Why not replays after play-off final draws?

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WHAT happened at Wembley last Saturday strengthened my view that goalkeepers having to take penalties is an unsatisfactory way to settle football matches.

You might as well have a darts contest between the two managers.

Goalscoring is not a keeper’s job, so why should that be relevant to whether or not a team win?

Kevin Pressman and Nicky Weaver may disagree of course.

It was probably the best penalty I’ve ever seen when Pressy absolutely smashed the ball into the top corner with his trusty left foot in an FA Cup replay at Wolves in 1995.

He took a fairly long run-up and hit the ball as hard as if it was a goal-kick. He scored a similar one in an FA Cup replay shoot-out out against Watford at Hillsborough, struck with similar pace but slightly less spectacular because it had a lower trajectory.

I suppose if a keeper really fancies the job then it lessens the argument for keepers not to be involved. Pressman had the confidence to go third in the order for that shoot-out at Molineux. He saved one of Wolves’ efforts as well, but the Owls lost a 3-0 lead in the penalty showdown and were beaten 4-3. Wednesday, incidentally, did win the shoot-out against Watford, 5-3.

Nicky Weaver looks back on his own penalty exploit as one of the highlights of his Owls career.

He saved three times in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy showdown with Chesterfield at Hillsborough in October, 2010, and lashed home what turned out to be the winning kick. Spireites keeper Tommy Lee followed him to the spot but missed the target and the Owls won 8-7.

Anyway, I guess we’re stuck with shoot-outs until someone comes up with a better way to prevent games going on endlessly, and in an age when no-one seems to want replays, with the fixture programme already so crowded.

But in the case of the play-offs, there is a fortnight between the semi-final second leg and the final, which seems overlong to me, as it did when Wednesday were in the 2005 play-offs.

So why not shorten that gap to a week and if the final is a draw then have a replay a few days later or a week later?

It is sometimes hard to beat shoot-outs for drama, but any Owls drama this week has been going on mostly behind the scenes, with Dave Jones and Paul Aldridge at work in the transfer market, and some confidentiality required.

Confirmation of Kieran Lee’s deal was a formality, as agreement was reached some time ago. There were just ‘i’s to dot and ‘t’s to cross after he returned from holiday.