City take full advantage of sinful Saints

City produced one of their best performances of the season this afternoon to beat in-form St Albans City by three goals to one at Twerton Park. The visitors played a part in their downfall – particularly gifting City their second goal – but it was a result that more than showed City’s play-off credentials against one their closest rivals.

Within the first minute Richard Chin was denied by a smart block from keeper Johnson. In common with the reverse fixture back in August the Saints enjoyed the majority of possession but rarely in an threatening area of the field. By contrast City continued to look dangerous whenever they got forward. Dan Hayfield fired a 10th minute shot narrowly wide then Ewan Clark got on the end of a Joe Raynes cross but saw his shot come back off the post. Just before the half hour mark Cody Cooke dispossessed Johnson but couldn’t keep his shot down at full-stretch. However, with four minutes left in the half City finally broke the deadlock. Clark did brilliantly to win the ball down the left flank and he squared it to Tom Smith to calmly slot it past Johnson for his 49th Romans goal.

The Saints began the second half looking to get the ball forward quicker but it was still City who posed a greater attacking threat, Cooke firing just wide after more good work from Clark. Jordan Dyer then headed over from a Clark corner but on 63 minutes City were gifted a second goal when Johnson produced a comical air-kick that allowed Chin to poke home the ball from a couple of yards out. Now in total control of the game Smith and Cooke saw decent openings come and go, whilst Johnson showed he was much better with his hands than his feet, saving well from the same City pair. City would not be denied a third goal though as James Alabi looped home a 89th minute header after Johnson had blocked his initial shot. There was still time for Jeffers’ 92nd minute shot to bring an end to Josey Casa-Grande’s remarkable start to his City career of over 540 minutes without conceding a goal, but this couldn’t put a damper on a great afternoon for the Romans.