New arrivals fail to provide much-needed boost as Hawks' National League South struggles continue with St Albans defeat

Flat Hawks saw their National League South winless run stretched to seven matches as they slumped to defeat at the hands of St Albans.

By Lewis Mason
Saturday, 5th February 2022, 4:58 pm
Hawks fell to a home defeat against St Albans Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks fell to a home defeat against St Albans Picture: Dave Haines

Apart from a brief late flurry of saves for visiting goalkeeper Michael Johnson, Paul Doswell's side struggled to find a way through the resolute Saints in the 1-0 defeat.

The league's joint leading scorer was the man who made the difference, as Shaun Jeffers slotted home his 20th goal of the campaign for the visitors inside the area five minutes after the restart to make it eight NLS matches at Westleigh Park without a win for Hawks.

New signings Stefan Payne, Manny Duku and loan addition Alfy Whittingham came in for starts after joining in the week, as Benny Read, James Roberts - who sealed a one-month loan switch to Hampton & Richmond - and Oscar Gobern dropped out of the side who lost at Oxford City last time out.

The first-half was lacking in any real chances of note with midfielder Jake McCarthy providing Hawks' most threatening moments.

MCarthy fired in a dangerous low cross on 18 minutes which flashed across the face of goal without a team-mate able to get on the end of it. St Albans then made a mess of dealing with Billy Clifford's corner 10 minutes before the break, yet McCarthy saw his goalbound effort after picking up the loose ball blocked.

Ross Worner then got down low to keep out John Goddard's drive from the edge of the area on 42 minutes.

But there was nothing the Hawks stopper could do as Jeffers side-footed home his 20th league goal of the season after finding some room to meet Romeo Akinola's cross five minutes after the restart.

The hosts tentatively pushed to find a way back in the game as substitute Alex Wall saw a goalbound shot blocked while McCarthy's flicked header into a dangerous area was easily cleared.

Substitute Jake Andrews’ tame effort on 84 minutes at least forced goalkeeper Michael Johnson into a save then Tommy Wright’s close range header was kept out by the visiting stopper in stoppage-time.