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INTERVIEW: It was a strange one

3 September 2014

Forward Billy Paynter on his goal against Accrington Stanley

Striker Billy Paynter has been at the heart of two controversial offside decisions over the course of the last fortnight, with last night’s decision by the officials to ignore Accrington’s loud appeals causing debate as we speak as the club’s official YouTube highlights stay on permanent pause just as Brad Potts takes his shot.

We spoke to the man at the centre of the controversy to get his take on what eventually became his first goal for the club.

“It was an important goal for me personally,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for it to come, and particularly when you think back to what happened to me at Cheltenham.

“I was nowhere near offside for that one, but it wasn’t given. Then we have this one tonight, where I honestly thought I was offside, so I just headed it towards goal. I looked across at the linesman and I was really surprised when he didn’t give it. Mind you, I’ll take it.”

“In the process of scoring the goal I felt a little tweak in my hamstring,” he revealed. “That’s why there wasn’t much in the way of celebration. I stopped moving around and I also heard their players scream for offside, so it was a strange one. Having said all that, it’s very nice for me to get off the mark.”

“I think we know the game is all about goals for strikers,” he said. “To do that you need chances, and I thought we played a lot better on the ball in this game. We created more going forward and it’s just unfortunate that something like this has come along a couple of weeks too late. 

“Obviously things happened over the weekend, and on Monday morning, and it isn’t nice when a manager goes. You could see the passion in the man and it was a very hard time for the players when he told us he was leaving. 

“It was up to us to deal with it and then make sure we geared up because we had a game to prepare for. I think, in football, you’ve got to move on quickly because it doesn’t wait around for anyone.

“Having a game so soon after something like that does help. It can be a bad thing if you’ve got a full week to dwell on it but, for us, we were told the news then it was straight onto the training pitch to prepare for Accrington.”

“The result, and a performance like this, was massive for the lads,” he confirmed. “The fact we went a goal down made it even more important. Our heads have dropped in recent times when we’ve gone behind but we didn’t let that happen again. We stuck together, we dug in and I thought our class showed. 

“It’s important that we take the confidence we had in this game into the weekend. We’ve shown that we can get the ball down, start playing and create good chances. Thir [Paul Thirlwell] and Caigy [Tony Caig] asked us to do that and I thought we did a good job with it.”

On the situation going forward, he said: “I think the lads have realised that the old manager has gone and that means a new manager is coming in. We have to pull our fingers out and perform, it really is as clear as that. If you don’t then you can easily find yourself out of the team.”

And on his own performance, arguably his best for the club so far, he said: “We’ve been playing very direct recently, for a number of reasons, so that does limit the chances you get. We got the ball down, we moved it around and we looked a decent team tonight. 

“I thought I did ok. The hamstring should be fine, I’ve had plenty of ice, and I’ll rest it in the short term so that I can get ready to go again as quickly as I can.”

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