“A great season for Gloucestershire Football” – Butler’s Top 10 Games

As the May Day Bank Holiday is now upon us, our football season has finished for 2018/19. Just like clubs in and around the county will be doing in the coming weeks, we are looking back on what was a great season for Gloucestershire Football. 

With the Severn Sport End of Season Awards 2018/19 approaching, one of the categories is the Game of the Season and both Ryan & Kelsey have picked their games.

Before they are announced though, Ryan has picked and run through his Top 10 for the season. The big man has been spotted all around the county this season and has chalked up 103 games for the term, meaning there are plenty of matches to choose from in a number of different competitions.

So let’s dive right in with Butler’s Top 10. *Click on the games to view match reports*

10) Barnwood United 3-3 Lydbrook Athletic – Saturday 18th August

After the dramatic end to the Stroud League season just months before, this was the first chance to see Barnwood in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League. Just days before they played out 0-0 draw with Brockworth that ended our run of no 0-0’s and also gave me my first penalty shoot-out but the final half an hour of this match sees it make the list.

The game was 0-0 just approaching the hour mark and it could have easily ended up 5-5. Both sides had and took chances and overall it was a great advert for the league.

Sam Taylor put Lydbrook ahead before goals from Demar Rankin-Woodhouse and Mike Dunn thundered in to make it 2-1. A Ryan Wilks penalty and a Taylor 93rd minute strike put Lydbrook 3-2 up but Keenan Rankin-Woodhouse would burst through one on one just a minute later to level. Crazy last half an hour.

9) Cirencester Town 2-3 Gloucester City – Tuesday 23rd October

This was my first ever Senior County Cup game and again it was one where the finish made the game so memorable.

A pretty dour first half was countered by an explosive start to the second, with Jamie Edge taking advantage of a scuffed goal kick to put the Tigers 1-0 up. Tommy Anderson equalised with a great strike after a through ball by Jordan Morris, before Ben Whitehead levelled after Jake Mawford thought he had won the game.

Mawford eventually scored a stoppage time winner after taking advantage of a defensive mistake to round Luke Merchant and score the deciding 5th goal. City needed the win as they were going through the Chris Todd winless run, but Cirencester were the better team. A good advert for local football.

8) Tuffley Rovers 1-2 Longlevens – Tuesday 14th August

In a season that saw Tuffley and Longlevens face off 5 times, including the semi final’s of the Severn Sport Shield, but it is the first league meeting that makes the list. Again, it was the late drama that will be the most memorable aspect of the game.

It was a gave we commentated on live at the time and it was one of those nights where there was a buzz around the place. Being honest, the Hellenic League got a lot of criticism for it’s fixture list in the early part of the season – but it gave us a lot of local derbies early on and it added excitement.

A lovely bit of play from James Campbell and Adam Philp saw the latter cross for Rhys Lewis to put Longlevens ahead, before Ed Smyllie gave away a horrific penalty with Levens comfortable. Warren Mann stepped up to level the game and both sides needed the win!

The winning goal from Craig Martin, Mr Longlevens himself, and it felt at the time as a massive moment. Both sides had started the season poorly and both were looking for first league wins.

7) Tuffley Rovers 4-0 Ardley United – Saturday 16th February

We are back at Tuffley Rovers for their win against Ardley and it is above the last game because this match felt like a turning point in Tuffley’s season.

With Rovers still struggling in the league, they weren’t getting the results that their performances probably warranted. Ardley were a side who would ultimately end up finishing below both Tuffley and Longlevens so were a side who could have been dragged into the relegation places.

This game was the game where the Young Rovers side started to click. On-loan forward Adam Bloomfield set up Kieran Alder for the opener and Alder provided for Dom Kent to make it 2-0, before Alder slotted home his second after the game became very heated. An Ash Bird 4th made it very convincing in the end and for me it gave Tuffley the belief they needed.

6) Ardley United 3-3 Longlevens – Saturday 9th February (Butler’s Day Out)

Ardley continue to be one of my favourite opposition sides as they appear again, this time it was 7 days prior and the hosting of Longlevens.

We recorded a Butler’s Day Out and commentated on the game and the whole day was great. Ardley took the lead through George Smith and threatened to run away with it and if they had, Longlevens would have probably gone down.

