St Albans City cruise to victory over 10-man Hitchin Town
PUBLISHED: 17:05 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 04 October 2020
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Two goals from Shaun Jeffers and a very late triple salvo helped St Albans City into the FA Cup third qualifying round with a 5-0 win at the expense of 10-man Hitchin Town.
The new signing scored them both in the opening 19 minutes, the second from the penalty spot in the incident which resulted in Max Ryan’s dismissal.
From there it was cruise control for the Saints although they did take the foot off the gas from time to time, allowing the Canaries to have some threatening moments.
In the end though the early sparring meant it was never likely that City were going to struggle to get beyond their Southern League visitors.
And the three late goals, scored by Zane Banton, Joseph Chidyausiku and an own goal, were undeserved for Hitchin.
As it was Saints’ first competitive game of the new season there was a glut of debuts.
Goalscorer Jeffers, Devante Stanley, Mitchell Weiss, Joy Mukena and Luke Warner-Eley all made their first official appearance in a City shirt from the start, as did former Canary Michael Johnson, while Kyran Wiltshire and Chidyausiku climbed off the bench later in proceedings.
Hitchin meanwhile had Tiernan Parker in goal, the young keeper returning to the club on a month’s loan from Luton Town as cover for the suspended Charlie Horlock.
And the Hatters man was called into action early, both times to fish the ball out of his net.
Saints had started brightly and with attacking intent but without a final product.
Jeffers ended that with a stabbed finish at the back post and was handed his chance for a second when Warner-Eley burst into the box following a clever one-two.
The push in the back was clear and the red card a not-unexpected outcome.
Jeffers sent Parker the wrong way and that should have been that.
But Hitchin did have their opportunities.
Former Welwyn Garden City winger Callum Stead fired across goal and wide, Jhai Dhillon inches away from supplying the final touch, and Rio Da Silva had an effort from the edge of the box deflected behind.
The second period began with both sides enjoying possession in promising areas but neither were looking clinical when it mattered.
City were coming forward a bit more than they did at the close of the first period but the half burst into life at the other end on 61 minutes.
Stead was on the floor but flicked it forward and towards Luke Brown. He clipped it over the advancing Johnson and it looked as if the keeper’s momentum brought him down.
The referee deemed it no foul though and awarded a goal kick.
It may have changed the dynamic of the game, even if City did have youngster Declan Jackson as a substitute keeper.
A shot by Stead that pinged off the post with 11 minutes to go could have also made life interesting.
In the end Saints poured some salt into the Hitchin wounds and a slightly lop-sided look to the score.
They will now look forward to the opening of the National League South season on Tuesday while Hitchin will look for an instant response at home to Needham Market on Monday.
St Albans City: Johnson, Stanley, Bender, Nwabuokei, Jeffers (Chidyausiku 88), Banton, Noble (Wiltshire 69), Weiss (Diedhiou 86) Sundire, Mukena, Warner-Eley.
Subs (not used): Jackson, Dada, Kaloczi, Clark.
Goals: Jeffers 12, (pen) 19, Banton 87, Tearle (og) 89, Chidyausiku 90+1
Hitchin Town: Parker, Ryan, Eadie, Smith, L.Marsh, Walster, Da Silva (A.Marsh 56), Dhillon, Stead (Goldbourne 80), Brown, Barker (Tearle 80).
Subs (not used): Coldicott-Stevens, Cawley, Webb, Ziddane.
Booked: Barker 60
Sent-off: Ryan 18
HT: St Albans City 2 Hitchin Town 0
Referee: Jason Richardson (Ruislip)
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