Vital Football

Latest Crewe Alexandra News

The Penalty Of Missed Penalties

The Penalty Of Missed Penalties

Clayton Donaldson`s tame penalty at Macclesfield on Tuesday night was our fifth penalty miss of the season from nine attempts, that`s not including his miss last weekend against Burton before he was allowed a re-take.

The full extent of our misery from 12 yards is clear with the stats from the last two seasons. In sixteen penalties we`ve been awarded, both in league and cup, over the last 18 months we have only scored six. That`s ten penalties missed.

Going back to last season, it all went wrong with Billy Jones dropping out of the team. Jones was the designated taker, he was set piece specialist and netted from the spot early on last season, although he did miss a second against Hereford he converted it on the rebound. However, with Dario stepping back into management he put an end to Jones` Crewe career, leaving penalty taking duties up in the air.

Steven Schumacher was given a go but he set the trend that was to follow, having his only penalty saved at Notts County. Then came Dario`s faith in Shan Miller towards the end of the season and with three penalties in the space of weeks he was put to the test. He missed at Torquay for what could have been an equaliser before his famous netting against Port Vale. However, Miller`s failure to put the Alex 4-1 ahead at Morecambe, a match we went on to lose, was to be his last chance from the spot.

Penalty taker number four for last season was Ashley Westwood who saw his one and only penalty of the season saved in the meaningless home game against Accrington Stanley. However, he did convert it on the rebound to put us 3-1 up as we stormed to a 5-1 victory.

So by last summer it was already apparent our penalty taking was costing us. Arguably, six points were squandered with misses; 4-1 at Morecambe you`d think would have settled the game whilst we still managed to get a point at Torquay despite the missed penalty.

Yet it was just a sign of things to come. Here`s a look at our record over the season taker-by-taker and how they may have cost us.


Bury (H) - Missed at Crewe 3-0 Bury - FT Crewe 3-0 Bury

A non-costly penalty in one of the best performances of the season. We were already 3-0 up when Powell was fouled but Donaldson`s weak effort at the perfect height for the keeper was still disappointing.

Port Vale (A) - Scored at Port Vale 2-0 Crewe - FT Port Vale 2-1 Crewe

It was a couple of months and four penalties later before Donaldson took his second of the season and this was a sweet one for him against Port Vale even if it turned out to be nothing but a consolation. It was a superb penalty too, smashed and nestled into Stuart Tomlinson`s top right corner - if only he took them all like this.

Burton Albion (H) - Scored at Crewe 2-0 Burton Albion - FT Crewe 4-1 Burton Albion

It probably isn`t fair to include Donaldson`s first attempt against Burton Albion. Adam Legzdins left his line early and by quite a distance, but Donaldson will probably feel fortunate a under-used rule was put into place on the day. The penalty that counted however was not spectacular, low and central with the power behind it really the only thing going for it.

Macclesfield (A) - Missed at Macclesfield 1-0 Crewe - FT Macclesfield 1-0 Crewe

Then comes Tuesday`s miss. Following the same trend of his Burton penalty, it was another low hit and not far enough in the corner to put it out of reach, the goalkeeper only had to guess the right way to fall. At 1-0 it was possibly the most costly penalty of the season, you would have expected us to get at least a point from the game had it gone in.


Torquay (H) - Scored at Crewe 2-3 Torquay - FT Crewe 3-3 Torquay

Lee Bell had missed one earlier in the game, putting pressure on Westy for the chance to equalise. Equalise he did with a decent enough penalty, low and hard into the bottom right corner and the keeper going the wrong way.

Southend (A) - Missed at Southend 0-0 Crewe - FT Southend 0-2 Crewe

However, the next week Westy failed to produce the same result from the spot. Stepping up at Southend, Westy smashed the crossbar just like Bell had done a week earlier, the most surprising thing being that he had changed his 'tactic`. At least it counted for nothing.

Northampton (A) - Missed at Northampton 2-1 Crewe - FT Northampton 6-2 Crewe

Westy resumed his penalty taking duties in February and after three months without one, a spot kick at Northampton presented a fantastic chance to equalise just before half time. However, it was possibly one of the worst penalties in this round up. Low, weak and almost central, the keeper simply fell onto the ball without much effort. We could have gone to 2-2 but were soon 6-1 down.

