Adam Collin has been involved in seven penalty shoot-outs in his career, saving two in each and, crucially, won them all!
If only the England national team’s record in major tournaments was that good.
Collin, in his first season at Rotherham United, denied Mathieu Baudry and Chris Dagnall from 12 yards in yesterday’s League One play-off final at Wembley to ensure a first return to the Championship in nine years for the Millers.
The shoot-out was a complete blur to the 29-year-old.
“I backed myself up there and I was just delighted to get the two saves,” said Collin. “I lost count and was a little bit lost with it all. I saved it and I thought in the back of my mind it must be close. I just saw my teammates running towards me and the ref blew the whistle and I thought that must be it!
“I didn’t know 100 per cent [where Dagnall’s penalty was going to go]. A lot of his penalties go to that side. He could have gone anywhere but luckily enough he went the same way as I did.”
Sunday’s pulsating final was Collin’s third visit to the national stadium in five years following two previous trips with Carlisle United that had differing results.
Four years ago, the Cumbrians were trounched by Southampton in the final of the Football League Trophy only to triumph in the same competition 12 months later at Brentford’s expense.
Collin, who started his career at Newcastle United, said: “It’s the best moment of my career by far.
“I’ve been lucky to play here twice and won once but to come to Wembley and get promotion is just fantastic.”
Trailing two nil at half-time courtesy of first-half strikes by Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox, the Millers promotion hopes looked to be over.
But Alex Revell’s double after the break, including a spectacular equaliser on the hour mark, took the contest into extra time and penalties. Revell, formerly of Orient, played a key role in the Millers securing back-to-back promotions, bagging three goals in as many starts in their successful play-off tilt.
“Revs has been unbelievable for us all season,” said Collin.
“He is a target man. A lot of stuff goes through him. People probably thought we were dead and buried at half-time but we fought on and he’s come up with two great goals.”
In the regular league season, Rotherham’s never-say-die spirit brought them 15 points from last minute goals and the Wembley showpiece underlined their fighting spirit.
Collin said: “We went too direct in the first half. We got it down into channels in the second period. We tried to get them turning and facing their own goal.
“We thought if we got a goal that we would get another one. We felt they would get nervous and sit in and that would suit us and that’s what happened. We got an early goal and followed it up with another great strike by Revs and we fancied our chances.
“We have showed that spirit all season and that’s why we are up there. We were unlucky to miss out on automatic promotion.
“To come up from League Two into League One, which is a very tough league, and get promotion is great.
“This is my fifth season in League One so I know how tough it is.
“The lads have done unbelievably well. That fighting spirit has kept us going all the way through the season.”
Collin moved to Rotherham last summer following four years at Carlisle. Earlier on in the campaign, he had to play second fiddle to Scott Shearer in between the sticks.
“I had four good years at Carlisle and they decided they didn’t want to keep me,” said Collin “I was so pleased that Steve Evans took a chance on signing me.
“Scott [Shearer] is another experienced goalkeeper so I had to bide my time until October when the manager decided to put me in. I’m just really pleased to take my chance.”
Collin is confident the Millers can compete in the second tier of English football.
He said: “We can achieve anything we want to. The chairman is there and is backing us all the way. I’ve seen that from day one since I walked into the club. The fans are there and so is the infrastructure. We can push on now and I think we can definitely consolidate ourselves in the Championship. Everything is there.”