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27 December 2014

Left back hoping to continue as penalty taker

When the Brewers were awarded a penalty half way through the first half against Tranmere not many in the ground would have instinctively thought of left back Damien McCrory to step up and take charge of spot kick duties but, following in the steps of former Albion favourite Aaron Webster, it looks like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink may have found himself a new regular penalty taker in the popular Irishman.

Not fazed by the Tranmere protestations as Liam Ridehalgh's red card or the terrace full of Rovers supports behind the goal, Damien confidently stepped up and despite keeper Owain Fon Williams going the right way his penalty found its way unerringly into the bottom corner of the net to set Albion on their way to another home victory and Damien was pleased to put his training group practice to good use.

"I always fancy myself from the spot" he admitted, "It is something I have done in training and in penalty shoot outs since I came to the club. I always feel that if a striker doesn't fancy it then I will step up and take it which looking around, none of the boys seemed to fancy it so I stepped up and took it. I have always been one of the five if it comes down to a shoot-out. I assume that if Macca [Alex MacDonald] had been on the pitch he probably would have taken it but I would put myself second on the list. I have taken it and scored it so hopefully the job is mine now."

Cup competition shoot-outs are the only previous occasions when McCrory has been called upon from the spot with the former Dagenham & Redbridge man having a good record although given it was August, against his former club, when Albion last won, and converted a penalty, the chance maybe will not come around too often.

"I always seem to be at a club where there is a proven goalscorer and as a defender you cant really take that away from a striker who is getting goals so hopefully this is my chance now."
McCrory, like his team mates was keen to get on the front foot early and try to douse the early fire of the visitors, struggling in the lower reaches of the table. Against Hartlepool in the previous home encounter it took until just before half time for Burton to get into their stride and Damien stressed that the whole team were keen to avoid a repeat.

"We have been getting a lot of good results lately. A lot of good momentum for us and we just wanted to continue and keep giving good performances at home and especially away as well."

"We knew they were going to come here fighting. They have had a bit of momentum themselves recently despite being down near the bottom and we know what teams like Hartlepool did to us a couple of weeks ago. We didnt want to give them the momentum on their sides so from the first whistle we wanted to go at them and try and get the goal nice and early."

The dismissal of Ridehalgh and the resulting penalty for a clumsy foul on substitute Kelvin Maynard handed Albion the initiative and the bonus of a second goal before the break meant Albion were relatively comfortable against ten man Rovers. Although Albion could have perhaps had more goals after the break it was a case of three points and job done from a home perspective.

"We were playing well up to that point anyway but obviously sometimes playing against ten men can go against you. We managed to put away our chances and into the second half I thought we controlled the game quite well."

"It is easier to play against ten men when they are dropping back so much and the pressure is more on them to chase it up front and that means there is more room for us to pass it around at the back. Sometimes we have just got to be patient and counter from there."

"We got a clean sheet and two goals so if you had offered us that at the start of the day then we would have taken that straight away."

Damien returned to the side after a long term injury just prior to the appointment of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as Brewers boss and just one defeat in seven matches suggests that things are going very well something McCrory agrees with.

"The gaffer has come in and done really well." he said, "He has got us passing it a bit more in certain areas and when we lose the ball it is the reaction that he is looking for. The reaction to go and get the ball back as quickly as possible. That is an important part of our game at the minute and it seems to be working really well. The results are showing that as well."

Damien was out for quite a while with a knee injury like Jimmy Phillips has been and having recuperated alongside the Albion winger he knows what Phillips has been going through and is pleased to see his team mate back out on the pitch, even if it was just for a few minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game.

"I spent a lot of time with Jimmy when I was out as well so it is really nice to see him back out on the pitch and get a few touches and hopefully his season can kick on from here."

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