Striker savouring penalty taker role

ASHINGTON CFC striker Phill Bell is relishing his new role as the club’s designated first choice penalty taker.

Wallsend-based Bell, who linked up with the Colliers from neighbours Whitley Bay in mid September in a move which saw young forward Glen Taylor move in the opposite direction, was asked to take over the responsibility after team-mate Stephen Young had missed from the spot in the FA Cup third qualifying round defeat by Droylsden.

Since assuming the role, Bell has tucked away five successful penalties – with the latest strike at Dunkirk last Saturday the most significant as it proved to be the all important winner.

“I used to take them for Chester-le-Street, but when I was at Whitley Bay they already had a number of lads including Lee Kerr, Paul Chow, Paul Robinson and Adam Johnston who stepped up and who, to be honest, didn’t miss many, although I used to take them in penalty shoot-outs.

“I’ve always wanted to be a penalty taker – it’s another opportunity to score a goal – and when I was asked at Ashington, I was delighted to accept.

“It’s a big responsibility and that’s why I think the nominated person should always take them, irrespective of the scoreline.

“That’s what happened in our recent match against Ryton when we won 8-0 and the last two goals were penalties I converted.

“It’s a shot from 12 yards with one person in front of you, and if the keeper guesses the right way and saves then fair play to him.”

Bell sent Dunkirk ‘keeper Matthew Malak the wrong way from the spot on Saturday.

“I was very confident, I just put my foot through the ball and it hit the net,” he said.

Referring to the subsequent victory over Nottinghamshire-based side Dunkirk on Saturday, Bell added: “There are no easy games in the FA Carlsberg Vase, but even 1-0 down at the interval, we were not disheartened.

“Scott Blandford’s equaliser early in second half knocked the stuffing out of them, and from a personal point of view, to score the winner from the spot was the icing on the cake.”