Ben Burgess column: Blackpool too quick and strong

Ben Burgess

Ben Burgess

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Obviously inspired by the heroics of Shaun Barker and Brett Ormerod last week, the Seasiders finally produced the kind of performance that we hoped was in there somewhere.

A 3-0 away win at Yeovil is a fantastic result and Blackpool were just too big, strong and quick for the home side and completely destroyed them in the second half.

It was good to see two more players getting their first goals in tangerine shirts. First the versatile Colin Daniel smashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner from 30 yards and then showed good composure to finish a lightning quick counter attack, next it was the turn of new signing Armand Gnanduillet.

His was a simple tap in from Brad Pott’s pinpoint cross, but he will be a relieved man after his penalty miss that sailed so high that it may not have landed yet.

Despite the miss I’d always encourage strikers to take penalties, mainly because it’s great for teams when their strikers are confident and scoring goals.

In most seasons, penalties can give you an extra six or seven goals at least, and if you’ve hit a bit of barren patch then a penalty is always a nice gift.

I’ve taken penalties for a number of clubs and surprisingly my record was good. I missed one out of 12, the one I missed was saved by a substitute goalkeeper who had dived the wrong way and the ball hit his toe and looped over the bar!

People are often surprised and quite scathing when a player misses a penalty, claiming that someone earning all that money should be able to score from 12 yards out.

What people fail to realise is that there are so many other mitigating factors in the taking of a spot kick.

First, and probably the biggest barrier, is the goalkeeper who (through video analysis) will know your favourite side to place the ball, how you run up and whether you smash it or place it.

Then you have the opposition trying to psych you out, telling you that you’ll miss or delaying the taking of the kick.

When I was running up to take a penalty for Blackpool against Norwich City at Carrow Road many seasons ago, Wes Hoolahan was shouting to the keeper to tell him where I was going to kick it!

Next you have the pressures of being in a one v one situation when so often footballers can be hidden by teammates.

I recall taking a penalty away at Southampton live on Sky, I was trying to concentrate but also the fact that we hadn’t won a game yet that season was going through my head and that all my friends and family, not to mention potentially thousands of people, were watching back home.

Thankfully, I scored then and we won the game but football is littered with players many times better than me missing penalties, just think Roberto Baggio in Italia 90, Lionel Messi for Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo and quite recently Sergio Aguero missed two in one game.

For long periods of England’s first game under Sam Allardyce it looked as though the only way they would score was to be awarded a penalty.

Eventually, the one standout player wearing the three lions, Adam Lallana squeezed home a 95th minute 
winner against 10 men Slovakia.

Whilst it’s far too early to judge Big Sam, I just felt disappointed that he didn’t use this opportunity to shake things up and give the squad an overhaul.

The players at Euro 16 proved to everyone that they weren’t either good enough or mentally strong enough to succeed at international level. So why was the team practically the same?