Severn Sport Team Of The Month – October

This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! In this town we call home, everybody hail to the pumpkin song…god I hate Halloween. But what it does mean, is that it is 31st October which signals the end of the month. This season what happens at the end of the month? That’s right, it’s time to reveal October’s Severn Sport Team Of The Month!!

October saw us cover another 10 games, taking my personal total to 41 games this season so far. It takes Severn Sport up to 45 games since the start of pre-season so when we take a perspective look at that we would like to thank everyone who has been involved in those number of games.
So lets take a look at the statistics of the month, as you all know that we love our statistics at Severn Sport.

In October’s games we saw 10 games. In those games we saw a total of 34 goals, 16 less than September. But we did witness 6 clean sheets, four of which came in a row. We are now nearing 4000 minutes of live local football covered on Severn Sport and are way on course to break the 5000 minute mark in the next 6 weeks or so! Well that is the statistics over with now its time for the team of the month.

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.

Tuesday 3rd October – Cinderford 3-2 Slimbridge
Saturday 7th October – Slimbridge 0-1 Hartley Wintney
Tuesday 10th October – Tuffley Rovers 0-1 Longlevens
Saturday 14th October – Brimscombe & Thrupp 3-0 Royal Wootton Bassett
Tuesday 17th October – Tuffley Rovers 0-4 Hallen AFC
Wednesday 18th October – Longlevens 3-5 Shirehampton
Saturday 21st October – Sevenoaks Town 2-1 Longlevens
Tuesday 24th October – Bishops Cleeve 4-0 Shortwood United
Wednesday 25th October – Slimbridge 2-2 Taunton Town
Saturday 28th October – Tuffley Rovers 1-0 Woodley United

For the first time we opened up a vote to our followers on Twitter. We thought we would trial a public vote for one position each month and allow our followers to have their say too. Mainly due to the amount of tweets we have had each month suggesting players! So for October we asked you to pick our goalkeeper in the team of the month. The shortlist was Eric Edge who we saw play for both Cinderford & Tuffley Rovers, Ollie Hall of Slimbridge & Ash Wintle of Longlevens. We will confirm the winner of that poll below, but rest assured the two others will be the honourable mentions this month! After what I would consider a success of the Twitter poll, we will definitely run it again next month. So here is the team in full.

Goalkeeper – Eric Edge (Cinderford/ Tuffley Rovers)

Eric was on the shortlist for keeper way back at the start of the month when Kelsey, Matt & I travelled to the Causeway for a cup game “nobody wanted to win.” On the day Edge was superb. He played the role of sweeper keeper and did precisely that, he swept all before him in his final third and wasn’t afraid to come out of his area to win the ball. He went on to let in two goals, a penalty (that he nearly saved) and a square that would have been phenomenal had he kept it out. Switch forward to the last game of the month and Edge is now at Tuffley Rovers, filling in admirably for the injured Dave Evans. On Saturday against Woodley his mentality and concentration throughout the game caught my eye. He had saves to make and crosses to collect and his instilled confidence in his back four. He won the poll and is a worthy winner.

Right Back – Ollie Long (Longlevens)

I don’t know what there is left to say about Ollie Long. He is young. He is athletic. He is competitive and shows qualities both physically and mentally beyond his years. Every single time I see him play I go away even more impressed with Long. He scored a goal in the Challenge Trophy against Shirehampton and if there was anything that nearly guarantees a place in the team of the month is a goalscoring full back. He stepped onto it on the right corner of the box, took two steps forward and fired it low across the keeper and into the back of the net. He filled in at left back away at Sevenoaks in the FA Vase and had an exceptional cameo. Being honest, the way he is going he could be in the team of the month multiple times this season the way he is playing.
The choice for right back was between two Ollie’s, Long shaded out Bishops Cleeve right back Olly Butler, who was amazing against Shortwood.