A rare Ed Smyllie goal saw Longlevens level the game up before Smith made it 2-1 to Ardley after the restart. Jonty Welch nodded in a second leveller before on loan Forest Green striker Jay Malshanskyj showed maturity and composure to turn the game and put Longlevens 3-2 up.

Ardley grabbed a late equaliser but the game showed Longlevens that they were capable of playing well, they just had to learn to grind out the wins – particularly away from home.

5) Longlevens 3-1 Abingdon United – Saturday 30th March

This match was a must not lose for Longlevens and pre-match we billed it as such. In reality what came was the one performance that I would pin point as the crucial game in Longlevens’ survival bid. After a 4-0 win at Windsor a couple of weekends before, there was more self-belief in the Longlevens squad but this match would be season defining.

After bringing Brad Martin back from Bishops Cleeve, this was the match where he really announced that he was back. A scintillating hat-trick, including for me goal of the season saw Levens win 3-1. The goal in question was the second of the three, he took the ball down on his chest, turned and fired an effort into the top corner from 25 yards with his right foot. What a goal.

4) FC Barometrics 1-1 English Bicknor (FC Barometrics win 5-4 on penalties) – Wednesday 19th September

This marathon match was memorable for the fact it was our first live commentary that featured a penalty shoot-out and bar the Severn Sport Shield, it was also our first ever cup final.

We had a lot of English Bicknor fans sat by us, which saw the atmosphere be crazy during the 90 minutes and extra time periods. In the end though FC Barometrics would win the shootout and lift the Reg Davis Cup.

A note for me was the performance of goalkeeper Lewis Adams. He had impressed already for Slimbridge U18s but a solid 120 minutes, with the stopper making some crucial saves saw him get the plaudits. He would then play 90 minutes for Slimbridge U18s just 24 hours later which showed his determination.

3) Brimscombe & Thrupp 0-2 Bishops Cleeve – Tuesday 7th August

As previously mentioned, the Hellenic League’s fixture listing received criticism throughout the season but it saw a heavyweight clash on the first midweek of the season here.

The Mitres came down into the league and were sporting their #Bounceback trend on social media and naturally not everybody believed in it. Brimscombe were tipped by me to win the league and the feeling was that they were about to have another season where they would be the top Gloucestershire side in the league.

What unfolded was a night of drama and a game that could have gone either way. A great assist by Brad Martin saw Elliot Kennedy break the deadlock before a solo strike from Jack Watts sealed the points.

The game was great theatre with Kennedy brining out Fortnite celebrations and manager Stephen Cleal celebrating up the touchline. It was a great night.

2) Slimbridge U18s 3-3 Cheltenham Town U18s – Thursday 1st November

Slimbridge U18s were always going to appear in this list somewhere, but ironically it was the first game in which they dropped points.

Two goals from the impressive Jeremiah Idowu and a Dan Kerr strike saw the Young Robins go 3-0 up inside the opening half an hour to really shock the side that had swept all before them at the time.

A crucial George Callinan header reduced the deficit right on half time and really inspired Slimbridge to get something from the game. Adam Bloomfield missed a penalty and it looked like the Young Swans were going to lose for the first time.

Two late strikes from captain Finlay Byrnes saw Slimbridge snatch an unlikely draw and remain unbeaten in the league. An incredible advert for local football and youth football in the area with some great talent on show.

1). Longlevens 1-0 Bishops Cleeve – Monday 27th August

A running theme in the rest of the top 10 is drama and theatre. This game had it in abundance. With Brad Martin returning to Longlevens for the first time with his then new club, the #Bounceback movement acting as target for Cleeve’s opponents and Longlevens’ push for points.

The game had everything. Two high quality teams playing our of their skins. The Bishops Cleeve attack was as ruthless as the Longlevens defence was resolute. It made for a great game of football.

The players on show made it feel like the stars were out and with a bumper Bank Holiday crowd at Saw Mills, Longlevens would win it thanks to a Myron Turner strike and even though Blaine Waugh would be sent off for the hosts, they held on to take the points.

Also a moment of note, Craig Martin coming off the bench, the game restarting and him flying straight through a Cleeve man to add to a fiery local derby. It is what football is all about.

 

Let us know what your game of the season was and why on Social Media @SevernSport