8:00am Thursday 15th March 2012
By Craig Stoddart
Craig Liddle last night praised Ryan Bowman for twice putting himself on the spot in Tuesday's dramatic 1-1 draw with Luton Town.
Bowman took two penalties in the dying minutes of a frantic finish at The Northern Echo, with the 20-year-old scoring the first one, but the second attempt from 12 yards was saved by keeper Mark Tyler.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson has scored four from the spot this term, but, the squad's usual penalty taker missed Tuesday's game with a groin problem.
So, having won both penalties, each for being fouled by Godfrey Poku, Bowman stepped into the breach.
"I don't think the penalty taker had been thought about and we obviously didn't expect to win two penalties," said Liddle, whose team are next in action on Saturday at home to mid-table Ebbsfleet United.
"It came down to whoever wanted to take it and you expect your strikers to want to take penalties.
"When the lads finish training they'll practice penalties and free-kicks, but if you haven't got a recognised penalty taker it comes down to whoever wants the responsibility on the night and it was Ryan who wanted it.
"He did really well to win the first penalty. I was shouting at the linesman because I wanted a throw-in near the corner flag, but he managed to keep it in, beat a couple of players and then got brought down to win a penalty.
"I think Drewe Broughton wanted to take the first penalty, but Ryan tucks them away in training so it was right that he took it.
"For the second penalty Ryan chose the same side and the keeper guessed right so he was gutted afterwards, but he had no need to be.
"I wanted him just to smash it, but in that situation a lot will have been going through his head and credit to him for taking it because he's still a young kid, but people forget that because he's playing every week.
"I didn't mind him taking it because you want your strikers to score goals and he was man enough to step up."
Bowman began the game as makeshift centre-back, but he soon reverted to his role as a forward when Liddle switched players around with Paul Arnison moving into the centre from right-back.
Liddle said: "Ryan had said he'd played at centre-half before so we worked on that in training on Sunday and Monday.
"After five minutes my heart was in my mouth a couple of times and I'd seen enough!
"There were a couple of things that happened, but to be fair when he went up front he was outstanding so it turned out to be the right decision."
The award of the second penalty was highly contentious with referee Richard Wigglesworth enduring a controversial finish to the game.
Neither manager was satisfied with his performance and Luton have appealed against the red card shown to Janos Kovacs for hauling down Bowman on the edge of the penalty area.
Luto boss Gary Brabin said: "That's one of the decisions that baffled me. Ed Asafu-Adjaye was clearly behind him and he's (Kovacs) got sent off."
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