Well what a first week we have had on our first ever pre-season tour here at Severn Sport. Since Friday 7th July we have seen three very different yet entertaining matches and have already got a taste of the buffet table of local football on offer this month. In case you have missed the beginning of the tour we decided to bring you this weekly review to show case the games we have been to and sharing our experience of the local football scenery.
***The Pre-season Tour is Supported by Macron Store Gloucester. Please visit http://www.macronstoregloucester.com for all of your sportswear needs***
Game 1 (07/07/17)- Fairford Town 1-1 Shortwood United
The game was a fantastic introduction to pre-season for players and spectators alike. A good run out for all players on both sides and had more quality on the pitch than I had originally expected. Shortwood had the better of the first half and found themselves in on goal on multiple occasions. At half time Shortwood had been offside no more than 6 times! Fairford came back into it in the second half and as the visitors got tired Jody Bevan’s side looked the more likely of the two to score a winner, however saying that Shortwood looked very handy on the break! Two good teams.
I left after the game feeling the way I did above and that is that the draw was a fair reflection of the game. Shortwood shaded the first half and Fairford edged the second half. For a pre-season opener both sides wanted to win and both looked good going forward.
Stand Out Player(s)
The one that stood out for me more than most was Fairford Town striker Levi Cox. The man at times had scraps to feed off and for a first game of pre-season he ran his absolute socks off for the 80+ minutes he was on the field. Jody Bevan should be delighted with his performance level.
After a lovely day at the cricket for yours truly it was an amazingly quiet and relaxed evening at Fairford. My first ever trip to Fairford as a town and what a friendly place to go and watch football. The locals were in good spirits and were welcoming, especially Fairford chairman Stuart Pike who talked to us about the club and its family friendly environment (which you can listen to here http://severnsport.co.uk/?p=6345).
The only negative from the night was the sunburn I had obtained whilst at the cricket. Seriously kids, sun cream is your friend! Be Smart!
Game 2 (08/07/17) – Evesham United 1-1 Gloucester City
Another 1-1 draw on the pre-season tour and the scoreline was once again right. Neither side really did enough to win the game. In terms of performance levels Gloucester were the better side at the start of the first and end of the second halves but I felt that Evesham grew into the game and ended the first half strongly. The second half started slowly but Evesham settled the quicker of the two. Former City man Matt Williams was solid at the back and opened the scoring in the second half before substitute Ed Williams equalized for the Tigers. Overall a very good run out for the new tenants as well as their landlords.
The game had more substitutions than the first game of the tour (at Fairford there were multiple subs happening at once) and it lead to a stop start second half. Once Evesham scored City and in particular Ed Williams turned on the style. As I said, neither side did enough to warrant the win but for an opening game of pre-season it was physical, entertaining and pretty fast paced throughout. Both sides should have a good season.
Stand Out Player(s)
Due to the amount of players that appeared on Saturday there were a few that caught my eye. Firstly, keeping up the high performance level of last season I thought Ed Williams was incredible for City in that second half. Running at the defence, spreading the ball and ultimately showing that killer instinct in front of goal. Impressive! For the hosts Adam Mann looked sharp up front with James Campbell in the first half, was moved to the left wing in the second and ended the game at left back, he was given man of the match as he didn’t do an awful lot wrong…except for his horrendous haircut! Also special mentions for Karnell Chambers who played nearly 70 minutes and Matt Williams who was in the way of everything for the hosts!!
There was a good turn out from both sets of fans and at times the Evesham fans were making themselves heard. The players fed off the energy of the home crowd in the second half. The Gloucester fans that made the trip would have been looking to get familiar with the stadium and its surroundings for the season ahead. Evesham played the role of hosts amazingly well and ultimately looked to showcase their club both on the pitch and off. A very good afternoon’s football.
Not for me really. The weather was great, the football was good enough and everyone had a good time out. The sunburn wasn’t too bad (moisturizer saves lives) and it allowed us to get the dreaded first commentary of the new season out of the way!!
Game 3 (11/07/17) – Cinderford 5-1 Cheltenham Town U23s
The hosts started brightly and were just a bit sharper in the first half than their younger counterparts. There were counter attacks, high swinging set pieces and even a 30 yard screamer ringing the Cheltenham crossbar. Cinderford were nearly flawless, looked good on the ball (even though they had less of it) and deservedly took a 1-0 lead. The hosts scored a second before the break and it looked like curtains. To Cheltenham’s credit they came out for the second half completely opposite to the way they began the game. They had urgency in their play, the guys were actually talking to each other but Cinderford (and Danny Clare in particular) defended valiantly. Two quick fire counter attack goals saw Cinderford race to a 4-0 lead before a rare mistake saw Cheltenham score a consolation. In the end Cinderford had the last laugh with a 5th, courtesy of Billy Guest.
Before the game I predicted 4-2 to Cinderford and was on course for the dream coming true but ultimately Cinderford nabbed the 6th goal of the game. Did the scoreline flatter Cinderford? Not really. For me they were good value and on another day would have scored more. That isn’t to say Cheltenham were poor but it just seemed that Cinderford were that little bit sharper and quicker in the tackle that their visitors. After the relegation Cinderford suffered last season, playing like that will see them challenge for promotion.
Honestly I have to only pick out a few Cinderford players as Cheltenham’s guys didn’t do enough to stand out really. In the second half the big man up front Declan Morley-Lynne came off the bench and was absolutely phenomenal. He bullied the backline and even pulled a long throw out of his arsenal. In the first half and for a cameo in the second Nick Humphries looked quality on the left. Took on his marker time and time again and wasn’t afraid to cut in and gamble in the box. As mentioned above Danny Clare was exceptional at the back. Tackling, heading and passing the man was incredible. But it has to be said every player in black and white last night was superb.
The Causeway was rocking in the rain. Both terraces were full and they were treated to some entertaining and competitive pre-season football, despite the misty rain that was settling in throughout the second half. The locals were enjoying themselves throughout and again welcomed us with open arms. I was even complimented when I started the applause for the players as they departed for half time. As I said to the gentleman and his lovely wife next to me “well, it hasn’t been a bad game has it?” I’m a nice guy.
Raining in July? Come on now! Not even a negative really as it helped my healing sunburned arms that’s for sure.
And as if by magic, the shop keeper appeared…..and that’s the end of the first week of the Severn Sport Pre-Season Tour supported by Macron Store Gloucester. Coming up between now and next week’s review we have live coverage of Gloucester City vs Bristol Rovers, live from Thornhill Park in Slimbridge. The game will be live on Severn Sport so look out for that! Then on Tuesday 18th July myself, Matt Yates and friend of Severn Sport Tyrell Foster will be heading down to Tuffley Rovers vs Cirencester Town before Kelsey De Maria and Charlie Hughes (Severn Sport Tipster League’s Square Leg) will be providing coverage of Gloucester City vs Newport County whilst Ryan Butler and young Tyrell will be heading down to Cirencester for their game against Cheltenham Town U23s, both games live on our social media accounts on Saturday 22nd July.
Until then, please enjoy the updated pre-season poster, now with scores to show you what you have missed!
Thank you to everyone we have met during the tour so far and we will see you all along the way!!