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Bell's tough decision in battle for spot-kicks

ASSISTANT boss Jimmy Bell admitted he had a nightmare choosing the penalty takers.


ASSISTANT boss Jimmy Bell admitted he had a nightmare choosing the penalty takers.

"I had ten players screaming at me "I want to take one" - we had brought Gordon Armstrong on to take one and he didn't even get a chance. Paul Cook was meant to be taking one but Rory had won the penalty competition in midweek and he was upset he wouldn't have the chance to take one so Cookey let him. And then any one of the rest of the lads were up for it. It was great as I have never had it like that before."

Bell said he was surprisingly calm as his players went up for the spot-kicks.

"I knew Lutel would score but the most pressure was on Rory as he had to score one after he had kicked up a fuss! But luckily he was safe even with his turn. That is just one of the things he always does. The only one I had any doubts about was Steve Flitcroft because he had taken one at Gainsborough a couple of seasons ago and it had barely crossed the line - but he made sure he didn't miss.

"I trusted Cav and then I could see that their lad was going to miss. His eyes were everywhere - he didn't seem focused at all. And then it was all set-up for Paul Howarth - and I knew he would score. It was great!"

He admitted he and John Coleman had discussed the decision to change the keeper from Jamie Speare to Jon Kennedy for the penalties in detail the week before.

"Me and John had discussed it. Jamo had been great all match - he hadn't done anything wrong but we had decided to switch keepers. If it came off John was a tactical genius and if it didn't - well, I don't think we really had anything to lose as a keeper was never going to save all five penalties. As it happened, it wouldn't have mattered who was in goal but I think it did unnerve them a bit as they worried about how good the new keeper was at saving penalties."

Bell is amazed at all the television and news coverage Stanley are getting - although it was back to work as an electrician for him. "Coley is on television more than Saddam Hussein and I am just about to crawl up in a loft! That says it all!"

But he says the management duo will have the players geared up for Saturday's trip to relegation-threatened Leigh RMI.

"We have seen it happen where teams who have a good FA Cup run fall flat on their face in the league. But we have to guard against that. The FA Cup is great but we want the league more than anything. If anyone starts to get too big for their boots then we will bring them back down again in the changing room - the likes of Procky. We won't let it go to any of their heads.

"We have the experienced heads like John Durnin, Cookey, Gordon - and they will make sure we all keep our feet on the ground. There is good competition for places here and we have got to do well over Christmas because we want the play-offs, more than anything."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist