Pompey keep on paying the penalty for spot-kick woes

Brian Howard's spot-kick is saved by Scunthorpe keeper James Severn. Picture: Barry Zee
Brian Howard's spot-kick is saved by Scunthorpe keeper James Severn. Picture: Barry Zee

As the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and cleared the Preston penalty area, it was an all-too familiar feeling for Pompey fans.

They have been there before this season – four times in six attempts to be precise.

That effectively amounts to five points dropped in what has developed into a battle against League One relegation.

For some present on Saturday it was reminiscent of the 1982-83 campaign when eight spot-kicks out of 16 were spurned.

Younger fans may be able to cast their minds back to the 2007-08 season when three out of the opening four were wasted.

Incidently, in Pompey’s last three years in the Premier League they won 20 penalties – and missed half of them.

Most high profile was Prince Boateng’s in the 2010 FA Cup final with Chelsea amid the backdrop of Wembley.

But after that unfortunate moment, the Blues went through a spell of scoring 11 out of their next 12.

A remarkable run thanks to the nerve of Liam Lawrence and Greg Halford, the latter proving unbeaten in six attempts.

Now, as Guy Whittingham’s side head to Hartlepool on Saturday, they find themselves weighing up their third penalty taker of the campaign.

With Brian Howard and Izale McLeod having missed two apiece, the search is on for a more reliable candidate.

Scott Allan is expected to head to the front of the queue, that is providing he is the starting line-up having been in and out since returning in October.

The current penalty curse emanated on September 29 against Scunthorpe.

Not that it mattered when substitute keeper James Severn saved from Howard as Pompey went onto win 2-1.

The skipper, however, next hit a post in the 2-2 draw at MK Dons on October 6 and McLeod took over.

Against Leyton Orient, the Blues’ top scorer firstly missed before succeeding with another attempt in the second half.

The hosts, however, still lost 3-2 in that November 20 fixture.

McLeod then struck the bar on Saturday as the Blues were forced to share a goalless draw with Preston.

Back in 1982-83, five players missed a total of eight kicks.

Bobby Doyle (three), Neil Webb, Alan Biley, Trevor Ross, Steve Aizlewood and Colin Sullivan were the culprits.

Aizlewood did, however, net on five occasions, with Doyle successful once.

Then a certain Kevin Dillon scored twice in the same match against Reading and became the go-to man.

In the 1990s, Alan McLoughlin had an excellent record from the spot and in recent times, Yakubu was deadly with seven goals, while Jermain Defoe hit four out of six.

Paul Merson may have missed in the Burnley clash of April 2003 – the same game which saw Pompey clinch promotion to the Premier League. Merson, though, still recorded six that season.

Sulley Muntari famously netted in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in 2008 in a season which saw Kanu, Benjani and Niko Kranjcar all miss.

Kanu missed his other Pompey penalty, too – against Blackburn in August 2006 – when looking for a hat-trick on his debut.

Finally, Matt Taylor scored five, including a certain one at Wigan which sealed that 2006 Great Escape.