Hoskins admits to nerves - but he was always going to take Town's spot-kick against Rovers

Forward had missed his last effort from 12 yards

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 3:02 pm
Sam Hoskins.

Sam Hoskins never had any hesitation in stepping up to take Town’s crucial late penalty against Bristol Rovers.

The forward’s perfect penalty record for the Cobblers came to an untimely end when he missed from the spot with the very last kick of the game during last month’s 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon.

Hoskins took a lot of flak for that vital miss, but after speaking with manager Jon Brady and former penalty-taker Marc Richards, and having put in the hard yards on the training pitch, he immediately grabbed the ball following Jack Baldwin’s foul on Alex Jones.

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“After I missed at Wimbledon, I said to Jon that I still wanted to take them and he felt that was fair enough and I am the designated penalty taker so it’s my decision to carry on,” said Hoskins.

“I had a chat with Marc Richards about it as well and he said it happens, which it does.

“I can’t really beat myself up about the miss too much because when the chance does come again, it’s about trying to take it.

“Thankfully it came up on Saturday and I managed to put it away.”

The spot-kick was just as important as last month’s miss at Plough Lane, but this time Hoskins drilled his effort straight down the middle to rescue a valuable point.

He added: “It’s obviously normal to feel a bit nervous but I’m confident in my ability and I was confident I could put it away.

“It was playing on my mind a bit that I missed the last one but it happens in football and thankfully this time it went in.

“I always wanted to take the next one and the manager and the lads were happy for me to still have that responsibility.

“I have been practising going down the middle but I don’t want to give too much away for my next one! I wanted to go down the middle but the goalkeeper’s a big lad. His trailing leg nearly caught it but fortunately it went in.”

It’s unlikely the Cobblers would have taken a point before kick-off but given their record when conceding the first goal this season, a draw was by no means disastrous.

Hoskins’ 77th minute penalty meant Town did not lose after conceding first for only the second time all season.

“Before the game we went into it wanting to take all three points,” admitted Hoskins. “But we knew it wouldn’t be easy and it would be a scrappy game, which it was.

“I thought we played some good stuff and some good football at times, especially after they scored in the first-half, but the end product was lacking.

“It was disappointing to concede a soft goal from a set-piece like we did. We wanted to win the game but we were 1-0 down at half-time and then they were trying to manage the game as we would in the same position.

“To come from a goal down and get a point, it’s not something we’ve done a lot this season so I think we see it as a good point in that regard.”

And had referee David Rock spotted what looked a clear foul on by Luke Leahy on Jones in stoppage-time, Hoskins might have been given a second opportunity to score from 12 yards.

He added: “I thought the one we got was a penalty and to be honest we could have had a couple more. From my view it looked like AJ was pulled down near the end.

“Maybe the ref didn’t want to give us another penalty but we can’t dwell on things like that. It’s happened now. We take the point and move on.

“I think everyone showed good character so credit to all the lads. Since Jon came in, he’s said he wants to be positive and not dwell on the negative things and that’s what we’re trying to do. We see it as a good point and now look ahead to the next game.”