Hat-trick! Alex Baptiste concedes third penalty in three starts but Bolton Wanderers get lucky as Barnsley spurn penalty
DOUGIE Freedman has refused to heap any further pressure on Alex Baptiste after his penalty blunder almost proved costly against Barnsley.
The Wanderers defender conceded his third spot kick in three starts after hauling down Ryan McLaughlin six minutes from time at the Reebok.
Thankfully, his mistake did not prove decisive as Chris O’Grady’s effort from 12 yards bounced off the angle of post and bar to give Freedman’s side a welcome reprieve.
Baptiste had conceded penalties against Wigan and Yeovil in recent weeks – the latter attracting scathing post-match criticism from his manager.
Freedman had been ready to send on Medo Kamara before the incident occurred but changed his mind, sending on Zat Knight in Baptiste’s place for the final few minutes.
But the Scot insists the substitution was done with the team’s best interests at heart.
“Alex has let himself down with the penalty but he’s a dogged defender and he stuck at it.
“I felt he came up against a very tricky opponent in that young kid from Liverpool (McLaughlin) and he stuck at it.
“Unfortunately he gave away the penalty but I make decisions for the best of my team and in that particular moment I couldn’t take too many chances.
“If Alex wasn’t to have recovered quick enough confidence-wise we could have lost the game but he knows that, it’s not personal.”
Freedman made six changes to the side that had beaten Doncaster Rovers last Tuesday, resting the likes of Lukas Jutkiewicz and Keepmoat goalscorers Neil Danns and Joe Mason.
One of the changes, Jermaine Beckford who was making his first start since January 11, scored the decisive goal to put a major dent in Barnsley’s survival prospects.
And the manager believes squad rotation is a must in the final few weeks of the season as he tests out all the possible permutations at his disposal.
“We’ve got a good squad and I think it’s still important to keep people on their toes,” he said. “I’m still looking at shaping the side this season and for next season, so I’m asking questions like can Liam Trotter play in the centre of the pitch – and the answer is definitely.
“I felt young Rob Hall and Jermaine Beckford showed what they were all about and it could have resulted in more goals.
“I’m selecting teams that I think can win. I thought (Lukas) Jutkiewicz had to come out of the team because he’s really worked hard lately.
“The fans can see what we’re trying to do and I think they were very patient with us as we were trying to build.
“It’s going to take time but I think we’re getting there.”