|11th January 2015||3:00 pm||Conference South||2014/2015|
St Albans City manager James Gray blamed a lack of concentration for the Saints 2-0 defeat to Conference South leaders Boreham Wood at a windy Clarence Park on Saturday.
Wood caught City cold with the opening goal inside three minutes and secured the league double over their neighbours with a 90th minute strike.
In between times City, still shorn of several players through injury, put up a decent showing against Ian Allinson’s table toppers in front of the largest attendance for the a league match between the two close rivals.
But City were found wanting in front of goal with Elliot Bailey, as a lone striker, facing an almost impossible job in getting the better of former City captain Ben Martin and his fellow Wood defenders.
St Albans were more potent when sending on John Frendo and Cameron Lancaster early in the second half.
Although neither player is yet fully fit, a twin spearhead did pose more problems for the Wood backline.
City kicked off with an unchanged starting XI from the win over Gosport Borough, while Wood made one change from the side beaten by Ebbsfleet with midfielder Scott Thomas replacing Matt Whichelow.
Barely 160 seconds had elapsed when Wood struck the vital first blow.
Luke Garrard played a short free kick down the Wood right to Ricky Shakes before taking a return pass and moving the ball quickly on to Junior Morias.
After pushing the ball first touch inside to Graeme Montgomery, Morias darted wide of the penalty area to take another return pass. Again Morias played the ball first time with his low right footed cross being swept home at the near post by Shakes.
City may have been caught napping but this was an excellent goal, constructed and executed with perfect one-touch football.
A possible way back into the game for City was lost when Bailey, believing himself to be offside following a good ball from Sam Corcoran, stopped and waited for an offside whistle that never came.
Right-back Garrard appeared to have kept the striker onside. Failure to play to the whistle was never better illustrated.
But in a generally uninteresting first half City did create some chances.
Howard Hall, direct from a free kick, forced Wood keeper James Russell into making his first save of the day, while only a superbly timed tackle by the faultless Martin denied the hard working Bailey a strike on goal.
St Albans maintained the pressure from the ensuing corner with Corcoran having a shot blocked and Darren Locke heading the falling ball from that effort through to an increasingly busy Russell.
Danny Green, who only the previous Sunday returned to the starting line-up for a league match for the first time since early September, added his name to City’s lengthy injury list on the half hour when pulling up with a strained hamstring.
But the loss of Green allowed Charlie Smith to make an early return to the side after rejoining the club on loan from Luton Town 24 hours earlier.
Wood continued to perform at what would be perceived to be below their best but could have grabbed a second goal right on half time only for Angol to send his attempted lob over Tom Coulton well wide.
Six minutes after the restart City replaced Bailey and Charlie Gorman with Frendo and Lancaster, and suddenly there was a new impetus about the game.
Corcoran picked up his fourth booking in as many games when he tripped Sam Cox but the City midfielder was somewhat hard done by as he had clearly been fouled earlier in the same tussle with Cox.
City sliced Wood open with an excellent move involving Lancaster, Frendo and Corcoran, and ended with a Steve Wales shot being saved by Russell and Wales volleying the rebound across the face of the goal and wide.
Russell was soon back in action when Wood struggled to clear a Chappell corner and Smith, from well over 30 yards out, sent a firm drive at the Wood keeper.
Smith was also denied when Frendo won the ball well and fed Wales out on the left. After surging forward Wales crossed low to Smith whose goal-bound shot was blocked by Callum Reynolds.
Wood went close to increasing their lead on 78 minutes when Morias superbly cut between Chappell and Smith only to fire low towards Coulton’s near post but into the side-netting.
In a desperate attempt to stave off their 13th league defeat of the season – only bottom of the table Staines Town have lost more games – City pushed forward in the latter stages and Wood were able to create chances on the break.
Montgomery had a shot from distance gathered by Coulton, and Shakes, teed up by Angol, drove an effort well wide only for a deflection to take it worryingly close to the home goal.
In the first minute of added time Wood did make certain of victory when the muscular Morias did well to hold off Corcoran and play the ball up to Angol.
Morias latched onto Angol’s perfectly weighted pass and, after initially struggling to control the ball, sent a blistering right-footed shot beyond the diving Coulton and into the Hatfield Road net from 15 yards.
The result sends Boreham Wood eight points clear at the top of Conference South while City slip one place to 11th.
St Albans City
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Penalties|
|Lee Chappell||Captain, Defender||0||0||0||0||0|