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Burton Albion’s Kevin Poole knows cruel pain of penalty shootout switcheroo

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 07, 2014

Kevin Poole (centre)

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SATURDAY night’s World Cup quarter-final between the Netherlands and Costa Rica may have brought back painful memories for Burton Albion’s Kevin Poole.

Holland went through on penalties after 90 minutes and extra time had brought no goals, but the match will be most remembered for a surprising and bold decision by Dutch coach Louis van Gaal.

With penalties looming, the incoming Manchester United boss used his final substitution to bring off first-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for Newcastle United custodian Tim Krul.

Krul is not renowned as a penalty expert, but the move paid off as he saved two spot-kicks to send his side through to the semi-finals.

It is an unusual scenario, but one which Pirelli goalkeeping coach Poole knows only too well, albeit from the other side.

The Brewers stalwart may have numbered among the substitutes a few times last season, but his duties these days are primarily coaching Albion’s current crop of keepers.

Back in 1996 though, Poole was number one at Leicester City, and had helped his side reach the First Division play-off final against Crystal Palace.

With the score 1-1 and the clock showing seconds left of injury-time, then-Foxes boss Martin O’Neill decided to bring on 6ft 7ins Australian keeper Zeljko Kalac for the more diminutive Poole.

“I didn’t know it was going happen,” Poole said.

“I didn’t even see him warming up.

“I look over, see they want to make a sub and there’s a number one on the board.”

Off came Poole, and on came the keeper nicknamed Spider, ready to show off his apparent penalty heroics.

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“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Poole.

“Martin had not spoken to me at all about it beforehand.

“I came off the pitch completely deflated.

“I didn’t want him to be the hero if it did go to penalties.”

In the end though, Poole’s loyalties were not tested as Palace failed to deal with a Garry Parker free-kick and as the ball was nodded into the penalty area, Steve Claridge shinned a volley into the top corner.

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