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