Gomez brace earns Saints Luton Town cup tie
Spanish striker nets excellent double to see off Ks
FA Cup Third Qualifying Round replay
Kingstonian 1 (Bobby Traynor 45+1p)
St Albans City 2 (Pelayo Gomez 17, 72)
TWO excellent finishes from Spanish striker Pelayo Gomez earned St Albans City a lucrative tie at Luton Town after seeing off Kingstonian at Kingsmeadow.
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Gomez, with City on work experience from npower League 2 side Brentford, opened the scoring with a contender for goal of the season, bending the ball around two defenders and arching it into the top corner of the net from the corner of the box.
Bobby Traynor’s penalty in first half stoppage time meant the home side went into the interval undeservedly level but Gomez struck again a little over 15 minutes from time to send the small but vociferous away support into raptures.
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Steve Castle changed City’s formation following Saturday’s draw, deploying Gomez as a lone striker with Moses Odubajo playing wide on the left and Robbie Martin out on the right.
With James Fisher, David Deeney and Adam Martin across the middle City dominated the early stages with Kingstonian making it across the halfway line only sporadically.
The Saints had the ball in the back of the net as early as the third minute when Adam Martin turned home Deeney’s cross but the midfielder was correctly penalised for handling the ball when trying to control it.
Gomez had two early sights of goal, the first deflected into the side netting and the second which he sent rolling past the post.
It was most definitely a case of third time lucky for the 17-year-old as he cracked home the opening goal from 20 yards.
With the Ks fans loudly appealing for a penalty to be given against Ryan Frater, Russian referee Olexandr Saliy waved play on and City took advantage. Fisher burst through the middle of the park and rolled the ball into the feet of Gomez. The striker, with two defenders blocking his way to goal, got the ball on his left foot and bent it around the two Ks men and into the top corner of the net from the right hand side of the box.
City continued to push on looking for a second and they should have had it when Gomez teed up Fisher. The young front man scooped the ball between two defenders to Fisher who was in plenty of space on the edge of the box, but Kingstonian goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey came out to close down the space and Fisher stabbed the ball wide of the target.
Pete Smith then burst into the box and although his pass was deflected it fell nicely for Robbie Martin who deftly lobbed the ball over Tolfrey only to see it crash off the top of the bar.
It says a lot about City’s first half showing that Paul Bastock’s first involvement came in the 42nd minute but what an important moment it proved to be. With right-back Hassan Sulaiman caught up field, Dean Lodge raced clear down the wing and with two unmarked Ks players at the far post he picked out Traynor who, with plenty of time on his hands, really should have beaten Bastock.
The Saints stopper though was quick of his line and did enough to keep the striker’s shot out with the defence mopping up the loose ball.
With the game into first half stoppage time and Kingstonian not looking like troubling, the home side were awarded a penalty. Adam Martin was robbed of possession in midfield and although Bastock palmed away Traynor’s cross the ball fell to Lodge who went down under pressure from Fisher.
Referee Saliy pointed to the spot and Traynor sent Bastock the wrong way to level the tie.
The home side had never got out of the blocks in the first half and you could not imagine manager Alan Dowson letting them continue that in the second half. The Ks boss switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 but too often the home side resorted to pumping the ball long which proved easy for Ryan Frater and sub Ben Martin to deal with.
Lodge did get in behind the City defence and although he tumbled the ball rolled kindly to Tom Bird who beat Bastock but saw his effort hacked off the line by Ben Martin.
Robbie Martin’s cross was narrowly missed by Fisher with the goal at his mercy and Lodge flicked Matt Gray’s corner over at the near post.
A long ball over the City defence from former Saint Tobi Jinadu was controlled well by Adam Thompson but he lashed it wide of the goal.
With less than 20 minutes of normal time remaining Gomez struck the winning goal courtesy of another cool left foot finish. The striker, around 20 yards from goal, allowed the ball to come across his body before hooking it back across the ‘keeper and inside the near post.
It was no less than City deserved and they could have been comfortable in the final 10 minutes had Moses Odubajo’s low ball across the face of goal crept inside Rob Tolfrey’s far post.
As it was the City defence and Bastock in particular had to deal with a barrage of high balls into the box but it was a test they passed with flying colours.
Lodge did manage to weave his way through the City defence but Fisher came across to shut the door and deny an obvious goal. From the resulting corner Carl Wilson-Denis headed goalwards only to see Bastock divert it over the bar with his fingertips.
From the resulting corner, Gray smashed the ball back towards goal but a City man stuck out a leg and turned it away from danger.
With Ks goalkeeper Tolfrey joining the attack, City had one more free kick to deal with but substitute Jean-Michel Sigere rose highest to head clear and referee Saliy blew to signal the end of the game and spark the City celebrations.
Kingstonian: Tolfrey; Thompson �, Jinadu, Hustwick; Hamlin (Clayton 89), Dossou (Wilson-Denis 80), Hall, Gray, Bird; Traynor, Lodge.
Subs not used: Alimi, Harkin, Taylor, Robinson.
St Albans City: Bastock; Sulaiman (Sigere 69), Peters (B Martin 46), Frater, Smith; R Martin, A Martin, Deeney, Fisher, Odubajo (Roberts 88); Gomez.
Subs not used: Dedman, Magwood, Shields, Effiong.
Referee: Olexandr Saliy.