New Zealand international goalkeeper Jamie Searle has saved three penalties to help his English club Forest Green Rovers win their EFL Trophy tie against Walsall.
The one-cap All White won the Man of the Match award after he made a full-stretch penalty save in normal time, and then saved twice in a penalty shoot out at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.
Rovers have gone top of the competition’s Southern Group A after their 4-2 tiebreaker, when the sides were tied 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Searle (22) has been on the Rovers substitutes’ bench for the side’s League Two fixtures but took advantage of his chance to show his ability in the EFL Trophy match. He was one of nine line-up changes for the game.
After the match, Searle told Rovers’ media team he and the team had something to prove in the match “because everyone out there wants to be in the starting line-up.”
He said he was confident facing the penalties because he had a big frame, and the backroom staff had done their homework.
“Then, it’s how you feel in the moment,” he said.
For the penalty shoot out, Searle said he told himself: “Yeah, I’ve got this.”
Searle also won the Man of the Match accolade after helping his side beat Shrewsbury Town in an earlier EFL Trophy round.
Rovers are Searle’s fourth professional club after spells with Aston Villa, Swansea City and Barnsley, since heading overseas in 2019 from New Zealand where he played for Whakatane Town and Waikato clubs Melville United and, briefly, Cambridge.
Watch Searle’s first penalty save
Watch the penalty shootout
Jamie Searle saves two spot kicks in the tiebreaker, won 4-2 by Rovers: