Goalie looks back on a win and a clean sheetExeter City goalkeeper James Hamon recorded a second clean sheet at the Park on the bounce during the Grecians’ 1-0 victory against Cheltenham Town on Boxing Day.
The majority of the work that the 19-year-old had to do was in marshalling his defence, commanding the box, and distributing to his outfield teammates – a stubborn defence in front of him allowed the Robins very few opportunities to force Hamon into making saves.
Cheltenham tried to absorb the pressure that Exeter had with their dominance of the ball, and held out until the 61st minute when Tom Nichols eventually got the game’s only goal.
The Guernseyman was perfectly content with that scenario and admitted that he was pleased to be part of a team that has hoisted itself within goal-difference of a play-off position.
“It’s a big, important three points,” he said. “After losing last week we needed to bounce back, and with our performance today we dominated the game. We got the goal eventually and the three points that we deserved.
“It’s becoming a common theme for me at the moment – being at home and not having much to do. As long as the guys in front are doing their job, which they are, then there’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy standing there and admiring the football we play.
“We dominated the game right from the off and we were camped in their half in the first half. The chances were coming and you could always tell there was going to be a goal, and we were the most likely team to get it.
“With the type of football we play, we’ve got to be patient. We can’t just give the ball away too much – we have to be careful and pick the right moments to play that killer pass or try that killer shot.
“Luckily today Tommy [Nichols] has cut inside and put it in the bottom corner, and won us the game – which is great for him and great for us.”
Even at the hour-mark, Exeter weren’t panicking or trying to force the issue too hard – instead they continued the steady and pragmatic build-up and were rewarded with Nichols’ goal.
“They defended well and sat in – they had a gameplan which was to sit behind the ball and make us break them down,” continued the stopper.
“That’s the beauty of football. It was almost like a chess match – we had to pick our moment, and it was a moment of genius from Tommy and we did it eventually.”
The fixture marked a sixth Football League appearance for Hamon, and a second clean-sheet during that period.
Hamon felt that having two experience campaigners in front of him in the shape of centre-halves Danny Butterfield and Matt Oakley – who between them now have 1,010 league appearances in their careers – has certainly helped him settle quickly into his role between the posts.
“I haven’t played a lot of games but I’m getting more and more experience,” James continued. “I’m relaxing a lot more and enjoying it more as well. I’m not uptight or nervous or anything, and I’m enjoying being part of this great team.
“[Oakley and Butterfield] are probably the two best ball-players in this league. It’s great to have them in front of me – not just on the ball, but even defensively. They read the game so well and they’ve got over a thousand league games between them.
“Their experience is great and it bounces off to young lads like Matt Grimes, Tom Nichols and myself. It’s great to have them involved and be playing with them week-in, week-out.”