Monday, 23 May 2011

402 James Spencer

Position : Goalkeeper

Played : 2007-08  to  2008-09 (only  played  for  Chester  in  latter  season)

Appearances : 20

Goals : 0

At the beginning of 2007-08 we didn’t really know what to expect. The second half of 2006-07 had been fantastic as the players responded to their liberation from crap team-mates and Parkin’s sterile tactics with a goal bonanza but would the effect last over a full season ? Moreover we lost two very good players as Gilks and Goodall decided to move on and replacing them wouldn’t be easy. We needn’t have worried; after a shaky start Hilly got the show on the road and while we didn’t hand out thrashings in the manner of the previous season we got enough results to get into the play-offs and went to Wembley where we were beaten by a better side.

Apart from Neil Bennett’s solitary game for Paul Simpson, James was our first new keeper since 2001 , arriving on a free from Stockport on a two-year deal. He had come up through the ranks making his debut at 16 in  2002  and had been touted for a big money move in the past but was now out of favour.

James was one of the few really poor signings of the Hillcroft era. He was a big guy and capable of pulling off spectacular saves but he never inspired confidence in either the fans or his team-mates. Against Hereford in particular (where we somehow got away with a 1-1 draw) he looked a bag of nerves and that’s the last thing you want in a keeper. When Matt Gilks conceded a goal his fingers were usually pretty close to the ball when it hit the net ; with James he often wasn’t in the field of vision. Our poor start to the season had a lot to do with  him  and  he  only  kept  three clean  sheets  for  us.

Fortunately for us  James got injured in  November  and non-contract signing Sam Russell got in the side and stayed there  until  he  got  injured. James  came  back  for  6  games , his  last  first  team  appearance  being  the  4-1  defeat  of  Accrington  in  March  2008. He  then  picked  up  a  hernia  injury  and  we  had  to  go  for  a  loan  keeper.

James had to make do with reserve team football in his second year until April 2009 when he went to Chester on an emergency loan playing in their last 5 games of the season.

He was released in May 2009 whereupon he joined his current club Northwich Victoria.

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