As we tick towards 2019 and the second half of the 2018/19 football season, we look back on a terrific season so far and to celebrate we are bringing you the December Team Of The Month earlier than planned.
This month we saw just the 7 games. With a weekend missed due to Ryan being back in Reading for Christmas, along with the Longlevens vs Langley game getting called off as Ryan arrived the weekend before, we unfortunately missed out on ending the month nearer the average of 10 games a month.
However, out of the action we did see, we witnessed 35 goals at an average of 5 goals a game. It is safe to say Gloucestershire went goal crazy in December.
As always, the difference between the Severn Sport Team Of The Month and other similar awards is that we pick players who excelled and performed in Severn Sport live matches. So let’s take a quick look at the games we covered and the games we had to choose players from.
Saturday 1st December – Tuffley Rovers 3-1 Bourton Rovers
Monday 3rd December – Slimbridge U18s 2-5 Gloucester City U18s
Tuesday 4th December – Tuffley Rovers 3-9 Brimscombe & Thrupp
Saturday 8th December – Berkeley Town 2-0 Longlevens Reserves
Tuesday 11th December – Brimscombe & Thrupp 0-2 Longlevens
Wednesday 26th December – Bishops Cleeve 2-1 Longlevens
Saturday 29th December – Cirencester Town 5-0 Bristol Manor Farm
So let’s take a look at those selected in this month’s team.
Goalkeeper – Ash Wintle (Longlevens)
Wintle makes the team after a clean sheet at Brimscombe, followed by an impressive performance away at Bishops Cleeve. He has made a few mistakes this season, as a lot of keepers have, but he served a reminder on Boxing Day to just how good he can be – including a fabulous double save to deny Elliot Kennedy & Brad Martin. On his day one of the best in the county.
Right Back – Brad Loveridge (Tuffley Rovers)
Loveridge produced two very high quality performances in our featured games this month. Despite being part of a defence that conceded 9 goals in 120 minutes of action against Brimscombe, Loveridge played his part in a great 90 minutes for Rovers. This was on the back of a solid performance against Bourton Rovers just three days earlier. Not the most vocal of players but Loveridge is growing in confidence and showing how good he can be.
Centre Back – Ellis Sausman (Longlevens)
Since returning to the side, Sausman has been assured on the ball and has been solid at the back. December saw a hard run of games for Longlevens, with the Hellenic Premier’s bottom side facing 4 of the top 5 within the last few weeks. Sausman was superb against Brimscombe and was part of a back four that were liquid tight. Then, he had Brad Martin, one of the top scorers in the league, virtually in his back pocket for the most part – something you don’t see everyday.
Centre Back – Kyle Pitts (Brimscombe & Thrupp)
What a December for Kyle Pitts. The centre half not only played a crucial part in vital wins for Brimscombe but he chipped in with a few goals. including one in the 9-3 win against Tuffley as well as a hattrick along the way too. With Chris Greenhough missing a few games here and there Pitts has stepped in and has been a key part of Sam Prior’s side. The guy is on fire right now.
Left Back – Nick Humphries (Brimscombe & Thrupp)
Another defender from Brimscombe who was very impressive in the two games we saw this month. Humphries produced a frustrating moment for Ryan though. With Tuffley winning 3-2 in the cup on a horrifically cold and wet night and all we wanted to do was get home in the warm. Only 30 seconds remained when the ball fell to Humphries and he slammed the ball home – meaning we had to endure another 30 minutes of wind and rain….thanks Nick!
Right Midfield – Lewis Bainbridge (Gloucester City U18s)
During the U18s tie between Slimbridge and Gloucester City, Bainbridge was the one player who showed just how good he was throughout the whole 90 minutes. Quick, dynamic, direct and clinical, Bainbridge was a player who going into the game we had heard an awful lot about, but he was out of this world good. Since then he has appeared for Shortwood United, included scoring last weekend in Wood’s second draw in a row. One for the future for sure.
Centre Midfield – Jack Horrell (Brimscombe & Thrupp)
This season Jack Horrell has been one of the best ball players that we have seen. Against Tuffley, Horrell played the game at his own pace and dictated it. Against Longlevens he struggled because through the work rate of Merrick and Welch he wasn’t given the time or space to produce his best. With that being said though he was still one of the best players on the night for the Lilywhites. He has chipped in with a few goals this term but has assisted a hatful.
Centre Midfield – Dave Merrick (Longlevens)
During the game against Brimscombe we tweeted “Where would Longlevens be had Merrick been fit from the start of the season?” And it’s true. He is a talented player who lifts Longlevens as a unit, especially in the midfield. At The Meadow he stuck one in the top corner from nearly 30 yards before firing a 25 yarder in off the post. That is how easy it is for him. He is a player who will have a massive role to play if Longlevens are to stay up.
Left Midfield – Aidan Bennett (Cirencester Town)
In our final game of 2018 we saw a clinical Cirencester Town side demolish Bristol Manor Farm and Bennett is one of three players to make this team. Bennett was superb from the left wing, both attacking and defensively. His connection with Louis Spalding enabled him to find a lot of space down the left hand side. With an assist on the day he provided the key ball on a number of occasions as Cirencester threatened a cricket score at the Corinium.
Striker – Alan Griffin (Cirencester Town)
Alan Griffin was Ryan’s man of the match for his showing against Bristol Manor Farm. He was strong, he was smart, he held the ball up well, he brought his teammates into play, he scored a brace and he had nearly the perfect performance. There really isn’t much more to write about how key the big man is to Cirencester. Everyone looks at Whitehead but you leave Griffin at your peril.
Striker – Ben Whitehead (Cirencester Town)
Like his striking partner Alan Griffin, Ben Whitehead scored a brace against Bristol Manor Farm and even missed a penalty…and that was without really playing as well as we have seen him. The Gloucestershire goal-machine continues to score copious amounts of goals and is one of the most prolific forwards in the West. But there is more to Ben’s play than just scoring goals. Like Griffin he holds the ball up incredibly well. He bounces off opposition players so easily at times and he is really a ridiculous player. There have been rumours that sides like Forest Green Rovers and Gloucester City have watched him and it isn’t hard to see why with the level of performances he produces.
So there is the starting XI. This season we have 5 substitutes instead of 3 as that makes up the standard matchday squad. Here are the subs for the November team.
Freddy Ward (Bishops Cleeve)
Jordan Staten (Bishops Cleeve)
Shaun O’Connor (Longlevens)
Arron Nash (Berkeley Town)
Miles Ferguson (Gloucester City U18s)
The manager of the month goes to Craig Martin at Longlevens. Now I know that if you look at their league position they are bottom of the Hellenic Premier, but what you will see if you look at the month they have had.
Levens have played Ardley United away in the cup, less than month after losing 4-0 at home to their Oxfordshire counterparts. What followed was league fixtures against four of the top 5. A big win and clean sheet at Brimscombe will inject a confidence in the side that narrow defeats to Brackley Town Saints, Bishops Cleeve and Ascot United in games where they deserved more won’t diminish too much.
In recent weeks Longlevens have defended better, look more settled and are more solid in the midfield. Only time will tell however to see if they can escape the drop. For now, Martin is doing a great job.
So here is the full XI for the month:
Happy New Year to all of our followers and we wish everyone connected to Gloucestershire football a successful 2019!