The way Joe Newell kept his cool under the most intense of pressure on Saturday was enough to make you think he was a seasoned pro at penalties.
Newell stepped up to take the match-winning spot-kick with the final action of the game to give Rotherham a memorable 2-1 win over South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster – a match they were losing going into 12 minutes of time added on.
But even though Newell was the calmest person inside the AESSEAL New York Stadium, it was a new experience for him, having never taken a penalty before.
And not only that, he also had contend with some sneaky gamesmanship from Doncaster’s Tommy Rowe.
However, the 24-year-old overcame all of that to coolly slot home the penalty to seal a seventh straight win for his side and spark wild scenes of celebration at New York.
“You could say it was a pressure situation!” he joked. “I was scared! No, I was all right. When we won the penalty, I knew it would be down to me because Bally was off. He would have missed anyway.
— Arif Ahmed (@ArifAhmed05) February 24, 2018
“I was happy he was off, to be fair, because days like this are special and live long in the memory.
“I don’t do a lot of practising really. If the keeper had gone the right way, I think he might have saved it. I was focused to just keep it low and get it on target.
“I had made my mind up where it was going before my run-up, but then I had Tommy Rowe, who I know from our Peterborough days together, getting in my ear.
“He was saying, without the swear words, ‘You’re going to miss, you’re going to miss. I know you’re going right’.
📹| "I've never seen Joe Newell take a penalty before…"
That's because he hadn't…until yesterday. 😏
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) February 25, 2018
“I had a look at the keeper to see if he was listening. I don’t know if he heard it, but he looked as if he had. I thought, ‘I’m definitely going left now’.
Millers boss Paul Warne was known for his averseness to penalties during his playing days.
He chose not to step forward during a play-off semi-final shootout with Leyton Orient and then was a reluctant sudden-death taker in the mammoth shootout loss to Arsenal in 2003, though he did score.
And Warne’s praise of Newell was not understated.
“Joe Newell has got bigger cojones than me. I would never have taken it,” he said.