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St Albans City 1 Harriers 1



Date: 24-03-07 Venue: Clarence Park att: 821 away fans: 100 approx
Referee has a great game but he can't quite let St Albans win
James Constable and Stuart Whitehead were both sent off at St Albans today as the celebrity 'Referee Superstar' wowed his adoring fans with an assured display that saw him totally ignore any real fouls and just pick up on the petty ones.

Constable got his marching orders for apparently elbowing Malik Buari out of the way after being continually impeded at a throw in.    Buari stood facing Constable, with his back to the thrower, and kept pushing his body against the Harriers man.    This in itself was an offence but the local, Essex, referee didn't seem too perturbed by that.

Whitehead was booked for clipping the heel of an opposing player as he challenged for the ball and was then booked again for the same offence during the second half, even though that too was un-intentional.

Constable will probably miss the next three games, starting this Tuesday against Burton, unless the club appeal against the red card.    Whitehead will miss two games from next Saturday onwards.

The game saw debuts for all three new loan signings.    Glenn Wilson replaced Jeff Kenna, Andy Ferrell replaced the injured Gavin Hurren and, surprisingly, Jon Brady replaced the on form Simon Russell who dropped to the bench.

With the Harriers looking to seek revenge for the opening day defeat we took the game to the hosts right from the start.    Christie came close with a header that re-bounded back off the bar after good work from Constable after he had robbed Sangare of the ball and then played in Jon Brady to put in the pin point cross.    The ball was cleared for a corner.

From that corner, taken by Jonny Harkness, Christie got the ball into the net only for the goal to be turned down for an infringment on the City keeper Paul Bastock.    Brady crossed to Christie for a second time soon after but this time the Harriers number nine glanced his header wide.

On twenty minutes, totally against the run of play, the home side took a surprise lead following a mistake from the reserve keeper Steve Taylor.    There appeared little threat when Tom Davis played a through ball too far from any colleague to reach but as Taylor came out to the edge of the area to collect it Leon Archer made chase to get there first.    Taylor let it slip through his grasp and Archer pounced on the loose ball to walk it into the net for the easiest goal he'll ever score.

City could have gone two up just minutes later when John Hastings sliced the ball with an open goal at his mercy after being well set up by a Sangare downward header into the box.

On thirty four minutes the Harriers drew level with a well taken goal by James Constable.    Russell Penn made light of stiff challenges from Davis and Guy Lopez, before slotting a perfect ball through the middle of the Saints defence for Constable to fire home from eighteen yards out.

Six minutes after the goal came the controversial sending off incident when Constable won a throw in and then went into the penalty area to wait for the ball.    Buari impeded the Harriers striker and when the ball came in Constable appeared to lash out with an elbow and Buari fell to the floor with the red card already being waved at Constable by the referee.

It's believed that the Harriers will be looking at the video of the game to see whether the card can be appealed against.
HT: 1 - 0
With the Harriers now playing with ten men during this half the game was never going to see any all out attacking from the visitors but you would expect the home side to make the most of their good fortune.    Luckily for us they seemed incapable of mounting any kind of threat and you can see why they are stuck near the foot of the table and staring relegation in the face.

On forty nine minutes Start Whitehead found himself in the book for the first of the crunching, blood curdling lunges on a Saints player - well that's how the ref seemed to have seen it.    To be fair to the ref he was also booking their players for stupid reasons after Matt Hann had left the field for treatment and had come back on before the referee had given his permission.

The game had now turned into a dreary midfield dirge with neither side capable, or inclined to make any headway against the over fussy ref.    St Albans won their first corner of the game mid way through the half although it came to nothing.

City then mounted an attack on the Harriers goal and as Hann swept down the field with the ball Whitehead tried to rob him but only clipped him.    Hann ran on without taking any notice of the 'offence' and was than stopped in his tracks by Mark Creighton who visibly fouled him.    The ref blew for a free kick and then went back to Whitehead and flourished a red card at him much to everyone's surprise and shock.

Minutes from the end we could have won the game when Creighton rose the highest to reach a Harkness corner but the ball was pushed over the bar by the Saints keeper.

A point's a good return from a game when you are down to nine men but it doesn't disguise the fact that it was yet another lack lustre display from the Harriers who will have to pull something more substantial out of the hat against Burton on Tuesday evening at Aggborough.
FT: 1 - 1

 Goal for St Albans: Archer 19
 Goal for Harriers: Constable 34


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Latest table and stats here  

St Albans City  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Bastock     S Taylor  
Seeby     Wilson gif
Sangare     Harkness  
Davis     Ferrell  
Elphick     Creighton  
Deen     Whitehead gif
Hann gif   Brady  
Buari     Penn  
Hastings     Christie gif
Lopez     Constable gif
Archer     Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Perks     Sedgemore  
Marwa     Russell  
Clarke     Hay  
Watters     Reynolds  
Cracknell     Smikle  

REFEREE:
Mr J Hopkins
Essex




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