Today is the 1st April but there will be no fools in this team of the month. Frustratingly out of the nine games we covered throughout March we only saw our local side win in three of them, four if you include the Gloucestershire vs Gloucestershire game we saw in the GFA Amateur Cup.
Indeed, March was a hard slog. With the weather being hit and miss throughout, in one of the most bizarre starts to a calendar year weather-wise I can remember. Games were selected to cover as late as on the day with the constant need for pitch inspection results to determine which game would be featured on Severn Sport.
Out of the nine games we did see we saw 45 goals at an average of 5 goals per game. Despite March being filled with goals we did still see 3 clean sheets along the way.
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.
Monday 5th March – Gloucester City 1-0 Chippenham Town
Tuesday 6th March – Tuffley Rovers 1-2 Wantage Town
Wednesday 7th March – Longlevens 2-5 Bracknell Town
Saturday 10th March – Bourton Rovers 3-1 Longlevens Reserves
Saturday 17th March – Gloucester City 4-0 Hungerford Town
Saturday 17th March – Bracknell Town 4-0 Longlevens
Wednesday 21st March – Slimbridge 3-1 Kidlington
Saturday 24th March – Slimbridge 3-6 Didcot Town
Saturday 31st March – Thatcham Town 8-1 Longlevens
Goalkeeper – Ollie Hall (Slimbridge)
Spare a thought for Ollie Hall. He has been a part of a Slimbridge side that have conceded 96 league goals this season. Yet, he makes the side because realistically without him it would be in triple figures and beyond. During the two Swans games we covered he made crucial saves to keep the hosts in the game against Kidlington whilst keeping efforts out to keep the score line down against Didcot. His distribution has improved for me, what has stayed a constant is his goalkeeping ability.
Right Back – Luke Payne (Slimbridge)
Payne slotted in at right back for the majority of March for the Swans and his performances were impressive enough to warrant a place in the team of the month. The two performances we witnessed were polar opposite in terms of the job Payne had to do. Against Kidlington he was trusted to attack down the right more than against Didcot, a game which saw Payne pinned back in his own half throughout. Payne was a constant threat against Kidlington and scored the important equaliser at the time. Against Didcot he was run ragged (as were the whole back four) but he didn’t disgrace himself at all.
Centre Back – Robbie Cundy (Gloucester City)
March was a very good month for Gloucester City with the fears of relegation easing by the game. One of the reasons is the fact City are grinding out results at this important stage. They kept two clean sheets in front of us this month and Kelsey highlighted the importance of Cundy at the back. He has always been good on the ball and technically sound. He has been influential during this purple patch for Gloucester City and is starting to build a strong relationship at the back with the likes of Avery and Parselle, something City had throughout last season.
Centre Back – Joel White (Tuffley Rovers)
White makes it in this month for his performance against Wantage. Despite going down 2-1 at Glevum Park White showed me just how good he can be defensively. Joel White is one of (if not) Tuffley’s best players on the ball and has the ability to play short or long from the back. The only question marks over White have been whether his overall defending would be good enough for him to stay at the back with Macaulay Herbert (he had to get a mention). White had showed glimmers throughout his stint at the back but against Wantage he through himself at everything, blocked countless amounts of shots and his positioning was superb. He was one of many in claret and blue who didn’t deserve to lose on the night.
Left Back – Adam Mace (Slimbridge)
The third Slimbridge player to make this month’s team is Mace. He wears his heart on his sleeve everytime he puts on the blue and white of the Swans. Against Kidlington like his right sided counterpart Luke Payne he did a lot of attacking. The creative side to his play is one of his strengths. You cannot beat a fullback who is willing to run up and the down that line consistently for 90 minutes and one who looks constantly dangerous throughout. Mace provides a level of dynamic to Slimbridge’s side that a lot of sides in the Southern League West and even Hellenic Premier would pray for.
Right Midfield – Rhys Kavanagh (Gloucester City)
The Bristol Rovers forward saw his stint on loan at Gloucester City come to an end during the back end of March, but it will be remembered for some great performances on the pitch for the Tigers. Despite the fact he didn’t net during his spell with Gloucester he caught the eye of many on multiple occasions, including our man Kelsey De Maria. He put forward Kavanagh’s case saying that was a constant threat and outlet for Gloucester to use in attack whilst had the presence of mind for someone so young to track back and defend efficiently throughout. With Ethan Moore suffering a second ACL injury too, Kavanagh’s influence could be a big miss in the run in for City.
