Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Adam Collin – Penalty King: Made for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy?

By Matt Scott
Adam Collin, Carlisle United’s shot-stopper, has had to wait a long time for his big break but when it arrived he grabbed it and held onto it, like all good goalkeepers should.

Collin began his career as a youngster at Blackburn Rovers before moving to Newcastle United on a professional contract in 2002. During his 4-year stay on Tyneside, Collin had loan spells at both Doncaster and Oldham but neither of those produced a professional debut. Whilst at Newcastle he did manage to make several appearances on the bench but was too far down the pecking order to have a realistic chance of making a senior debut.

After being released, Collin returned to Doncaster for a brief spell in 2004. Failing to make the grade at Doncaster, Collin signed for Workington A.F.C, who at that time, were in the Unibond Premier. He was initially signed as cover but forced himself into the first team fold. During his 5-year spell he helped the club achieve promotion to the Blue Square North after producing, what he is now renowned for, a string of penalty shoot-out saves in the play-off final against Farsley Celtic. These sort of displays began to catch the eye of Carlisle United scouts in 2008.

Collin then began training with Carlisle United late December 2008 on a weekly basis. The Carlisle staff believed that Collin had done enough by the end of the 08/09 season to merit a deal and he signed a contract with them. Collin found himself in a familiar position, as he started the season as second choice.

After working hard in training and patiently waiting Collin was given his chance the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, (knockout competition, open to clubs from Npower League One and Npower League Two) against Morecambe. After 90 minutes the match finished 2-2, so went to penalties. For the second time in his career, Adam Collin took the plaudits, after two good penalty saves provided Carlisle with the victory.

Despite his impressive showing, Collin returned to the bench for the following league game and had to wait until the next round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for his second appearance. Even though he conceded two goals he was still a standout performer in the eventual 4-2 victory in the second round. There was to be another start for Collin in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy before he was given his chance in the league. His first league appearance then came in an away trip to MK Dons. Ending 4-3 to Carlisle. Even though 3 goals had been put past him, Collin impressed enough to establish himself as Carlisle United’s dependable Number 1 for the rest of the season.

Fast forward a few months and Carlisle have reached the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final, in which they played Leeds United, who were favourites. With the final result being a 4-4 draw across two legs the match, once again went to penalties. After, what can only be described as, a brilliant showcase of penalty saves from Collin, the Cumbrian side emerged victorious and confirmed their first trip to the new Wembley stadium.

Disappointingly Carlisle lost the final 4-1 to Southampton but Adam Collin, as usual gave as good as a performance as he could, only improving his reputation further, leading to him being named ‘Wembley Man Of The Match’.

The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy provided a springboard that Collin was able to use to relaunch his career. However, even he may not have thought it would have led to speculation linking him with a move to Portsmouth and other Championship clubs. This then subsequently resulted in him earning a pay rise and contract extension as well as becoming a fans favourite at Brunton Park.

The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is in full swing already this year and would you believe it, Carlisle’s first game against Port Vale went to penalties, with Collin adding two more penalty saves to his collection. Giving Carlisle a vital victory against Micky Adams high flying league two side.

Carlisle’s next Johnstone’s Paint Trophy meeting is on November the 9th against Crewe at home. Don’t be surprised if it goes to penalties and you see Adam Collin take centre stage again. Best Blogger Tips
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