When Rotherham United’s Michael O’Connor and Coventry City goalkeeper Joe Murphy faced up to each other from the penalty spot in a result-defining moment in stoppage time at the New York Stadium on Wednesday, it must have taken the pair back.
To the days when they were clubmates together at Scunthorpe United - and used to practice penalties!
It was Murphy - who produced a string of outstanding first half saves - who flagged this up afterwards when reflecting on what was his third penalty save of the season and Rotherham’s second spot kick miss in successive matches.
Rotherham were losing 2-1 and the game was in the 12th minute of stoppage time (there was to be 15 in all because of a lengthy stoppage at the start of the original six minutes stoppage time indicated) when the Millers were awarded a penalty.
“I know Micky from Scunthorpe days when we used to have penalty competitions and he usually favoured the goalkeeper’s right,” said Murphy. “So, I reckoned he’d put it the other way and, fortunately, I managed to save it.”
It was Murphy’s third penalty save of the season and, for Rotherham, followed on the penalty miss by Kieran Agard at Port Vale last Sunday.
After the save, the ball was cleared behind for a corner. From it, Coventry broke away and skipper Carl Baker shot from just inside his own half into an unguarded net to make it 3-1.
Rotherham skipper Craig Morgan gets a one-match ban for his sending off. Replays show his offence was outside the area and referee Gary Sutton, after red carding him, is seen pointing outside the area until his assistant calls him over to suggest, wrongly, it was inside.
Morgan misses the next match, at home to Crewe on January 11, when Claude Davis will still be banned.