A Spot of Bother

Tamworth’s Cameron Belford saves Andy Bishop’s penalty

I enjoyed last Tuesday’s win over Tamworth, but I can’t tell you how much I wish Andy Bishop had put away that penalty!

Bishop needed a boost going into the game – that missed chance against Southport needed to be swiftly eradicated from the memory – and if the spot kick had gone in he’d have been able to take even more pleasure and confidence from a game in which he’d also scored one and set one up.

The thing is, it wasn’t too bad a penalty: in fact, talking to him afterwards I was relieved to find that he saw it the same way. It wasn’t right inside the post, but it was heading in that direction and was well struck. It took a fine save from Cameron Belford to deny him.

Still, when you throw in a concussed Neil Ashton’s penalty miss on Boxing Day, that makes it two penalties in a row we’ve missed, or three missed out of six if you want to go back to Johnny Hunt’s effort at Hyde last March.

It’s perhaps an interesting measure of how this season has gone compared to recent years that we’re suddenly at the wrong end of the penalty balance.

So far in this campaign we’ve been awarded three spot kicks, but six have been given against us! Admittedly, some of them were rather dubious. The decision to penalise Brett Ormerod in the home game against Hyde prompted Andy Morrell to proclaim that it was the worst decision that he’d ever seen, and anyone who saw it for themselves would be reluctant to suggest he was exaggerating. However, he might have changed his mind a couple of weeks later when Andy Coughlin was subject to a decision at Macclesfield so scandalous Channel Five are furious it didn’t happen on Celebrity Big Brother!

But I shouldn’t make excuses. The fact is that we’re getting fewer penalties and conceding more than we did in the last few seasons, when we’ve been a dominant force in the Conference. Indeed, we’ve already given away more penalties than we did in the whole of last season! In 2012-13 we won eleven spot kicks and conceded just five, while the season before we scored ten from the spot and conceded just four.

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