Cornell reveals how 'mind games' helped him impress on Ipswich return

Ipswich keeper David Cornell in action against AFC Wimbledon.

Ipswich keeper David Cornell in action against AFC Wimbledon. - Credit: Steve

David Cornell’s penalty-spot mind games worked a treat as the Welshman marked his return to the Ipswich Town side with an excellent display between the sticks. 

Cornell made just his seventh league start in the 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon and, during a performance which included a handful of good saves and two impressive claims at the feet of forwards, the 30-year-old produced the goods as he saved Joe Pigott’s first-half penalty to keep the scores level.  

And while three points was the real target for Cornell and his team-mates, the goalkeeper was pleased with his own personal performance as he returned to the team for the first time in nearly three months. 

“I did my homework in the week,” Cornell said, when asked about his penalty save. 

Ipswich keeper David Cornell saves a Joe Pigott penalty.

Ipswich keeper David Cornell saves a Joe Pigott penalty. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

“I tried to get in his head a little bit, which worked in the end because I don’t think he’s missed many (Pigott had scored six straight penalties prior to Cornell’s save). 

“I knew where he had been in the goal. He’d been everywhere so it was hard to decide so I decided to stay up and go as late as possible because he does like going down the middle. My trailing let managed to get enough on it then Wardy (Stephen Ward) managed to get enough on it to stop him just putting the rebound in.  

“I had seen all of his penalties before the last time we played them, just in case I was needed. You study the players and their body shape and things like that and the analysts and people behind the scenes here are great at that. 

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“We wanted three points and to win the game but we move on now. It was pleasing to keep the clean sheet but it wasn’t the result we wanted. We’ll take the clean sheet, I suppose. 

Ipswich keeper David Cornell with an early second half save at the feet of Ayoub Assal.

Ipswich keeper David Cornell with an early second half save at the feet of Ayoub Assal. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Asked further about the discussions between taker and keeper, in the moments prior to a penalty, Cornell added: “I gave him a bit and told him I’d not seen any of his penalties, which was a little fib because I’d watched them all. 

“Really, strikers should be scoring every time so I try to get in the head and play mind games with him because I enjoy it. There’s no real pressure on me to save and it’s worked a lot for me. 

“I obviously open myself up a bit for him to give a bit back to me if he does score, but thankfully I saved it. 

“If it’s a really confident penalty taker then they usually just give me a little smile and just look at me but, if they won’t look at me, you can tell they’re not confident. I found a little weakness in there and I jumped on it. 

“I’ve saved a few in my time." 

Cornell came into the Town side in place of Tomas Holy, who had played the previous 23 matches before dropping to the bench for this one. 

Oli Hawkins heads clear.

Oli Hawkins heads clear. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

But the big Czech keeper showed his support for Cornell throughout, offering his team-mate and No.1 rival a big hug prior to kick-off and greeting him as he left the pitch at half-time, just a few minutes after his penalty save. 

“We have a good relationship, in terms of the goalkeeping unit, and we’ll always discuss things,” Cornell said of Holy. 

“I’ve always tried to be the first one to congratulate him once he’s had a good performance, which he’s had lots of, and he’s the same with me. He’s happy for me as well. 

“He’s been playing well and had made some big saves recently, so obviously he’s disappointed, but once that disappointment has gone he’s happy for me.” 

It’s been a time of change for the Ipswich Town goalkeepers, with academy coach Carl Pentney stepping in to replace Jimmy Walker, following his departure from the club last week. 

“It’s changed a little bit because I’d obviously been working with Wacka (Walker) for the season and we’d worked on a lot of things, which we’d spoken about before I came in,” Cornell said. “I managed to do a couple of those things which I hope he’s seen. 

“Now it’s changed and we’re working with Carl, another good coach. Hopefully we can keep on improving.” 

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