AARON Chapman began the season facing a battle to keep his No.1 jersey at the club, but ended it as the best goalkeeper in the division.
The Reds stopper was crowned the winner of the League Two Golden Glove award having kept 18 of Stanley’s 19 clean sheets on their way to the title.
Chapman played the opening four league matches but lost his place to Max Stryjek when the Poland man joined on loan from Sunderland in the closing days of the summer transfer window.
Stryjek went straight into the team but his debut at Morecambe lasted just nine minutes before he was forced off injured and handed Chapman a chance to reclaim his starting spot.
And it was one the 27-year-old took with both hands, ending the year with 50 appearances to his name in all competitions.
He missed just one more match, when he was involved in a car crash on his way to the home game with Notts County in April, where Jonny Maxted made his debut and kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory.
But Chapman, who was not injured in the accident, returned to the XI for the run-in and the out of contract stopper, who is set to be offered a new deal by boss John Coleman, admitted the campaign had been a dream come true.
“It means everything, it is great to have the gaffer’s trust,” Chapman said.
“If anyone had said to me last year that I’d get anywhere near this trophy, I’d have said they were crazy.
“It’s a real honour for me to get this.”
Of the fight to get the starting jersey, Chapman added: “It’s been a big battle.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work, but without the gaffer’s trust I’m getting nowhere near the number one spot.
“You’ve got to have broad shoulders in football, it doesn’t matter who you are. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.
“As a goalkeeper, if I make a mistake then it’s a goal. If a striker makes a mistake, then they get another chance and they usually put it away.
“Hopefully I have done enough to earn a new contract!”
And the Stanley stopper, who was also part of the Chesterfield squad which secured promotion from League Two in 2014, was quick to thank his teammates for playing their part in the Reds’ defensive record.
Coleman’s men conceded just 46 goals, the joint lowest in the division alongside runners-up Luton Town, and the Reds No.1 added: “The lads have bailed me out a couple of times, so this award is for everyone, not just for me.
“It means a lot. This has been, hands down, the most enjoyable part of my career.
“Not many get to experience what I have this season, but this award isn’t just for me. We’ve done it as a team.”
It was an awards double for the Reds with striker Billy Kee taking the golden boot honour for League Two after netting 26 goals during a superb season.
The 27-year-old finished two clear of Coventry’s Marc McNulty and Cheltenham Town’s Mohamed Eisa.
Source : LancashireTelegraph