West Ham striker vows to bounce back from penalty agony
Hammers forward Sam Baldock will not let last Sunday’s penalty miss against Sheffield Wednesday affect him
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce may be on the look-out for a new striker in the transfer window, but that is no reflection on how well Sam Baldock has performed since his arrival from MK Dons.
The 22-year-old has scored five goals in claret and blue in a season that has been marred by frustrating injuries, but he was able to play the entire game at Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.
There is one moment he would sooner forget, however. On 49 minutes, his penalty kick was superbly saved by Wednesday keeper Nicky Weaver as the Hammers went on to crash out of the FA Cup at the third-round stage.
“I’ve seen the penalty back and it was a good save, but that’s no excuse,” said Baldock after the match at Hillsborough. “I’m quite pleased with the fact that I have come through the whole game, but the only thing I can think about at the minute is the penalty.”
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Baldock’s pace has been the key to his success this season, both for MK Dons and West Ham and he carved out another chance for himself after 71 minutes on Sunday.
The striker stormed past his marker to run in on goal, only for his shot to be pushed on to the post by Weaver.
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“He has done quite well, to be fair,” admitted Baldock. “He has managed to get something on that shot and diverted it on to the post. It’s disappointing not to have scored at least one.”
It wasn’t only Baldock who was denied in a goal-scoring position. Freddie Sears and Frank Nouble both squandered chances when they were in on goal and Baldcock felt that West Ham deserved something from the tie.
“That’s football,” he said. “That’s why the fans love it so much and why people pay to watch it. It was an eventful game and I think we were unfortunate not to find ourselves in the hat for the fourth round.”
Baldock may have been denied, but he was still delighted to be back on the pitch for the entire game, the first time he has managed that since the 1-0 defeat at Southampton in October.
“I got 100 minutes under my belt, which is the first time I’ve completed a game since my injury, so that is pleasing,” he said.
“They asked me a couple of times how I was feeling and I said I was fine and wanted to carry on.”
Strikers are used to missing chances, even penalties, now it is just a case of how Baldock reacts to that disappointment.
“The important thing is how I respond to it,” he said. “The spotlight is going to be on me now to see how I bounce back, but I’ve been through it like most strikers and I’m not going to let it faze me.”
Nor should he. It is when the chances don’t come, like in the case of John Carew, that you really need to start worrying.