How Bantams have hit the sweet spot to set unofficial world record (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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How Bantams have hit the sweet spot to set unofficial world record for shoot-out victories
Simon Eastwood saves the match-clinching penalty from Notts County keeper Kasper Schmeichel in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2009
When Chris Brandon headed a rare City goal in October 2009, who could have imagined it would set off a chain of events leading to an unofficial world record?
Wikipedia should never be taken as gospel but it is hard to disagree that nobody has ever managed eight successful penalty shoot-outs on the bounce before.
Exhaustive research – well, a couple of hours of Googling and the odd phone call – failed to come up with a definitive list. So let’s assume that it’s City’s title for now, unless we hear otherwise.
All great runs start from the smallest of steps.
In this case, it was that back-post header from local boy Brandon against Notts County.
With the game in the final minute and City trailing to Delroy Facey’s equally late strike, nobody bothered to pick up the smallest man on the field from James O’Brien’s corner. Brandon nodded home and the rest is history – or history-making, as we can now claim, unless somebody in the Kazakhstan fifth division can prove otherwise.
Even then that first penalty showdown began with a whimper instead of a bang. Up stepped Michael Boulding to take the opener and Kasper Schmeichel saved his half-hit effort comfortably.
Fifteen minutes later the hot-headed keeper was planting a hole in the away dressing room door with his size tens after seeing his own spot-kick blocked by the legs of opposite number Simon Eastwood.
City had won 3-2 to prompt a mini pitch invasion of players and fans. And a legend was born.
Three years, four managers and seven more 12-yard triumphs later and there is no end in sight to this remarkable run.
Remarkable because of the turnover of personnel and different penalty-takers in that time.
McLaughlin, who saved from Northampton’s Danny East on Tues-day, is one of four keepers to have shared the post-penalty headlines.
Hanson and Williams are among 28 assorted players in claret and amber to have been put on the spot in the JPT, Capital One Cup and now FA Cup.
It seems strange that centre forward Hanson has taken just the one penalty, which he successfully converted the following month in the next round against Port Vale.
I’ve been told on good authority that Taylor ripped into the striker at half-time after Hanson’s effort was kept out comfortably by former Bantam Matt Glennon. And from that moment on, his name has never featured on the list to step forward.
Plenty of others have, the diversity of shoot-out volunteers highlighting how quickly the dressing room changes each year.
The other five are all in the current squad – Gary Jones, Stephen Darby, Alan Connell, Nathan Doyle and Ritchie Jones, whose successful conversions were both last season.
Flynn remains the only Bantam to have missed twice, ironic considering he was the first-choice penalty-taker at the time.
Those two failures at Huddersfield and Sheffield United were among five shoot-outs when City have missed with their first effort.
Phil Parkinson joked on Tuesday night that Nahki Wells was simply making it more interesting when he fluffed the opening penalty.
Many so-called experts have dissected the way to win on penalties in the light of England’s numerous disappointments, currently five and counting. Some day one clever boffin will no doubt unveil the chemical symbol for ultimate penalty power. I’ll save them the bother, let’s call it BCAFC.
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