Penalty shoot-outs are nerve-wracking affairs for supporters, managers and the spot-kick takers themselves. It's a different matter for goalkeepers, however, as Carlisle United's Adam Collin explained to football-league.co.uk ahead of his team's Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round tie against Port Vale on Tuesday evening.
"I enjoy penalty shoot-outs - they're a chance for goalkeepers to be heroes," said the 25-year-old stopper, who twice last season took that chance en route to helping the Cumbrians reach the Trophy Final at Wembley, where following a fine campaign they went down 4-1 to fellow npower League 1 side Southampton.
Collin saved two shoot-out penalties after a first round tie at Morecambe had ended 2-2 and then, more dramatically at the end of the two-leg Northern Area semi-final against Leeds United - which finished 4-4 on aggregate - his save at the death from Shane Lowry meant that Carlisle won the shoot-out 6-5 to clinch a Wembley place.
The excitement and tension of penalty shoot-outs are always a possibility in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, where ties go straight to penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes. "It's great drama for the fans," said Collin, "and although I'd rather win in 90 minutes I don't mind a shoot-out.
"Hopefully we can beat Port Vale, with or without a penalty shoot-out, because we would love to get back to Wembley and win the competition after the disappointment of last season. We had a lot of young players and perhaps the occasion got to one or two. It was a bad day at the office, but credit to Southampton who played really well.
"Despite losing that day though, it was a great experience and a tremendous weekend for everyone involved. A number of our players, including me, had never played at Wembley before so to train down there, to have the stadium tour and then play in a Final in front of a 73,000 crowd was fantastic.
"Now we want to experience it again and we feel we have a chance with a stronger side this season. But there's a long way to go and we know we're in for a tough game against Port Vale. They're top of League 2 and going very well indeed, so we'll give them all the respect they deserve.
"We've got home advantage though, and if we play as we have so far this season then we'll have every chance of going through to the next round. We're deservedly fourth in the League 1 table and we're definitely good enough to make a strong challenge for promotion - and getting to a Wembley Final again would be absolutely brilliant."
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