Wordsworth fancies penalty chances

COLCHESTER United debutant Anthony Wordsworth was desperate to take the ill-fated penalty at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.Wordsworth converted penalties for fun while in the youth team, and he fancies his chances of making a similar deadly impression in the senior side.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United debutant Anthony Wordsworth was desperate to take the ill-fated penalty at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.

Wordsworth converted penalties for fun while in the youth team, and he fancies his chances of making a similar deadly impression in the senior side.

But the 18-year-old had to bow to experience, with fellow midfielder Johnnie Jackson assuming the spot-kick duties at New Meadow.


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Alas, Jackson's penalty was well saved by Shrews keeper Ryan Esson, with just five minutes of extra time remaining, and the League Two hosts held on to wrap up a 1-0 win.

Wordsworth revealed: “I wanted to take the penalty. I went up to get the ball, but Johnnie (Jackson) got there first.

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“I love taking penalties. I scored nine out of nine for the youth team last season, and I reckon that I'd also take them for the reserves, although they never seem to win a penalty!

“I'm a confident lad, and I'm always confident taking penalties. I thought that Johnnie would score, but it was just one of those things,” added Wordsworth.

Despite the disappointing result, and the early exit from the Carling Cup, Wordsworth will never forget his first-ever taste of senior action. Ironically, it coincided with Shrewsbury's first competitive match at their new ground.

The central midfielder appeared as a 78th-minute substitute for Kevin McLeod, and ended up playing almost the equivalent of a whole half due to the additional 30 minutes of extra time.

And he nearly crowned his debut with a goal, sliding a 20-yard shot narrowly wide of target in the fifth additional minute.

“I should really have scored with that one,” confessed Wordsworth, who is a first-year professional.

“I had loads of time to choose my spot. In fact, if anything I had too much time! I'd probably rather have been closed down by a defender to make my mind up for me.

“But I'm delighted to have made my debut so early in the season. I was happy with my form in pre-season, and managed to score three goals, which was a bonus.

“I was an unused substitute at Sheffield United on Saturday. Even though I didn't get on the pitch, it was still a brilliant experience. There was a big crowd, and it was an experience to just warm-up with the rest of the lads before the game.

“Perhaps I didn't think I'd get a chance so early in the season, but an injury to Kevin Watson (sore Achilles tendon) has promoted me up the order.

“It's a big step up from the reserves to the first team, especially as the club is playing in the Championship now. But I was pleased with how I did at Shrewsbury. I was happy with my performance,” added Wordsworth.

Former youth team stalwart Wordsworth was actually an unused substitute in the U's final game of last season, at home to Crystal Palace. He signed a professional contract over the summer.

He will now by hoping to follow in the footsteps of current regulars Karl Duguid, Dean Gerken, Jamie Guy and John White, and make the successful transition from the youth team to the senior side.

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