FC Halifax Town: Goalkeeper Johnson credits defensive duo for Town’s clean sheets

Football - FC Halifax Town v Braintree. Sam Johnson for Halifax.
Football - FC Halifax Town v Braintree. Sam Johnson for Halifax.

If only FC Halifax Town’s ‘goals for’ tally wasn’t as measly as their ‘goals against’ column.

While the goals have hardly been flying in from The Shaymen, one man to thank for keeping them out at the other end is goalkeeper Sam Johnson, who has kept 17 clean sheets in 42 appearances this campaign, already matching his tally for the whole of last season

Town have not conceded in five of their last six games, and are on a run of nearly five hours without being breached.

“It’s superb,” said the stopper. “I think everyone from the strikers down have contributed.

“But I think Clarkey (Nathan Clarke) and Browny (Matty Brown) can take all the credit really.

“Again, against Havant, I haven’t had much to do really.

“I think they’ve got to take the plaudits really because they’ve been different class, putting their bodies on the line every game.”

Johnson is in his fourth season at Halifax, having been on loan during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 campaigns.

And he feels he is playing behind the best centre-back partnership he has seen at The Shay.

“Yeah, definitely. Browny’s been here a few years now, obviously I’ve played behind him a lot. He’s different class.

“Clarkey’s come in and brought lots of league experience. They complement each other well and they’re just nothing but solid really.

“I think Clarkey’s played over 500 league games so he knows the positions to be in.

“He knows his limits, the same as Browny, but they cover round for each other well, you can see them working together and talking to each other all game. They’re different class.”

The 26-year-old is satisfied with his season so far.

“I think I’ve done OK. I think defensively we’re right up there in the league.

“I can’t complain too much. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing.

And Johnson feels he has benefited from working with assistant manager Phil Hughes.

“Yeah, carrying from last season, he’s a good coach.

“We’ve got Joe (Stead) in as well now, who’s a goalkeeper coach and puts on some good sessions.

“Phil’s got loads of experience and he’s passing that on to me, and hopefully I can take that into the games.

“I think mentally I’m going into games a lot better.

“I’d like to think I’m a decent shot-stopper, and coming for crosses is one of my stronger points.

“Me and Phil know what we need to work on every week in training, and hopefully I can keep things going.”

Johnson also feels his distribution has improved lately.

“We’ve had a little tinker with it here and there,” he said.

“I think over the last few weeks it’s come on a bit more than at the start of the season.

“It’s one of my weaker points, I know it is, and Phil knows it. We’re working on it every week.”

The stopper has also looked more commanding in recent weeks.

“I think I’d agree. I’ve looked to be positive when coming for crosses.

“Really I should be coming for quite a lot considering my height, and hopefully I can keep that going too.”

Johnson’s contract expires in the summer, but the keeper says he would be delighted to stick around.

“I’m really happy here, I’m enjoying my time with the manager and everyone at the club.

“The fans are always really good to me, and I’d love to stay.”

Johnson is optimistic Town’s season can end on a high note - if they can start the goals rolling again.

“I think after the start everyone thought we were going to be really up there.

“We’ve been in a sticky patch but now I’d like to think we’ve turned a corner in the last few weeks.

“We’ve picked up a few good points. Obviously we’ve got to start scoring more goals, it’s simple to see.

“I don’t defensively we can get much better really, keeping out the goals.

“I think a point with 10 men last Saturday was different class. Obviously we’d like to have scored, but hopefully we can score a few more in the last 10, 12 games and creep up that table, into the top half maybe.”