Friday, 12 July 2013

Pitman: the penalty king

It's funny that I was a striker for my school team and while I might not have been prolific I tucked away my fair share of goals for Portchester School and Bournemouth Grammar School and many of those goals would have been one-on-ones, but there is one part of the game that I found hard - taking aim from penalty spot!

Pitman, the penalty king

My old team mates might say that was a weakness and all strikers should be excellent fro 12 yards, but it's simply not the case. At AFC Bournemouth there was quite a debate over who should be the penalty taker when Brett Pitman signed permanently again for the club in January. There was no debate in Brett's mind, he was going to take them. Earlier in the season Harry Arter had wanted to grab the ball when he had the chance to but it was most often Lewis Grabban that was the spot kick specialist if my memory is correct. Charlie Daniels also seemed keen to take spot kicks when he had the opportunity.

So we are blessed with players at AFCB who are prepared to draw on the pressure of taking a penalty. Does it need a special kind of character to consistently score from 12 yards? I think it does. The best penalty takes they say never change their mind. It's a simple decision and if they put the ball where they intend to it will be a goal.

But how easy is it for the thought out of your head when you shot one way last time you were successful and feel it would be wise to go the other side this time? Mental strength is something that is part of the modern game. I only wish those who regularly took penalties could pass on some of their calmness and thought process to those who are nervous when it comes to penalty shoot outs. Yeah, I'm thinking of England's spot kicks when I say that - groan!

Pitman clearly either has no fear or simply believes he will score every time he has the chance from 12 yards. He makes himself favourite and buries the opportunity more often that not. Will the pressure be greater on him in the Championship? Well not at first I would not have thought. Sure there are bigger stadiums and more crowds will be trying to put him off as usual, but he will be driven by pure instinct. All his teaching visualises the ball in the back of the net. Last season he even scored from the spot more than once in a game. It didn't seem to faze him taking kicks against the same keeper.

Of course Brett is not just good from the penalty spot, he is also capable of cracking in free kicks from dead ball situations with great aplomb. He is a magician in and around the box and he has developed the heading side of his game, which I feel was much more noticeable in the games after January than earlier in his career. He may not have scored many with his head, but he won a lot of headers up the field to set play up even though his is not the tallest of strikers.

If Harry Arter or Lewis Grabban feel they can still do the job of penalty taker they just might have to wait a good while, because I can't see anyone as assured and comfortable in taking them as Brett. I would not put it past him to score our first goal of next season, which could be from that area of the pitch I used to fear so much - the penalty spot.


  1. Think Ian Harte will be taking them from now Peter and the free kicks... We need Brett following up or on the end of them.

    Duncan - racedynamix

    1. Interesting... , not sure that Charlie Daniels won't have something to say about Mr Hare grabbing his place. But if Ian is on the pitch he is a candidate for spot kicks. Strikers though don't like to have a chance of adding to their goal tally being taken away from them. I still think Brett will get the nod.