wide-man came even closer five minutes, when he found himself on the end of a cross, which he managed to head inches wide of Welch’s right hand post.
There was a brief respite for the Saints when Lee Chappell forced a save out of Lewis Carey. Lewis Hilliard placed an excellent ball towards the full-back, who cut in and surged into the box, before unleashing an effort which Carey palmed away at his near post.
However, just a minute later, the home side found themselves in front.
Again, a long ball through the heart of the City defence caused problems, and a lack of communication at the back ended with Welch attempting to clear at full stretch around twenty yards out, but Elliot Romain, who later went on to win the man of the match award, challenged the goalkeeper, and the ball bounced off of the forward and towards the City goal, where Romain had the easiest of finishes.
Despite the Saints being forced into two substitutions, with Jack Green and John Kyriacou replacing Sam Corcoran and Luke Allen, and Medlock later replacing Simon Thomas, the home side continued to generally control the game, and restricted the Saints to openings which were few and far between.
Romain continued to pose a threat, and could have his second mid-way through the second half, but he failed to find the target with his header when he found himself on the end of Gavin McCallum’s whipped cross.
There Saints registered just their second attempt on target in the seventy-third minute, when Louie Theophanous, who looked impressive, but struggled with a lack of service, tried his luck from a tight angle, but Carey was more than equal to the effort.
Despite some late pressure from St Albans, Eastbourne held on, and saw out the final few minutes in relative comfort.
The Saints will be very disappointed with their failure to create clear cut chances, and will be hoping for a lot better when they welcome table toppers Bath City at Clarence Park on Saturday. Kick-Off is 3pm.
Post match interview with Jimmy Gray
Eastbourne Borough: L. Carey; C. Stone; S. Beale; R. Worrall (A. Watts 54); I. Simpemba; K. Khinder-John; K. Haysman (M. Baptista 79); N. Collier; E. Romain; J. Evans; G. McCallum (I. Nehemie 81)
Eastbourne Borough Unused Subs: B. Bosma; N. Pinney.
St Albans City: J. Welch; J. Comley; L. Chappell; Sc. Thomas; I. Gayle; B. Martin; L. Allen (J. Green 45) S. Corcoran (J. Kyriacou 34); L. Theophanous; Si. Thomas (B. Medlock 58); L. Hilliard.
St Albans City Unused Subs: D. Locke; G. Sow.