Smiling Mendes Gomes thrilled to open his account for the Hatters during cup victory

Forward up and running at the Abbey Stadium

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 7th February 2022, 7:36 pm
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 7:38 pm
Carlos Mendes Gomes scores his first Luton goal at Cambridge on Saturday - pic: Gareth Owen
Carlos Mendes Gomes scores his first Luton goal at Cambridge on Saturday - pic: Gareth Owen

Town attacker Carlos Mendes Gomes understandably had a huge smile on his face when discussing his first goal in a Luton shirt after getting off the mark during the Hatters' 3-0 FA Cup win at League One Cambridge United on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Spaniard, signed from Morecambe in the summer, had yet to find the net in his previous nine appearances for the club, but that all changed at the Abbey Stadium.

Restored to the starting line-up for the first time since Town defeated Harrogate 4-0 in the previous stage, Mendes Gomes had seen centre half Reece Burke break the deadlock with what was also his maiden strike on 14 minutes to quieten what had started off as a noisy and boisterous home crowd, who were eying another cup upset having knocked Premier League Newcastle out in round three.

Just nine minutes later, a throw from Fred Onyedinma was then headed into the path of Cameron Jerome by a home defender, and he looked up to find the Spaniard, who took a touch and then clinically buried his drive low past Dimitar Mitov.

It was something that the top flight Magpies hadn't managed in the previous rebound, the Bulgarian repelling everything that came his way in a stunning 1-0 triumph at St James' Park, but on this occasion, he was powerless to prevent Mendes Gomes's strike from flying into the net.

The forward said: “I watched that game in particular, they did really well to win the game, we knew that it would be tough, so I’m happy to put it in the net.

“It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet, especially when you’re an attacking player.”

Mendes Gomes was quick to tribute to the assist from the experienced Jerome too, continuing: “As soon as I saw Cam I knew that I had to accelerate the shot and strike it, when it went in, it was really pleasing.

“Everyone knows what Cameron has done in the game.

"He’s an amazing player, not just on the pitch but off the pitch he has helped me a lot.

"It’s always nice to actually play with him and learn day by day.”

To move 2-0 in front just after the midway point in the first period saw the belief among both the Cambridge players and supporters evaporate, as Mendes Gomes knew the timing of the goals were vital to make Luton's ride that bit easier.

He said: "We knew it would be a tough game, Cambridge are doing really well in League One and playing at their ground, we saw how they actually got to this round beating Newcastle and we knew it was never going to be easy.

"We tried to come here with a positive mindset and just do our job and get to the next round.

“We knew the first 15 minutes was going to be tough, we had to actually get a goal as soon as possible and we did really well to get the first one and the second followed.

“It came at a really good time, but we were never going to just sit back or hold on to the score, we tried to still play our game.

"The second half with the wind against us was a bit more difficult, but a solid performance, professional and in the next round."

A scrappy second 45 minutes ensued, with chances few and far between until Admiral Muskwe sealed what was already a safe passage into the fifth round when his curling effort took a deflection to beat a wrong-footed Mitov.

Mendes Gomes added: "We know what Admiral can bring to the table, he’s an amazing player, left or right foot, he can strike the ball and today he just laced it and it went in.

“We tried to play the game the same way we did in the first half., the problem was the wind that we had against us.

"We knew that we actually had to get the next goal if we wanted to hold on to the score as it was really tough, but it’s about getting the win and going to the next round."