CHESHAM United have suffered play-off agony again as St Albans City beat them 3-1 at The Meadow in this afternoon's Southern League Premier Division play-off final.

After two semi-final losses in the past two seasons, falling even closer to the finish line this time will sting even more for the Generals - and the salt in the wound comes in the shape of former players John Frendo and Steve Wales, who scored all three Saints goals at their former stomping ground.

Chesham can have few complaints.

They were at home, they had taken four points off St Albans in the regular season and were ahead today inside five minutes.

But the visitors weren't ruffled by the early setback. Frendo played as if he were on a personal crusade and in truth, they could have won by more.

It had all begun so well for the hosts though.

The game was delayed 15 minutes to let the mass of fans pile in, but when it did eventually start it was Chesham into their stride early on thanks to their 70-goal plus triumvirate of James Potten, Drew Roberts and Chris Dillon.

With just three minutes gone Dillon headed a free kick won by Roberts just wide of the far post, before Potten's immaculate finish gave his side the early lead moments later.

The fifth minute had been reserved for a round of applause for departed Chesham defender Ryan Moran, but he wouldn't have minded one jot sharing the moment with cheers for a wonderful goal from his former teammate as Potten nipped the ball off a defender's toe, sat St Albans keeper Paul Bastock down with a subtle dummy before rolling the ball home between two defenders on the line.

St Albans, with three players in their squad who started the season at The Meadow, came into more after that and twice had chances to level from mistakes in the Chesham defence.

First three defenders went for the same header after 29 minutes but Darren Locke volleyed high from 10 yards, then former General Frendo drew a smart stop from Shane Gore aft the ball had slipped under Darren Purse's studs.

Dave Fotheringham did poke wide from a rare Chesham counter-attack, but it was the Saints forcing the pace and they fully merited the equaliser that duly came after 35 minutes when Frendo beat Gore at his near post direct from a free kick.

The goal did rouse the hosts, but just before the break they were dealt a hammer blow when another former player Wales slid David Keenleyside's defence-splitting ball past Gore.

Bruce Wilson did waste a glorious chance to make it 2-2 in first half injury time when he raced through on goal, but Bastock saved at his feet and the Saints just about survived the melee in the goalmouth to go in 2-1 ahead.

Chesham began the second half with greater urgency and half chances fell to to Daniel Braithwaite and Roberts, but neither were taken and Chesham were undone again just before the hour when Frendo tapped home his second from barely a yard out.

To make it worse for the hosts, it was Chris Watters, the third of the three ex Chesham players in the Saints squad, who made the goal with his persistence down the left.

Andy Leese responded by throwing on Richard Graham and Inih Effiong and they did create openings, but Frendo and St Albans remained a constant thorn in their side and a comeback never really looked on.