PENALTY PROW­ESS

Birm­ing­ham’s Clay­ton Don­ald­son on his up and down day at Ful­ham

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ben Baker

CLAY­TON Don­ald­son de­mon­strated the stub­born streak that all top-class strik­ers need last week against Ful­ham, but the Birm­ing­ham City hit­man in­sists that does not stretch to dis­obey­ing his man­ager.

Birm­ing­ham found them­selves with the per­fect chance to go one up against the Cot­tagers when they were awarded a penalty on 26 min­utes, only for Don­ald­son to be de­nied by for­mer Brent­ford team-mate David But­ton from 12 yards.

But, when the Blues were awarded another spot-kick four min­utes af­ter half-time, Don­ald­son showed no hes­i­ta­tion in step­ping up, mak­ing amends with his third of the sea­son and net­ting what proved to be the match-win­ner.

Sur­prised

Birm­ing­ham boss Gary Rowett re­vealed af­ter the game that he had told Jac­ques Maghoma at half-time he was on penalty duty should another ar­rive.

Don­ald­son, 32, said this was news to him, even af­ter a chat with Maghoma be­fore putting the ball on the spot.

“I hit the first penalty quite well but I was sur­prised David But­ton got there and turned it round the post. It was a good save,” Don­ald­son said.

“No­body likes to miss a penalty, but I man­aged to hold my head up and, when we got the sec­ond, I was de­ter­mined to put things right.

“For the sec­ond one, I gave David the eyes a lit­tle bit as I know he likes to dive early. So, to see that one go in was a big re­lief as miss­ing a penalty plays in the back of your mind.

“Thank­fully, I was able to put it right and it turned out to be the win­ning goal.

“I think some­thing has been mis­read as the gaffer never ac­tu­ally said any­thing to me at half-time.

“If he said to Jac­ques Maghoma that he should take the next penalty, then I wasn’t aware.

“So, when the penalty did come I in­stinc­tively went to get the ball to put things right and put it in the back of the net.

“I only found out af­ter the game that he wanted Jac­ques to take the penalty.

“If the man­ager had come up to me at half-time and said ‘do you still want penal­ties?’ I would have said ‘yes’ as I am a con­fi­dent guy. But find­ing out af­ter was a bit of a shock and it looked like I went against the man­ager’s or­ders, which wasn’t the case.”

In the end it was a case of all’s well that ends well for Birm­ing­ham as they made it back-to-back wins over the pro­mo­tion chasers, hav­ing pre­vi­ously thumped Nor­wich 30 be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break.

Af­ter a slow start those re­sults have shown that Birm­ing­ham are se­ri­ous pro­mo­tion hope­fuls them­selves, with both vic­to­ries hav­ing one un­der­ly­ing sim­i­lar­ity: Don­ald­son’s name was on the score­sheet.

He failed the find the net in any of his first five games, be­fore strik­ing twice to cull the Ca­naries.

He has now scored two and missed two of his four penal­ties this term.

He has been the Blues’ top scorer in both of the past two sea­sons, with tal­lies of 16 and 11 goals, and he is sure he can make it a hat-trick.

Con­fi­dence

He is ooz­ing with con­fi­dence and more than happy to be on penalty duty should reg­u­lar taker Paul Cad­dis re­turn to the start­ing XI.

“I al­ways set my­self the tar­get of beat­ing my goals from the pre­vi­ous sea­son,” Don­ald­son added. “I got 11 last sea­son, so any­thing above that will be a suc­cess. That was ac­tu­ally down on my tally from the sea­son be­fore as I got 16.

“So, hav­ing not ful­filled my tar­get last sea­son, I am de­ter­mined to do it this time around and I’m con­fi­dent I can.

“And, of course, I will be happy to keep tak­ing penal­ties.

“All great strik­ers miss penal­ties, and who is to say that who­ever takes the next penalty will score?

“As a striker, I have con­fi­dence that I will score from the spot. You need that when you step up to take a penalty so I will be tak­ing them for as long as I can.”

PIC­TURE: Pro Sports

HAND ON HEART: Blues striker Clay­ton Don­ald­son cel­e­brates his penalty win­ner and, inset, man­ager Gary Rowett

SPOT-ON: Don­ald­son scores at the sec­ond at­tempt against Ful­ham

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