RYAN Bowman would jump at the chance to become York City’s regular penalty taker if Wes Fletcher relinquishes the responsibility at any stage in the future.
With Fletcher and fellow spot-kick specialist Ryan Jarvis both on the bench, Bowman converted a first-half penalty during Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Mansfield.
Fletcher later saw a second penalty saved after he had entered the action as a substitute but the Minstermen’s 13-goal top scorer is still expected to take the team’s next one if he is on the pitch – a situation that Bowman fully understands.
The former Hereford and Darlington striker said: “If at some stage, Wes doesn’t want them anymore, I would be happy to take them but I can’t see that happening now and I would be the same if I was the penalty taker. If I missed one, I would want to get another as quickly as possible and tuck it away.”
Bowman was, nevertheless, grateful to get the opportunity from 12 yards to end a nine-game personal goal drought.
He added: “It was the best feeling in the world to be honest. It had already been decided before the game that I was going to take penalties if Wes and Ryan Jarvis were not on the pitch, so I was buzzing when we got one and, when it went in, I was over the moon.
“I was obviously going to be a bit nervous because it was my first penalty of the season but I took six last season and converted five so I was pretty confident taking it.”
The goal also served as immediate redemption for Bowman who had suffered the worst miss of his career at AFC Wimbledon three days earlier.
“There has been a lot of banter from the lads,” Bowman said about the six-yard, open-goal gaffe. “There were about five or six bobbles, but there still can’t be any excuses.
“I should have put it in the back of the net but I couldn’t sort my feet out quickly enough. It was obviously a bad miss and I have never had one like that before in my life.
“But hopefully that’s my first and last and the best thing was to bounce back and score in the next game, which I did.”
Bowman also admitted he feared a third red card of the season at Mansfield when, following an aerial clash with John Dempster, the home defender fell to the floor with a bloodied nose in front of a baying Main Stand at Field Mill.
“At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal but, once all the players surrounded the referee and the crowd was getting involved, I was getting a bit nervous,” Bowman confessed. “I knew I hadn’t intended to do anything, but I must have caught him because he went down and his nose started bleeding.
“But these things happen and, rightly so, the officials did not see anything wrong. You worry that, after giving the penalty, they might be trying to even things up and, with the crowd behind the lineswoman, she could have got swayed by them but she said it was not intentional straight away and, thankfully, I stayed on the pitch.”
Bowman has been partnered in attack by Michael Coulson for the last four matches and has been impressed with the converted winger’s industry alongside him, adding: “Coulson has worked his socks off in every game he has started.
“His situation shows how weird football is because, a couple of months ago, he wasn’t even on the bench. Now, he is one of the main men in the team and I am enjoying working with him.”
With the Minstermen having won their last three games, hopes are high for another three points when fifth-bottom Wycombe visit Bootham Crescent this afternoon.
But Bowman will not be underestimating the visitors.
“They are a good side,” he warned. “We got a point at their place and, although people say the table doesn’t lie and they are near the bottom, we won’t be taking anything for granted.
“But we are doing well at the moment, so we will just be concentrating on ourselves.”
With the gap on the play-off places having been narrowed down to two points, Bowman also stressed that a tilt at the top-seven positions cannot be ruled out now.
He said: “I am not going to lie, we are thinking about the play-offs but, rightly so, the gaffer is telling us to take things one game at a time and keep doing what we are doing. We have just got to see if we are still up there with five, six or seven games left, but the lads have been brilliant so I don’t see why we can’t make the play-offs.”