Success from the spot: our record as a Football League club
So what’s the secret of taking a good penalty?
Reds’ No.9 Izale McLeod has struck a few during his long career at various clubs – and missed the odd one as well.
It was hard to imagine Izale ever missing from 12 yards bearing in mind the confidence he showed against Scunthorpe recently. With Reds 2-1 down and only nine minutes remaining he could be excused a few nerves, but his right-foot effort into the top corner had far too much power, even though Iron keeper Sam Slocombe dived the right way.
Izale said: “It’s all about being confident and knowing what you are going to do and not changing your mind.
“Against Scunthorpe as soon as the referee gave us the penalty my mind was just totally focussed on getting the ball when their lad kicked it away while they were arguing with the ref, spotting it up and putting it into the net.
“To be honest, I didn’t even see who got fouled in the build-up. As soon as the ref blew his whistle for a penalty I have to be ready.”
Izale’s other successful spot kick this season came in the 1-0 win over Swindon Town back in August. But he also missed one against his former club MK Dons later that month when David Martin guessed he’d go down the middle and kept out Izale’s effort with his trailing leg.
Like all penalty takers, Izale has missed a few down the years. He even lost the job at Barnet in 2012 after missing three spot kicks.
“It happens,” he said. “At MK earlier in the season I wasn’t sure if David Martin would have remembered what way I put them so I went down the middle. He dived to his right but managed to get his leg in the way of it. I was gutted. It would have made it 1-1 and at that stage we might have gone on and won the game.
“Sometimes the keeper pulls off a good save and you have to accept it. I concentrate on making sure I hit the target and if you hit it powerfully enough most keepers are going to struggle even if they go the right way.”
All strikers worth their salt want to be on the penalties. For instance, Chesterfield’s Eoin Doyle’s 16 League goals this season include six from the spot.
Along with Gillingham, the Spireites have been awarded the most penalties in League One this season. Reds are one of three clubs with three given to us while Scunthorpe, Yeovil and Coventry have yet to be awarded a spot kick so far.
In terms of our overall penalty record in four seasons as a Football League club, Izale is still some way short of toppling our overall penalty king Matt Tubbs.
In our first season in the League Matt scored five out of five from the spot and when he left to join Bournemouth, Gary Alexander took over and had a 100% success record from three penalties as Reds went up from League Two.
Alexander also scored a penalty in each of the following seasons but Tubbs blotted his copybook when he returned on loan in January and missed his first penalty in a Crawley shirt before equalising in the 1-1 home draw against Stevenage in February.
The striker with the worst record from the spot for Reds is Billy Clarke. In his three seasons here he took four penalties and missed two – against Shrewsbury last season and one at Southend in League Two in March 2012 in a goalless draw which was live on Sky Sports.
In contrast, Alexander is the only player with a 100% success rate from 12 yards.
So what’s been the best League penalty we’ve scored? Personally, Tubbs’ dink down the middle in the 1-0 win over Peterborough last March will take some beating!
ON THE SPOT – OUR LEAGUE RECORD FROM PENALTIES
5 / 5
2 / 3
7 / 8
3 / 3
1 / 1
1 / 1
3 / 3
0 / 1
1 / 1
1 / 2
2 / 4
2 / 3
2 / 3
14 / 18