Lee Bell

Macclesfield (A - JPT) - Scored at Macclesfield 1-1 Crewe - FT Macclesfield 2-4 Crewe

Bell took over penalty taking duties following Donaldson`s first miss of the season. He got his first chance away at Macclesfield in the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy and produced a decent attempt, smashing it down the middle into the roof of the net.

Torquay (H) - Missed at Crewe 0-2 Torquay - FT Crewe 3-3 Torquay

Stepping up to the spot less than two weeks later, Bell attempted the same penalty - hard, high and straight down the middle. However, this time it was too high and bounced back out off the cross bar. It was Bell`s last penalty of the season and he doesn`t seem too keen to take another.


So there it is, our penalty taking record for the season. This season alone; it`s summed up as four scored, five missed from three different penalty takers and all three have scored and missed.

Looking through that, you`ll see the misses have become more costly as the season has gone on. The Bury penalty mattered very little and thankfully we nabbed a point against Torquay, but could it have been three had Bell scored? Then who knows how the games at Northampton and Macclesfield would have gone if we had got equalisers?

The ones scored on the other hand have had a mixture of success. Donaldson`s at Vale was no more than a consolation whilst against Torquay it was a point winner. The rest helped us on our way to convincing victories.

You cannot expect to score every penalty but not only is the record is quite something for a professional side, only one or two of the above penalties have actually been tucked away with any conviction.

So what`s the problem? Six different players have tried from the spot over the last two seasons and we`ve not yet found 'our penalty taker`. No-one seems capable of producing a decent penalty time after time.

Is it ability or mentality? Is it simply a matter of no 'natural` penalty taker, like Shaun Smith was, or is there just not the right mentality or confidence in the side to step up and score from 12 yards?

I`ve a feeling it isn`t going to be solved with the current squad and until there`s a new signing who can do the job - not that anyone should be signed specifically for penalties - then we`ll most likely quite literally be hit and miss.

Bear in mind though. None of the penalty takers have taken a penalty having missed their last one this season (Donaldson`s retake being an exception) and our penalty form this season?

Missed, scored, missed, scored, missed, scored, missed, scored, missed..........

Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Saturday March 12 2011
Time: 12:55AM

Login to post a comment

Recent Crewe Alexandra Articles

Former winger ready for challenge

Former Crewe Alexandra winger Brendon Daniels is looking forward to the challenge having joined National League North outfit AFC Fylde.

Davis resigned to losing midfielder

Manager Steve Davis has resigned himself to losing attacking midfielder Brad Inman.

Striker targets another promotion

Striker Ryan Lowe wants a fifth promotion after returning to Crewe Alexandra earlier this week.

Stick with us says striker

Returning striker Ryan Lowe insists it's important the fans stay behind Crewe Alexandra next season.

Archived Vital Crewe Articles

Vital Crewe articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Are Crewe stronger than this time last season?
Suggested By: Vital Crewe

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Wigan 46 24 15 7 87 37
P Burton 46 25 10 11 85 20
3 Walsall 46 24 12 10 84 22
4 Millwall 46 24 9 13 81 24
5 Bradford 46 23 11 12 80 15
6 Barnsley 46 22 8 16 74 16
7 Scunthorpe 46 21 11 14 74 13
8 Coventry 46 19 12 15 69 18
9 Gillingham 46 19 12 15 69 15
10 Rochdale 46 19 12 15 69 7
11 Sheff Utd 46 18 12 16 66 5
12 Port Vale 46 18 11 17 65 -2
13 Peterborough 46 19 6 21 63 9
14 Bury 46 16 12 18 60 -17
15 Southend 46 16 11 19 59 -6
16 Swindon 46 16 11 19 59 -7
17 Oldham 46 12 18 16 54 -14
18 Chesterfield 46 15 8 23 53 -12
19 Fleetwood 46 12 15 19 51 -4
20 Shrewsbury 46 13 11 22 50 -21
R Doncaster 46 11 13 22 46 -16
R Blackpool 46 12 10 24 46 -23
R Colchester 46 9 13 24 40 -42
R Crewe 46 7 13 26 34 -37
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Crewe Alexandra Results (view all)

Crewe Alexandra Fixtures (view all)

Vital Members League Table