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“Sam stepped up when it counted!”

Manager on Baldock’s pressure penalty

26 August 2018

There are few more dramatic moments in football than a last-minute penalty, with something riding on it.

That’s what we saw at Villa Park on Saturday.  James Chester’s mistimed challenge on Josh Sims gave the Royals a chance to snatch a point in the final added minute of the match.

And Sam Baldock, who had been denied by a remarkable save by Orjan Nyland just a few minutes earlier, kept his cool to fire Reading level and earn us a fantastic away point.

“We had a fantastic double-chance in the last ten minutes when the goalkeeper made an amazing first save and was there for the second one as well,” said Royals boss Paul Clement.

“The players could have stopped there and thought that that was the chance that got away.  But instead they went to the very end, put them under pressure, and got the penalty.

“It was a big-pressure moment for Sam Baldock – he stepped up and scored his first goal for Reading.

“There’s high pressure in that moment.  It’s more or less the last kick of the game.  If you don’t convert, the three points are going Villa’s way and you’re absolutely gutted in the dressing room.

“He stood up when it counted.  It was a great point.”

Indeed, the contribution of Sims from the bench was a big factor.

And Clement was delighted to see such an impact from his substitutes.

"It’s not just the eleven who have to get the result," Clement continued.

"You can only make three changes, so it’s about the 14, and also those not used on the bench – are they just sitting there watching or are they getting involves, encouraging others, he'ping your treammates, helping the good team spirit.

"We’ve got a lot of that. And I thought those who came on today did well amd made the difference.

"That's what you want for your substitutes, not sulking that you're not starting. We’ve got a really good team spirit here at Reading and that is important to a club ours. Selfless players, giving their best."

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