Chesterfield goalkeeper Dylan Parkin, credited his three penalty shootout saves in last night’s Derbyshire Senior Challenge Cup tie with Belper Town, down to hard work on the training pitch.
After a goalless 90 minutes the Spireites emerged 3-1 winners in the penalty shootout with Connor Dimaio, Jack Brownell and Ify Ofoegbu converting the Spireites’ successful spot kicks, while Parkin saved from Belper’s Kieran O’Connell, Jahvan Davidson-Miller and Haydn Goddard, to ensure the Spireites’ progression into the semi-finals.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Parkin said: “A goalkeeper either loves or hates a penalty shootout, but I love them.
“In training I do a lot of work on them with Connor Dimiao, Louis Reed and Diego De Girolamo.
“It’s tough being a goalkeeper, because sometimes you could say it’s a bit of a gamble or that you’re guessing. Our old goalkeeper coach Mark Crossley gave me some good tips on watching run ups and things like that. So it’s pleasing when you put the work in and it pays off.”
Of his three saves, which one did he enjoy the most?
“The first one,” the goalkeeper asserted. “That gets you going, their ‘keeper made a save and had a great game and when you back it up with a save, you’re thinking ‘come on lads help me out a little bit’.
It wasn’t just in the shootout where Parkin’s services were required, as in the closing stages he produced a fine save to deny Dominic Allen.
“They grew in confidence towards the end of the 90 minutes and they started to attack us,” Parkin reflected.
“He’s turned and shot and it’s more of a reaction save and I couldn’t tell you were it was going, I just sprung enough and I’ve pushed it wide, away from danger.”
The 19-year-old has come through the ranks at the Proact and signed his first professional contract with the club at the end of last season.
He’s yet to make his first team debut for Town, though he has been on the substitutes bench on numerous occasions.
Parkin played in the last round of the competition – a 2-1 win over Heanor Town last month – and he’s grateful for the game time, as he feels that it’s further developing his game as is working with new goalkeeper coach Simon Tracey.
He said: “It’s being a good learning curve, being as young as I am I’m always learning about the game.
“I didn’t have a lot to do during the game, but I had to keep switched on and stay focused, keep talking to the back four. And in the last five minutes where he’s got a shot off I’m thinking that I need to be switched on because you never know when you’re going to be called into action.
“Simon’s good, he’s helping me become more aggressive in making saves, so diving forward, attacking the ball and being more confident when attacking the ball.
“I’ve still got little habits that I need to get rid of and he’s still working with me and I thank him for the work he’s doing. And being around a lot of goalkeepers who’ve been in at the minute I’ve learned a lot from them as well.”
Parkin was joined in the starting XI by academy scholars such as Dylan Hand, Brandon Howard and Jamie Sharman and much like himself, he sees these games proving beneficial for their development.
“It’s massive,” he added. “I didn’t have the chance to go out loan last season as I was still playing here, so I didn’t play against that physicality.
“It’s a different ball game, it’s more physical and demanding and more competitive. It’s a good learning stage for the young lads, I’ve been out on loan this season and I learned so much from it, you have to manage yourself and take into consideration what other people are doing and they’ll only grow from it.”