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St Albans end Clarets 100% winning run with 2-0 victory

Missed chances and defensive fatalities cost Chelmsford City as St Albans ran out 2-0 victors at the Melbourne Community Stadium.

St Albans took the lead on 19 minutes as Tom Gardiner headed through a crowded six-yard box.

But some poor defending just-short of the hour mark allowed Rhys Murrell-Williamson to extend the visitors’ lead.

City boss Rod Stringer made two four changes to the side that beat Bath City at the weekend. Mark Haines, James Stevenson, Lee Barnard and Jonathan Giles all came in for Michael Spillane, Anthony Church, Chris Dickson and Michael West. While Aaron Greene and Shaun Batt sat on the bench for the first time this season.

Ian Allinson, however, made four changes to the side that beat Weston-super-Mare 3-1 at Clarence Park on Saturday.

The Clarets started the first half brightly as they looked the most likely to score first. Barnard came close after swivelling on the spot and shooting just over, while Jim Stevenson’s volley was held well by Dean Snedker from Craig Braham-Barrett’s fizzing cross.

Despite the home side’s close calls it was St Albans who took the lead on 19 minutes. Haines was penalised for a soft infringement on the edge-of-the-box and the visitors curled a freekick to the far post which Gardiner headed in through a crowded box.

The Saints should have doubled their lead when Charlie Walker weaved his way into the box under no challenge, however Bush swiftly appeared and hacked the ball to safety.

Chelmsford continued to go in search of an equaliser towards the latter stages of the first half, but the Clarets were unable to get past Snedker.

The hosts began to increase the tempo as they went in search for an equaliser, with Oyenuga’s acrobatic effort at the far post ruled out for offside.

But it was Chelmsford’s own lapse in concentration that saw St Albans increase their advantage. Sam Beasent’s poor pass out to Braham-Barrett was easily won by Murrell-Williamson and the winger expertly took advantage and doubled the lead.

Rod Stringer threw all the rolls of the dice moments after conceding the second as Luke Daley, Chris Dickson and Michael West all came on for Matthew Johnson, Jonathan Giles and Lee Barnard.

Stevenson’s volley from the right side of the box showed a glimpse of promise for the homeside, while Chris Dickson glanced a header wide of the post from close range.

Elliot Omuzusi’s free-header was another chance that went missing in the dying moments of the game, and the Clarets’ 100% winning start to the League was brought to an end in disappointing style.

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