Over the course of the 2017/18 season, Severn Sport have been on a nationwide tour, dedicated to bring the best coverage of Gloucestershire non-league sides available.
We’ve travelled far and wide to watch our sides play. Sometimes our trips have been fruitless, but there’s nothing better for us than watching one of our teams come away from a Severn Sport Live game with the win.
As a team, Severn Sport have collectively covered over 100 games this season, so we’ve seen our fair share of ups and downs! But nobody likes talking about the bad times, so instead we’re going to focus on some of our favourite matches of the 2017/18 campaign. We had originally planned to do a combined top 10 but instead will focus on each others top five matches.
Today, Kelsey De Maria runs through his top five games of what has been a memorable season.
5) Bishop’s Cleeve 2-3 Evesham United – 14/11/2017
This game was lost for Cleeve in the opening 12 minutes, for me. Going two goals down at home so quickly is dangerous for any team, no matter who you are or who you are playing. But when you’re bottom of the league and up against a very good side battling for play-offs, the task is even more difficult. Credit to Cleeve, though. They battled and battled and looked very dangerous before eventually grabbing one back, but Matt Williams scored his second in first half stoppage time and the game seemed done.
So we thought, anyway. Second half was all Cleeve and Jack Watts brought the Mitres back into the game but despite Evesham finishing the game with 10 men, Stephen Cleal’s men couldn’t draw level and claim a deserved point. Give props to Evesham, though, for a thoroughly professional performance in an entertaining game on a cold evening at Kayte Lane.
4) Quedgeley Wanderers 2-3 Cam Bulldogs – 17/02/18
We’ll start off right away by saying this: we are big fans of the setup at Quedgeley Wanderers. The pitch is a dream to play on and one of the best at Gloucestershire Northern Senior League level. Our first visit to Quedgeley came back in February as Chris Gooch saw his team entertain Cam Bulldogs. What we saw in the first half from Quedgeley was very exciting with some great football being played. Nathan Payne was a real handful and Cam didn’t really have an answer for him.
Quedgeley took a deserved lead from Jimmy Thomas, who earned a spot in February’s team of the month off the back of his performance that day. The key for Cam was the introduction as substitute of Adam Philp who was a cut above for them, equalising twice before Martin Booth headed home past a very unlucky James Mulrain with 10 minutes to go to give Cam all three points.
3) Slimbridge 2-0 Winchester City – 17/01/18
Let’s just be fair for a moment, this was a game that Slimbridge had no real right to win. I don’t think Freddy Ward will begrudge us for thinking that before the game. However, what we saw was a tactical masterclass and a game plan executed to perfection by Ward’s men. Ryan Butler and I sat there on commentary before kick-off and we knew that it would be very tough, Winchester are a very good side, make no bones about it. We were treated to a good end-to-end game until Adam Mace stepped up to a free kick on 25 minutes and put one in the postage stamp. One of the best goals we’ve seen this season.
Veteran striker Pat Cox was having no joy leading the line for Winchester, Tom Hoskins and Korey Pring were rocks at the back and everything the visitors threw at them, they dealt with. We said on commentary at the time that a second goal would win it for Slimbridge and that’s exactly what we got. Jack Twyman nodded home from close range to double the Swans’ advantage and despite the best efforts of Oli Bailey to put the team on his back, Winchester had nothing in reply.
2) Slimbridge 2-2 Taunton – 25/10/17
Wow, talk about a game coming to life in the last 20 minutes! This one seems like it was an absolute onslaught on Ollie Hall’s goal from Taunton looking at the stats. They peppered the Slimbridge keeper with 18 shots across the 90 minutes, but with only 8 finding the target and most of them relatively tame strikes, you just got the feeling that Slimbridge could nick one goal and be in with a good chance of taking at least a point.
Whilst the game may be remembered most for a hectic last 20, it will mostly be remembered as the ‘coming of age game’ for Marley Thomas. The young forward was exceptional for Slimbridge, scoring two fine solo goals as he did his best to give his side a shot at claiming all three points. As it were, Taunton showed why they would go on to become champions with a real never say die attitude, equalising twice with the second coming just two minutes from time. Whilst they might not have won the game, this performance really showed that Slimbridge could mix it with the very best in the Southern League West.
1) Gloucester City Under 18s 1-2 (AET) Oxford United Under 18s – 02/11/17
If you haven’t seen Kenny Blackburn and Neil Mustoe’s Young Tigers side in action this season, you are seriously missing out. This was one of the best team performances I’ve seen in a very long time. Gloucester knew they had their work cut out for them against a very good Oxford side, but they executed a game plan perfectly for 78 minutes. Doing their fair share of defending, City broke away from a corner kick with half time looming. The pace of the counter attack was frightening and Dom Kent has put this unbelievable cross field ball into the path of Logan Roach who has smashed a half-volley into the top corner. Unreal.
Second half and the Young Tigers had more defending to do and held firm. It took a good goal from Albie Hopkins with a little over 10 minutes to go to take the game into extra time where Owen James scored the winning goal just two minutes into the first period. Gloucester gave it everything they had as they searched to take the game to penalties but the Oxford defence, led by the outstanding Dan Carr, were not giving an inch. Although they couldn’t find anything more, it was an incredible performance from a very game Gloucester side on a hugely enjoyable evening of football. You can listen again to the full commentary below.
And there we have it. Kelsey De Maria’s top five games of the season. Tomorrow afternoon we will see which games makes Ryan’s list for best match this season ahead of the end of season awards podcast tomorrow evening.
In case you missed it, yesterday we announced that we shall be putting on a pre-season tournament this summer involving four non-league Gloucestershire based sides. For more information please click here.