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St Albans City 2 Wealdstone 1: Stones sunk by 10-man Saints

PUBLISHED: 08:45 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:45 09 August 2017

Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Wealdstone suffered an unlikely first defeat of the season after going down to 10-man St Albans City at Clarence Park on Tuesday evening.

Josh Hill opened the scoring for the Stones against his old club before Sam Merson equalised against the run of play.

But Tom Bender was shown a straight red for deliberate handball, with Elliot Benyon’s resulting penalty hitting the post before Zane Banton won the game for the Saints with a moment of magic.

Despite dominating the game for large periods the Stones took the short journey home empty handed and hugely frustrated.

Gordon Bartlett made two changes to the side that beat Concord Rangers at the weekend as former Plymouth Argyle midfielder David Ijaha was handed a debut and Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick a full debut as they replaced Ricky Wellard and Dan Fitchett who were switched to the bench.

The game started tightly but with St Albans looking the more likely to make defensive errors.

Stones soon started to dominate, playing with confidence and menace and pushing the home defence to breaking point. Bender fluffed his lines clearing a cross before Hippolyte-Patrick thundered a half volley off the crossbar on 26 minutes.

Eight minutes later the Stones finally took a deserved lead as Danny Green whipped in a free-kick to Hill at the far post and the unmarked defender nodded the ball home.

Just before half time the Saints equalised completely, and, frustratingly, against the run of play when a lapse in concentration allowed Banton to roll the ball through to Merson and he placed it through Jonathan North’s legs.

St Albans were playing on the counter attack and nearly took the lead just four minutes into the second half as Hill lost the ball on the edge of the Saints penalty box and they broke with pace.

The hosts found themselves 4-on-2 on the edge of the Stones area, before Solomon Sambou played in Kieran Monlouis but somehow the forward shot wide with the goal gaping.

On 52 minutes the game turned when a low cross was played to Green who shot at goal only for it to be stopped by a fine save.

Unfortunately for St Albans the save was from defender Bender, who was then given his marching orders.

Benyon stepped up to take the penalty only for it to smash off the post and Saints cleared, but with the man advantage the game should have turned in Stones’ favour.

It didn’t as Banton gave the hosts the lead after picking up the ball near the halfway line, going on a 30-yard run, beating Hill inside the penalty area before swerving a low shot past North.

Stones worked hard to rally, introducing the attacking options of Fitchett, Wellard and Andrew Osei-Bonsu, but they failed repeatedly to create any real clear-cut chances and, amazingly with so much possession, left pointless.

Bartlett’s men visit Gloucester City on Saturday.

Wealdstone: North, Oshodi, Okimo, Ijaha (Wellard 62), Hill, Brown (Osei-Bonsu 83), Hippolyte-Patrick (Fitchett 62), Cox, Benyon, Green, Eisa. Unused subs: Godfrey, Hunt.

Attendance: 654.

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