Bees’ spot of bother with pushy teenager

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - Chris Dunlavy

By now, we all know what hap­pened at Brent­ford last week­end. As one of the priv­i­leged few to nab a seat at Grif­fin Park, I can hon­estly say it was the most dra­matic 17 sec­onds of sport I’ve ever wit­nessed.

One mo­ment, Don­caster were star­ing at the play-offs. One missed penalty and a break­away goal later, they were cham­pi­ons of League One.

For Donny, it was joy un­bounded. For Brent­ford, only gut-wrench­ing de­spair. I’ve watched clubs get rel­e­gated and never seen des­o­la­tion like it.

The con­courses were filled with men, women and kids ei­ther shocked into ashen­faced si­lence or slumped against the chipped red rail­ings, wracked with sobs.

And in the af­ter­math, the fin­ger of blame was pointed squarely at Mar­cello Trotta, the 19-year-old Ful­ham loa­nee who blasted that fate­ful penalty off the cross­bar. The Ital­ian has come in for some fear­some stick af­ter snatch­ing the ball from Kevin O’Con­nor, the Bees reg­u­lar penalty taker. That is as it should be. But if you ask me, the fault is col­lec­tive – start­ing with O’Con­nor. As the skip­per, he should have laid down the law. As a se­nior player, he should not have been pushed around by a teenager. And as Uwe Rosler’s mouth­piece on the pitch, it was in­cum­bent on the 31-year-old to en­sure the game plan was fol­lowed through. On all three counts, he came up short.

“I should have taken the penalty,” he said this week.“I was try­ing to take it but all credit to Trotts, he wanted it and had the ball so I couldn’t phys­i­cally get it off him.”

Blunt

Sorry, but this doesn’t wash. Back in 1999, New­cas­tle were beat­ing Sh­effield Wed­nes­day 7-0 when young striker Paul Robin­son tum­bled to win a penalty.

Clearly des­per­ate for a goal, the teenager grabbed the ball and trot­ted to the spot. But Alan Shearer – who al­ready had four goals that day – was hav­ing none of it. The Eng­land cap­tain in­formed Robin­son in blunt terms that:‘I take the pe­naties here, son’.

Cru­cially, sev­eral other se­nior play­ers bun­dled the kid away, just like at Wem­b­ley this sea­son when Swansea’s Nathan Dyer – on a hat-trick in the League Cup fi­nal – was talked out of usurp­ing Jonathan De Guz­man by a pha­lanx of team­mates. Ob­vi­ously the sit­u­a­tions are poles apart, but that is how it’s done. To give O’Con­nor his due, maybe he didn’t want to make a scene by get­ting into a wrestling match, thus heap­ing ex­tra pres­sure on ei­ther him­self or Trotta.

But when that much is rid­ing on it, noth­ing else mat­ters. O’Con­nor should have done ev­ery­thing in his power to wrest that ball away – and his mates should have helped him. One thing is cer­tain: they won’t make the same mis­take again.

DOWN AND OUT: Mar­cello Trotta smashes his penalty against the bar. Inset: Trotta and the Brent­ford play­ers at the fi­nal whis­tle

UP FOR IT: Don­caster cel­e­brate un­ex­pected pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship

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