Swindon Town youngster Miles Storey has revealed his despair at missing a penalty in the clubs League One play-off semi-final with Brentford.
The tie was settled by a penalty shoot-out, which the Bees won 5-4 after the teams finished 210 minutes of football all square at 4-4.
The teams were only separated when Storey who stepped up to take Town’s fourth kick saw his effort saved by Simon Moore.
“I haven’t been sleeping much since it happened,” the 19-year-old striker told BBC Wiltshire. “That’s not down to personal pride, it’s down to the weight of expectation that was on me.”
“To be man enough to take it you’ve got to be man enough to accept the consequences should you fail. I’m not really accepting it.”
Storey, who signed professional terms at the club this time last year after coming through the Swindon youth system, was the youngest of the 10 penalty takers and had only been introduced to the game in the 78th minute – as a substitute for Simon Ferry.
“Nobody forced me in to it,” continued Storey. “I felt confident beforehand and I even had a little smile as the Brentford fans were singing ‘who are you?’”
“It didn’t sink in until they scored their winning penalty. Then you feel massive grief. You feel really low, like nothing can pick you up.”
“I felt solely responsible. Since then I’ve started to accept it a little bit more but it’s still hurting. If I was to take one again, I’d smash it. I’d literally take the leather off the ball and take the keeper in with it.”
Although injuries have hampered him in recent months, Storey featured prominently in the first-team earlier in the season and hit a double against Aston Villa in the League Cup in October.
He has been offered a new deal to stay at the County Ground and is keen to repay the club and its supporters for the faith they have shown in him.
“There’s the odd few who are going to give me stick [for the penalty miss], which I expect, but most of the support has been unbelievable,” he added. “Now I’ve got my deal, I can start to pay the fans back. Whether that means scoring goals, making assists, working hard – I’ll do it because I’ve got the chance.”