Kaloczi on Burnham and his match-winning wonder strike

James Kaloczi, centre, is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring the winning goal against Burnham. P

James Kaloczi, centre, is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring the winning goal against Burnham. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

James Kaloczi’s wonder strike against Burnham not only put his name in the hat for goal of the season but it also earned St Albans City three valuable points in their push for promotion.

The centre-back was deployed in an advanced role at The Gore and it proved to be a stroke of genius from joint managers James Gray and Graham Golds as he blasted a 68th minute winner from all of 30 yards past Matthew Collis - skip to 3:50 in Dave Tavener’s video to see his strike.

Speaking about his goal, which saw City win 3-2, the 18-year-old told the Herts Ad: “Earlier in the game I should have set up [Lee Chappell] but I decided to shoot; it didn’t go well and he had a go at me.

“Then, for the goal, he set me, the chance opened up and it’s gone in the top corner. During the celebration Chappers was still having a go about not setting him up.”

It was a monumental win for the Saints, who jumped into fourth place in the table, especially after they conceded two set pieces in the opening five minutes on a pitch that Gray described as not fit for a rugby match.

It was a turnaround that might never have been if not for goalkeeper Paul Bastock. City’s shot-stopper pulled off a magnificent one-on-one save to deny Nikke Kebamba in the 40th minute with the score at 2-0; the importance of which became apparent five minutes later when James Comley scored his second goal in as many games to give St Albans a glimmer of hope.

Needing an early goal in the second half, City turned to John Frendo, as they have done so often this season, and the front man obliged yet again, unleashing a 25-yard volley over Collis.

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Then came Kaloczi’s sixth goal of the season to complete a remarkable comeback.

“It wasn’t the best start from us,” admitted the match-winner.

“At the beginning of the season we had a few bad starts but we thought we’d kicked that [habit]. The two deliveries for their goals were excellent but we should have done better.

“Comley’s goal just before half-time [was crucial]. If we went in at 2-0 down then it’s a completely different game. At 2-1 we had our heads up and their heads were down so coming out we were confident of getting the win.”

The comeback victory, according to Kaloczi, also reaffirms City’s status as possible challengers to league leaders Hemel Hempstead.

“To win away from home in terrible conditions – on the worst pitch I, and a lot of the other players, have ever seen – shows that not only are we a team to fight for promotion through the play-offs but also that we’re title challengers.”

If City are to challenge for the automatic promotion spot they will need Kaloczi to continue his upward trend in performances in whichever position he is needed, although he sees himself, and his managers agree, at the heart of the defence.

“Jimmy and Graham see me as a centre back and I think that will be my best position. But it is a hard position to play so Jimmy wants me to learn off the likes of Benny Martin, Darren Locke and Tom Ward by playing alongside them or as a holding midfielder,” he said.

“I used to be an attacking midfielder but haven’t really thought about scoring goals since joining the first team. I’ve been concentrating on keeping clean sheets but I do enjoy going forward and I’ve been able to score a few winning goals which has helped the team.”