Shock as St Albans City and top scorer Ralston Gabriel part ways
- Credit: Archant
St Albans City have been left shocked and disappointed after top scorer Ralston Gabriel departed Clarence Park in a surprise move.
The summer signing from Haringey Borough was a revelation in the opening months of the National League South season, scoring nine in the league and 12 in all competitions as he made the move up from the Bostik League North Division with little drama.
His most memorable day was a four-goal haul at Chelmsford City in September as Saints came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2.
But Saints boss Ian Allinson admitted the striker began to find it increasingly more difficult as the months went by.
He said: “It’s a blow to lose Ralston obviously but he was finding the level of commitment needed at this level a challenge to maintain and he felt it was best if he looked to play his football a little closer to home.
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“He hit the ground running and if I’m being fair, he was sensational for me during his short time here.
“His goals naturally alerted quite a few clubs in the Vanarama National League and we’ve always made it clear that we would never stand in the way of someone trying to progress in the game.
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“We allowed him to speak to each and every one of them in turn but he picked up an injury which set him back.
“A player like Ralston will always be an attractive proposition and it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t make things work here at St Albans City but these things happen and of course we wish him all the very best.
“I have no doubt that our paths will cross in the future.”
The player himself took to Twitter to express his thanks to the club and its fans.
He said: “I’d like to thank everyone at St Albans City for giving me the opportunity to play for such a good club, especially Ian and Glen and also the amazing fans.
“But my time has come to an end and I wish them nothing but the best for the rest of the season.”
Allinson will now have to turn his attention to Saints home game against Wealdstone on Saturday without his top scorer.
However, he believes this could be a perfect chance for someone else.
He said: “We’re now looking at our other strikers to stand up and be counted. “David Moyo has been great for us so far and now Sam Merson could find himself with the opportunity that he’s been relishing for a number of weeks.”