Will Evans more than comfortable at being Chesterfield's free-kick specialist
When Will Evans enters an argument over who should take a free-kick, he's got Martin Allen and statistics in his corner.
The centre-half has been taking charge of set-pieces in and around the box in recent games and became the first Spireite to score from a free-kick this season in the FA Cup win at AFC Fylde.
His selection as Town’s go-to man for dangerous dead-ball situations may have come as a surprise to team-mates and supporters alike - but he has previous.
“It’s not an overly new thing,” he said.
“I’m a centre-half, not many centre-halves take free-kicks.
“It’s probably a bit of a new thing for the lads.
“I haven’t done it for a few years, I have to say, probably three or four years.
“I’ve probably only scored about five.”
Allen says he put Evans on free-kicks because he’s got a ‘tremendous strike’ and quipped, after the defender hit the net at Fylde, that it was ‘tactical genius.’
You would expect more attacking players like Zavon Hines and Jerome Binnom-Williams, who have both hit the woodwork from dead ball situations this season, to state a claim when a foul is given within striking distance of goal.
But the manager says the stats, no goals from multiple attempts in 14 games versus Evans’ goal at Fylde in his third game taking them, render any argument void.
A little patience was needed, however, after Evans found the Kop instead of the net in his first game as free-kick taker.
“The gaffer spoke to me, with Whit, a few weeks ago and said ‘Will you’re on free-kicks, just strike it.’
“We practiced a few in training and they were going over.
“I took a couple in our home game against Fylde and they went over.
“I’ve just been trying to tweak my technique in training and it paid off at Fylde, so that was pleasing.”
And with that goal, his second of the season, he’s more than happy to wave off team-mates when the ball is placed and the referee paces 10 yards to the wall.
“It was nice to get a goal and now I can say ‘hold on a minute, I’ve scored one this season, have you?’
“I can take a bit more responsibility I guess, it’s nice.”