McAllister’s relief as goal drought is finally over

HATTERS striker Craig McAllister admitted it was a huge weight off his mind to finally end his league goalscoring drought at the 47th time of asking when he netted in the final seconds of Luton Town’s 3-0 win over Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night, writes Mike Simmonds.

The 31-year-old striker had gone 46 Conference games without a goal since notching for former club Crawley Town in the 3-2 home win over Barrow on February 26, 2011.

McAllister had scored three times for parent club Newport County this season, in their Gwent Senior Cup tie with Croesyceiliog, while he also netted against Forest Green Rovers and Braintree Town in the FA Trophy, but was well aware his goal return wasn’t up to scratch.

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He said: “League-wise, it’s been a long time and not good enough for my standards I’ve set.

“It’s been disappointing and I’m trying to look forward now, rather than looking back on it.

“It’s nice that it came and I want to kick on from here. Hopefully I can carry that on for the remaining games of the season.

“It’s been hard, especially after last season (when he scored 13 league goals).

“You set yourself targets and you don’t get them.

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“It’s on your mind always, as a forward you’re judged on goals.

“You’ve got to be strong enough and you have just got to keep working hard and hopefully at one point it turns around.”

When the goal eventually arrived, it was by no means the easiest either for a striker low on confidence, as he nipped the ball off the otherwise outstanding Fleet keeper Tom McNeil and slotted it into the empty net from a tight angle.

McAllister continued: “It was a bad touch from the goalkeeper. It was played back to him, he tried to take a touch and he played it a bit too far.

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“It’s funny as normally I would have just sat on the edge of the box, but I thought I’d have a gamble and it paid off.”

The fact that he was closing down in the dying embers of the game delighted manager Paul Buckle, as it’s a factor he has been preaching to the squad.

The boss said: “Look at Macca at the end, he’s shutting down and made his own luck and that’s what we’ve got to do.

“You make your own luck, the harder you work the luckier you’re going to get.

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“Macca has been a model pro, he’s not had a chance yet and only came on for a few minutes but got his reward.

“You guys don’t get to see him at the training ground.

“He works really hard, he’s not sulked or thrown his dummy out of the pram.

“He’s got on with it and he’s got his rewards, that’s what I keep saying to all the lads that are not involved at the moment.

“They’ve got to really keep on top of things because they never know when they’re going to get the opportunity.”

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Fellow Town striker Stuart Fleetwood added: “It was nice to see Macca score. He works really hard when he comes on and got his reward for chasing the goalkeeper down.

“It doesn’t really affect him as he’s never been really prolific in his career.

“He’s a target man and when Crawley got promoted, I think he had the most assists out of anyone and Matt Tubbs scored all the goals for them.

“He’s done terrific for us though and he wants to score goals, so I think that will be a big weight off his back now.”

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