Shay McCartan admits a telling off by John Coleman was the catalyst to becoming a free kick specialist.
Five of the frontman’s nine goals this season have come from a set-piece and have led to McCartan to being nominated for the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award for March, announced tomorrow.
“Earlier in season I was hitting them over the bar and I remember, at Stevenage, I took one and it blazed over,” said the 22-year-old.
“We got another one in that game and I gave it to Jordan Clark to take and the gaffer went nuts after the game and told me to trust in my ability.
“From that point, I have stayed behind to practice them and thankfully it has paid off.
“I seem to be able to hit them hard and get them to dip down over the keeper now. The odd one still flies over the bar but I have a better ratio now.
“And I believe in myself. When I stand over the ball 20 yards out, I fancy that I am going to score and am full of confidence.
“The gaffer has installed that belief in me as he let me keep taking free kicks even when they weren’t going in. I have scored five goals from free kicks this season so I must be doing something right.”
After a stunning 1-0 win at second placed Plymouth last Saturday, it’s mid-table Crewe on Saturday at the Wham Stadium.
“We played them towards the end of December when both teams were struggling. We won 1-0 and we weren’t the best and they were on a bad run,” added McCartan.
“We have both turned it around and now it’s two in-form teams against each other so it should make for a good game.
“We are looking forward to every game now. There are six to go, it’s a great achievement being on a 12-game unbeaten run and we want to extend that and see where it takes us.”