Iwan Roberts: I have sympathy for Nelson Oliveira... I’ve been in the same boat

PUBLISHED: 15:40 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:40 15 February 2018

Iwan Roberts celebrates his penalty against Sheffield Wednesday in 2002. Picture: Archant

Iwan Roberts celebrates his penalty against Sheffield Wednesday in 2002. Picture: Archant

James Maddison has taken quite a bit of abuse this week after the penalty incident at Pride Park on Saturday and I, like many of you, think it’s totally unjust.

Social media went mad with people accusing him of killing the game, accusing him of blatantly diving which is absolute madness in my opinion.

We saw a very similar incident a couple of weeks ago at Stamford Bridge when Angus Gunn came rushing out at the feet of Willian and bought him down, with minimal contact, but no penalty was given.

In my opinion it should have been given and that’s why I think James had every right to go down once he’d been caught by Scott Carson. It drives me mad when people say you don’t have to go down with minimal contact. However, I’m yet to find it in the rule book where it says you have to stay on your feet after slight contact.

When goalkeepers come rushing out at forward’s feet and make no contact with the ball they are always risking giving away a penalty, even if a forward is looking for the contact. I can guarantee you one thing – had Matej Vydra gone down under similar circumstances in the Norwich box the Derby fans would have been screaming ‘PENALTY’!

Nelson Oliveira is struggling - it's plain to see. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesNelson Oliveira is struggling - it's plain to see. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

After some debate and time, Norwich were eventually awarded the spot kick, only to see Nelson Oliveira miss his second successive penalty – he’s now failed to find the back of the net since December 22, when he scored against Brentford; a run of just one goal in 11 games and you can just see he’s desperate for a goal.

What better chance for him to score than to have a free shot on goal from 12 yards out?

I think he’s done some silly, petulant things this season – the incident at Fulham on the opening day for one and then the finger to his mouth to silence his critics at Carrow Road after, funnily enough, scoring from the penalty spot against Sheffield Wednesday. However, at this moment in time he can’t buy a goal and I can sympathise with him.

I remember in the 2002-03 season going through exactly the same run as Oliveira – a run of just one goal in 11 games and the pressure was getting to me. I’d scored just once in just over two months from September to November. Mind you, the goal I did score was the winner against the eventual champions Portsmouth at Carrow Road.

I’ve said many times I wasn’t the most confident of penalty takers, but as a forward, when you’re in the middle of a drought, not looking like scoring and when you’re awarded a penalty you see it as a fantastic opportunity to get yourself back on track.

That’s exactly what happened on November 9 at Carrow Road and, quite spookily, Sheffield Wednesday were our opponents. We were awarded a penalty on 31 minutes and as soon as I’d heard the ref’s whistle I was after the ball... no one was getting it from me! This was it, my chance to get on a run of goals again, and even though I was as nervous as anything I decided just to smash it as hard as I could and it flew to the right of Kevin Pressman, giving him no chance.

The relief was instant and the confidence came rushing back into my game and having been on a barren run of not scoring I didn’t have too long to wait for my next goal – it came in that same game when I bagged my second and our third on 82 minutes. Goals can be a bit like London buses – you wait a while for one to pop along then all of a sudden two come in the matter of a few minutes.

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