Centre Back – Craig Martin (Longlevens)

We all knew this day would come. The day I would have to not joke about Craig Martin in a Severn Sport post. Craig gets in for a couple of tremendous displays in October. Away at Tuffley Rovers he was the catalyst in a Longlevens clean sheet. In the first half he blocked everything and even took a ball to the face…(stop it, you’re better than that!) He then played his part in a memorable FA Vase trip to Sevenoaks, despite the defeat. Craig and defensive partner Luke Kavanagh had to cope with one of the best front three’s I have seen all season. They dealt with some intense pressure throughout the 90 minutes and Martin kept up, despite his advanced years and recovering back. He takes a well deserved place in the team.

Centre Back – Chris Greenhough (Brimscombe & Thrupp)

Greenhough is in partly for the fact I had one of the worst moments in my commentating history making a mess of his name but mainly due to being a leader on the field and showing the rest of his Brimscombe side the way in their dominant 3-0 win over Wootton Bassett. Greenhough commanded his troops into battle and steadied the ship when the visitors started to pile balls into the box. He had a tough one on one battle with the striker Maximen for Bassett and he must have won a good 90% of his headers. It felt like the words “cleared by Greenhough” were ringing around on commentary for the whole game. As captain he stood up and stood tall for 90 minutes and between him and centre back partner Christian Turner it was one of the best defensive displays I have seen this season. Absolutely flawless defending.

*A quick note, this month was so hard to pick central defenders. Those who were shortlisted but missed out included Christian Turner, Macaulay Herbert, Luke Kavanagh and a central defender who has made the subs bench and will be revealed in due course.

Left Back – Max Harper-Emerson (Slimbridge)

Harper-Emerson is in at left back. It isn’t his natural position but I have seen him play left back for half an hour at Cinderford and 90 minutes against Hartley Wintney, a performance for which he makes the team. He is a player who can play in every position I am sure. I have so far seen him play left back, left wing, up front, right wing, central midfield and I am pretty sure I have seen him fill in at right back too. He is a hard-working and talented young man who isn’t afraid to get stuck in at the back but will also get the ball out of his feet and attack opposition defenders. He is a handy player to have in any squad for his durability & versatility. He is in the team of the month for October over Will Tunnicliff of Bishops Cleeve & Ellis Sausman of Longlevens who ran him close. In my ideas book (a book I write my Severn Sport based ideas down in) I have written out a few versions of the team of the month and in all three the left back was different, that shows you just how close the shortlist was.

Right Midfield – Brad Vanstone (Longlevens)

Vanstone makes the team of the month for a couple of outstanding performances throughout the month. He scored the winner at Tuffley whilst causing the Rovers back line problems for the whole game and also scored a dramatic equaliser in the Vase at Sevenoaks. He is fast, strong, skillful, can cross a ball and has the ability to finish (as he has shown this month amongst others). What has impressed me the most about Vanstone is his stamina to keep up the high performance levels for the whole 90 minutes. He works the line and isn’t afraid to get stuck in and defend, a rare commodity for some wingers in the Hellenic Premier amongst other leagues. He is in form and could well appear in future teams between now and the end of April.

Central Midfield – John Evans (Brimscombe & Thrupp)

John Evans. Wow. What a player. An industrious performance against Bassett capped with a beautiful assist. His ball to Sam Blackie was reminiscent of Ryan Giggs’ ball to Michael Owen in the infamous Manchester derby a few years ago. He caresses the ball around the pitch and makes it look easy to both retain and regain the ball. I said on commentary on the day that he reminded me of Gareth Barry the way he played the game. He read the play spectacularly well and commanded the midfield along with his partner in crime Ashley Caldwell, who was subbed off with 15 minutes to go. Evans put his body on the line throughout and from speaking to Brimscombe fans it is the level of performance they have been accustomed to by their midfield man.

