BROWNE ON THE BALL: Garner will use spot of bother as an incentive

Scott Garner.
Scott Garner.

“Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses.”

Those words were spoken by US politician Mitt Romney, but could well be the perfect description for Boston United captain Scott Garner this week.

On Saturday, with the Pilgrims 1-0 up at North Ferriby, Villager Danny Hone bundled Mark Jones to the floor inside the box and United were offered the chance to double their advantage from the spot.

Regular penalty taker Dayle Southwell was sidelined and there was some confusion as to who was going to step up.

Strikers Marc Newsham (who has an uneasy history from 12 yards) and Jones (yet to score since his return to the club) would be the choice of many to try their luck.

But it was Garner who placed the ball.

As the captain began his run he had the chance to put the contest beyond the 10 men of Ferriby.

But, after striking through the ball, Adam Nicklin had got a firm enough touch to force the ball onto the crossbar and divert danger.

Garner had opted to lead from the front.

And when things didn’t go his way - following Ferriby’s late, late, leveller - the skipper was in no position to start making excuses either.

On his way out of the changing rooms Garner took time to do interviews and discuss the strike.

While many would duck questions or look to point the finger of blame elsewhere (Nicolas Anelka’s post-match interviews following Chelsea’s 2008 Champions League final defeat to Manchester United springs to mind), the Boston captain instead addressed the moment as a learning curve.

He remained adamant that, if called upon to do the same again, he wouldn’t go looking for somewhere to hide.

The fact of the matter is that that penalty save owed more to the brilliance of Nicklin than any fault which could be attributed to Garner.

Indeed, he put enough power behind the ball to beat most stoppers in that position.

But even when it was put to Garner that the Ferriby number one exceeded himself, the United man preferred not to accept any excuse.

Instead, he opted to question whether he should have put the ball ‘a yard further to the right’ rather than dish out praise to an opponent.

And that sums up Garner, the captain who looks to come back stronger from a setback rather than look for any easy way out.

No matter whether the skipper is put in attack, the heart of midfield or in his favoured role as a defender, he will give everything for the cause, and then some more.

He is the current captain because he leads by that example.

But he was always the obvious choice to one day claim the armband because he was doing exactly the same on the pitch long before any incentive to do so was wrapped around his arm.

Garner says that if offered the chance to put things right from the spot he’d jump at the chance.

Perhaps there’s still some of the schoolboy striker left in the mindset of the player whose height saw him turned into a defender at Leicester City’s youth academy. But I’m sure he’d prefer to see it as responsibility rather than rectification.

If he ever does get the chance to make his mark from 12 yards out, I wouldn’t bet against him finding the net. If that happens, his redemption may not quite be on the scale of Stuart Pearce, whose Italia 90 miss against Germany was finally eradicated against Spain a whole 16 years later.

But you can bet his celebration will be just as passionate.