Training ground drills aid York City's penalty hotshot

Michael  Coulson scores from the spot against Accrington Stanley

Michael Coulson scores from the spot against Accrington Stanley

First published in Sport
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MICHAEL Coulson is happy to carry on taking penalties for York City despite only converting his first professional spot kick at the age of 26.

The former Barnsley and Grimsby attacker netted from 12 yards during Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Accrington Stanley and has now hit the target four times in nine games.

His latest effort took his career goal tally to 44 but , during that time, his only previous penalty was taken in a Capital One Cup shoot-out defeat to Doncaster when he hit the bar on his City debut.

Ryan Jarvis, Wes Fletcher and Ryan Bowman have all scored from the spot this term but, with that trio not on the pitch at the weekend, Coulson was ready to assume the responsibility having honed his technique at the club's Wigginton Road training base the day before.

"I took a few practice penalties on Friday in training because I knew Calvin (Andrew) was playing up front instead of Bowey (Ryan Bowman) and I was happy to step up if we got one," he explained. "The only penalty I have taken before was the one at Doncaster and I don't want to talk about that but I think it is important for takers to practice penalties during the days before a game just to get a feeling for it and to settle on which way you want to go.

"I made my mind up on Friday that I would put a penalty where I did because I feel you need to be certain about that. I would feel confident enough to carry on taking them too if required.

"Nothing got mentioned at all before the game about who would take them but, at the training ground, it occurred to me that none of the players who had taken a penalty this season would be starting the game. Reedy (Adam Reed) went to get the ball when we got the penalty but I grabbed it and put it on the spot."

Coulson's penalty was cancelled out by a stoppage-time equaliser against Accrington and, while the City forward admitted dropping two points and two places down the Sky Bet League Two table so late in the afternoon was a setback, he has no doubts concerning the side's ability to bounce back at play-off rivals Oxford on Friday.

"It was a big blow at the end of the game," Coulson confessed. "Going back in the changing rooms and seeing the results with Southend losing you think 'oh well, not too bad' but then you realise we would have been sixth.

"We know that every game is difficult now, whoever you play, but I think it's good that we are going to Oxford on Friday. They will be under a lot of pressure at home and we can cause an upset, which would give us a massive boost going into the last three games.

"We probably play better away from home and it will be a great game with a decent crowd. We have won five and drawn one of our last six away games, which is not a bad record at all, so we will be going there to show what we can do."

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