Hall-Johnson: I gave it my best shot after shock last-minute call-up

Reece Hall-Johnson was surprised as anyone when, with just five hours to go until kick-off, he was told he would be starting at centre-back for the Cobblers against Leyton Orient on Saturday.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 1:20 pm
Reece Hall-Johnson made just his third start of the season on Saturday. Picture: Pete Norton

The 24-year-old played the final half-hour at Morecambe the previous weekend but ideally needed more time to get up to speed following seven weeks out with injury, however with Charlie Goode withdrawing at the last minute due to illness, it was a case of needs must for Saturday's visit of the O's.

So not only did Hall-Johnson make his first start since Town's 1-1 draw at Port Vale in early August - just the second game of the season - he was thrown into the deep end at centre-back against Orient's dangerous forward line.

"As a player you've always got to be ready because you never know what might happen, whether it's illness, injury or anything," said the former Grimsby defender, who typically plays at right-back.

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"It was obviously a surprise to be in the team at the last minute but I was happy to step in and give it my best shot.

"I've played the position a few times before and I know I'm not the biggest centre-half going but I'll always compete and do my best for the team."

Despite doing a commendable job in Goode's absence, Hall-Johnson could not prevent the Cobblers from succumbing to defeat as their four-game unbeaten run was abruptly ended by James Brophy's second-half strike.

"We didn't really get going and that's disappointing, especially at home because I think we've been decent at home recently," he added.

"We had a run going and hadn't lost in a few games so we should have gone into it with a bit of confidence.

"Losing Charlie at the last minute may have had an impact on us but I don't think that's an excuse - we just didn't get going. We didn't start well and we made it hard for ourselves throughout the 90 minutes."