Centre Midfield – Jack Twyman (Slimbrige)
After the Kidlington game Twyman was etched on the shortlist for team of the month for his goal and overall performance. His position was finalised after his display against Didcot. Quite simply, he has no right to be playing 70+ minutes a game when he is still walking wounded let alone to be playing at such a high performance level. Twyman suffered ankle ligament damaged no more than six weeks ago and has been still been playing for the last three. An injury that potentially could have kept him out for the season has seen him strap himself up for the cause and put a shift in for his team. He looped Slimbridge in front against Kidlington and proved over the two games that he is the best passer of the ball Slimbridge have in their ranks. He connects back to front and still is the Swans’ focal point in midfield.
Centre Midfield – Ashley Davies (Tuffley Rovers)
Ashley Davies put in one of the best individual performances against Wantage that I have seen all season, and I have covered 77 games as of writing. Faced with a man marking job on Wantage’s influential Ryan Markham, Davies kept him quiet and in all honesty had the better of him for large periods of the game. Davies broke play up, got stuck in and put Tuffley in front on the night. He partnered Kieran Alder in the middle and you could see the impact Davies was having in the midfield. I literally cannot speak any higher of his performance that night. Just superb.
Left Midfield – Warren Mann (Tuffley Rovers)
The fact three Tuffley players have made the team of the month for their performance level against Wantage shows you just how well they played. Mann, like Davies and White, didn’t deserve to lose one bit. For a small guy he is physical and isn’t afraid to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Mann has signed a dual registration with Slimbridge and got a run out against Barnstaple midweek. If he can bring his quality with him then he will help guide the Swans to safety. Consistently one of Tuffley’s best players game in game out.
Striker – Craig Martin (Longlevens)
March was a horrible month for Longlevens. They didn’t win at all and failed to even get a point in any game covered on Severn Sport. One plus point throughout is Martin’s performances. His younger brother Brad has been the man banging in the goals for Levens this season but has struggled with injury and a lack of form in recent weeks, leaving Longlevens short up front. Player/assistant manager Craig Martin has stepped up and has surprised even me with his work rate when playing in the lone striker role. I have joked with him for a while now that when he scores he goes in the team of the month, well he is here and he would have been in the running before his strike against high flying Thatcham yesterday. Twenty yards, on his weaker foot, it trickled in mind but it went in and that’s the most important thing. It’s a goal he has deserved for weeks and let’s hope it can kick start a scoring run during the run in.
Striker – Adam Webley (Bourton Rovers)
I couldn’t put a team of the month together and not include the incredible effort I saw from Bourton Rovers during their 3-1 win over Longlevens Reserves in the GFA Amateur Cup semi final. Whilst the plaudits will go to Josh Fielding for his goal my eyes were caught by the work rate (a common theme is developing with stand out players this month). Webley was at the heart of everything Bourton did on the day. He got the third from the spot and it was his just desserts for an ever so sweet 90 minutes. You can sum up his desire with his assist for the second. He chased a lost cause deep into the right corner and must have made up 30 odd yards, he kept it in before swinging in the most beautiful and inviting cross possible. You can’t fault character like that let alone ability.
As always there are three substitutes and a manager to lead this strong and powerful team into battle. The subs are as follows:
Phil Blackburn (Longlevens Reserves)
Henry Birkett (Slimbridge)
James Hamon (Gloucester City)
Manager is quite easy this month. Marc Richards of Gloucester City is the stand out candidate for steering his Titanic sized mission on course for the promised land of safety and security during a transitional period for the Tigers. His Gloucester side are playing better now than they have been throughout this season and he is answering a lot of questions about him and his side. Marc comes across well in his post match interviews which you can tell will transfer across into how he is with his side. Let’s hope that Marc can continue this form with his side and can give the National League South a really good go next season.
So that is everyone set. The starting XI. The subs and the manager. Here is the XI in full:
With so many games to make up in April for all of our sides we will be looking to cover as many as possible as we fast approach 100 games for the season. Please visit our Facebook & Twitter pages for more updates.