Club historian David Bull reflects on how a recent penalty incident reminds him of the Southampton’s post-war records from the spot.
When two Brighton players each missed a penalty vs West Brom last month, I was inevitably reminded of occasions when the Saints were awarded two penalties in one match and of what happened next.
The moment that immediately came to mind was the Second Division match at Northampton on January 2nd 1965. I wasn’t there. I was doing the best man’s duties for a university mate, but I sneaked out of the reception to listen to the five o’clock scores. Terry Paine had had two spot-kicks saved in the Saints’ 2-2 draw.
Although that occasion was firmly locked in my mind, I had no idea until 2017 that this was a unique post-war achievement for the club. But then Gary Chalk came up, as he inimitably does, with all the statistics for the 25 post-war occasions when the Saints had had two penalties in one match.
He was doing so for a spread that I was helping Duncan Holley to compile for his exquisite 2017 compilation of Saints’ tales, Days Like These.
As ever, Gary’s findings were an education for me: who’d have thought that Paine’s double-whammy was unique? Or that Paine’s failures from the spot made him the worst Saints’ penalty taker, percentage-wise, with only a 68% strike-rate from his 19 penalties, while Mick Channon has the worst absolute success rate with 10 failures out of 28 opportunities.
By “failure”, I mean a shot that was saved or which missed the target, whether hitting the woodwork (Brighton-wise) or not. Alternatively, I may sometimes say “miss” for any kind of failure.
But I digress. The more obvious strategy after a failed penalty must surely be to bring in a new taker. The Saints have done this three times, post-war, with Channon twice coming to the rescue: in 1970, after Ron Davies had failed vs Sunderland; and in 1971, after Jimmy Gabriel had missed vs Athletic Bilbao in the UEFA Cup.
On the third occasion, in October 2008, the Saints lost 3-0 at home to Watford, with David McGoldrick and Paul Wotton failing, in turn, from the spot. This remains the only time that two different Southampton men have missed a penalty in the same match.
In sum, then, there have been only four occasions when the Saints have “missed” a penalty and then a second one has come along.
Which leaves 21 matches in which they have scored from the spot and have then had to decide what to do when awarded a second penalty. On three occasions, a different taker has stepped up – and each of them has scored. David Peach and Alan Ball were the double-act vs Spurs in April 1979, while Kenwyne Jones and Drew Surman obliged vs Barnsley in February 2007.
Then, in August 2017, the team’s main penalty taker, Charlie Austin, watched from the bench as Dŭsan Tadić deputised from the spot vs West Ham. But by the time a second penalty came along, Austin was on the pitch to take it, as seen here.
On the remaining 18 occasions, the same player took both penalties. Four of them – Jack Edwards in 1951, Channon in 1971, David Armstrong in 1985 and Surman in 2008 – scored the first but missed the second. Surman’s hit-and-miss was worth £1250 to Duncan Holley, as he explains in an entertaining match report in Match of the New Millennium.
Leon Crouch, who’d chauffeured Duncan and Dave Ford to Doncaster for the match, had the same sum to lose in a bet that, to put it simply, needed Surman to score from the first penalty and for him or McGoldrick – or, indeed, anybody – to miss the second.
Finally, there have been as many as 14 occasions when a player took two penalties and scored from both. John Page started that happy habit in 1959/60. when he contrived to do it twice, latterly in a crucial 3-1 win at Bournemouth in the Saints’ promotion run-in.
Matt Le Tissier likewise did it twice, including the 1994 match in which he had to ignore the Valentine’s Day snow when beating Liverpool’s Grobbelaar for the second time.
Paine came good on three occasions, starting with a pair vs Northampton in 1963/64, the season before his double failure away to the Cobblers. Given his poor record from the spot, it must have needed some bottle for him to take the vital penalty vs Nottingham Forest in May 1967, with relegation threatening, given that he had failed with his two most recent attempts. The iconic photo below captures some of his teammates not daring to watch.
The absolute master of double takes was, however, Rickie Lambert, who did it six times. He was, of course, a Penalty King to be trusted with such a responsibility, scoring 32 times from 32 attempts – a 100 per cent record that he shares with James Beattie (12 out of 12) who never once got a chance of a double.
Both of the books cited are available, at discounted prices, at hagiologists.com. So, too, is ALL THE SAINTS, which contains the relevant profiles and photos (up to 2013) of individuals mentioned. For an updated version, including Charlie Austin, visit Duncan Holley’s website, saintsplayers.co.uk.