Central Midfield – Henry Birkett (Slimbridge)

After Cinderford vs Slimbridge the first man to make the potential team of the month shortlist was Henry Birkett. He got man of the match for his performance in the Slimbridge comeback. He played what I can only describe as the single best pass I have witnessed this season. After the solid Cinderford back line scrambled the ball clear it fell to Birkett about 25 yards out. He had two or three Cinderford players closing him down and he delicately clips a ball from left to right to pick out Marley Thomas who then squares for Joey Stokes. The presence of mind to not only see the pass but to execute it was out of this world. He received man of the match on the day for the way he controlled the midfield for long spells but the question was can he keep that level of performance up? He has answered throughout the month a categorical yes. Against Taunton he had a quieter game but the midfield three of Birkett, Turner & Twyman had to contain a probable promotion gaining Taunton midfield. With that he has shown different levels and types of performances to show how versatile he can be.

*The central midfield position was one that was decided pretty early into the month. The only other central midfielder who was up for consideration was Kieran Alder of Tuffley Rovers. The way that young man is going it won’t be too long until he is here in the team of the month.

Left Midfield – Marley Thomas (Slimbridge)

Marley Thomas had one of the most impressive and influential performances of the season in the 2-2 draw with Taunton. He scored two amazing solo efforts and was a constant threat throughout the 90 minutes. He was great off the bench away at Cinderford, notching from the penalty spot and bagging an assist for the equaliser. His stock continues to rise game by game and performances like the Taunton game will do him no harm at all. A certain Gloucester City manager Tim Harris was in attendance and I am sure he was as impressed with what he saw as I was. Thomas may be a young man and could be a star in the future but he is close to being a star right now with the perfomances he is producing! Sensational player.

Striker – Sam Blackie (Brimscombe & Thrupp)

Sam Blackie scored two supremely taken goals in the 3-0 win over Wootton Bassett for a rampant Brimscombe side. He was a constant thorn in the visitors’ sides. He was exceptional throughout the 90 minutes and dispatched his goals with composure and quality. The first was inside the opening 90 seconds after a beautiful through ball from Evans. He got it out of his feet with his first touch and with his second he fired it beyond a very good keeper in Dan Lawrence with consummate ease. The second was the highlight for me. A long goal kick down field flew over the defenders heads and landed to Blackie on the edge of the box. Blackie plucked it out of the sky with a terrific first touch, his second was as composed as his first finish as he slotted it beyond Lawrence on the stroke of half time. Sam Blackie secured his place in the team with that goal for sure.

Striker – Jack Watts (Bishops Cleeve)

Ahead of Bishops Cleeve vs Shortwood I had never been to Kayte Lane and Bishops Cleeve hadn’t won a league game this season. As a team Cleeve pressed high, they took the game to Shortwood and put them under pressure from the first kick off. The performance was epitomized for me by Jack Watts who scored one and created two. He was unbelievable. It felt like every time Cleeve went forward he was in space. Not always due to space being offered to him but because he created space for himself for the whole 90 minutes. Watts was the focal point that Elliot Kennedy & sub Joe Bates fed off. They won the game 4-0 and realistically that flattered Shortwood as it could have easily been 4-0 at half time alone.

As always we have three substitutes and a manager to go with the team of the month. The bench looks like this:

Shayne Bradley (Tuffley Rovers)
Warren Mann (Tuffley Rovers)
Ben Tunnicliff (Bishops Cleeve)

The manager was a tough choice. I was torn between two. Stephen Cleal at Bishops Cleeve had to get a mention for two eye-catching results, the 0-0 away at Salisbury at the end of September and of course the 4-0 win over Shortwood, the first league win after a long, tough opening third to the season. He was beaten out by Sam Prior (Brimscombe & Thrupp) who has taken his side to 6th in the Hellenic Premier (the highest ranked Gloucestershire side in the league). Brimscombe played 7 games in October and won all 7 of them, scoring 19 goals in the process. Away from their incredibly impressive win in front of us against Wootton Bassett he also saw his side come back from 3-0 down to beat Shortwood Reserves 5-3 after extra time in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup. An incredible month for Prior and his side.
So we have the XI, the subs and manager all in place. Here is the full team:

Who will make the side for November? Find out at the end of the month as we decipher the 10 games that we will be covering. The games are going to be released tomorrow morning but I can reveal the month starts with Longlevens vs Fairford in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup. We will have live updates on our Twitter & Facebook via the Goalshouter app w/ Ryan Butler.