Severn Sport’s Top 10 Games of the season – Ryan’s Top 5

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.

Yesterday Kelsey De Maria talked us through his top 5, you can read that here. Today it’s Ryan’s turn. He has 89 games to choose from so let’s see which games he has picked.

5) Slimbridge 3-1 Kidlington – 21st March 2018

I have been very fortunate this season in that I have had the chance to cover some big, no scratch that, some HUGE games for our county’s sides and this is a prime example of such. The last time we had been to Thornhill Park prior to this match was a 2-1 defeat to relegation rivals Bishops Cleeve. Slimbridge were on a horrific run of form going into this game and with Kidlington due to play Cleeve just a matter of days after this match it was vital the Swans got something from the game.

They went behind after conceding a penalty and Kidlington looked capable to adding to the scoreline but Luke Payne scored a massive equaliser that injected confidence into the Slimbridge side. Another man who did this was Jack Twyman. For me Twyman is Slimbridge’s player of the season, he was walking wounded for nearly two months at the end of the season despite suffering ankle ligament damage. He looped in a fantastic 25 yard volley to put the Swans in front and he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half. In the end Slimbridge defended well and scored a glorious third in stoppage time through Henry Birkett, the points were pivotal in their quest for survival.

4) Oxford City 0-3 Gloucester City – 1st January 2018

I spoke about big games. This wasn’t big, it was monumental. Gloucester City saw the departure of Tim Harris in late November 2017 and I have openly said that at the time for me they were as good as down. The negativity was becoming all too much to bare. They travelled to Oxford City on New Year’s Day hoping the new year would bring a new lease of life. And boy did the travelling Tigers fans get that.

It began with an early Ed Williams free kick which was headed in by Chris Knowles. The little man was left in acres of space in the box to nod home and it kick started an away day masterclass by new manager Marc Richards and his men. City were relentless with their pressure and doubled their lead thanks to Karnell Chambers. Chambers was fantastic on the day and after his goal took over from the injured Ed Williams as the key playmaker for the side. The biggest moment that I remember of the day though was Ethan Moore. He intercepted a loose pass, marched one on one with the keeper and slotted in for his first league goal of the season…in reality he finished it like it was goal number 30.

What followed that third showed  the togetherness and spirit that the remaining hardcore City fans have. Not only were they delighted for the three points, but they were delighted that a player who had been through such hardship had finally shown his capabilities.

You can listen again to that commentary here:

3) Barnwood United 6-0 Charfield – 3rd May 2018

One of the most recent games we have covered and the most recent to have appeared in either list but this match makes the cut for me because it was story telling at its finest.

After Barnwood defeated 2nd placed Frampton United Reserves the Saturday prior it left them top of the Stroud League Division One by just a single goal. Move ahead to the Thursday night. Barnwood were playing their final game of the season at home to Charfield whilst Frampton travelled to Stonehouse Town Reserves. What happened was sensational. Barnwood raced to a 2-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes. Frampton take the lead just after 20 minutes then it all went quiet. Barnwood woke us all up again by going 3-0 up just before half time.

Barnwood struggled to maintain momentum in the second half and then news came through that it was 2-0 to Frampton. Then just after Barnwood went 4-0 up Frampton made a game of the race again, scoring two quickfire goals to also go 4-0 up. Like heavyweight boxers they were going blow for blow as we ticked into the final few moments. Frampton scored!! They had gone 5-0 up and in doing so gone top of the league on goals scored….that lasted no more than 20 seconds as Barnwood won the ball and Tom Rich rifled the ball home. Barnwood were back on top. An injury time 6th goal clinched it for Barnwood and the title had been snatched away from Frampton. I needed the mother of all lie downs afterwards but it was a massive day for both clubs.

2) Ardley United 2-4 Longlevens – 9th September 2017

This match makes the list for its significance in the history of Longlevens. Going into this game Mark Moore and Luke Kavanagh told me stories of FA Vase and FA Cup games gone by and they told me that Longlevens had never won a game in the FA Vase. They were heading to Ardley United, a side who at the time had a record of 10 played 10 wins in the league, so it was no easy game.

I commentated the game live from Ardley and it was incredible. Longlevens played some thrilling football, as did the young Ardley United side on show. Levens lead at the break after Shaun O’Connor diverted Brad Vanstone’s shot into the net. The second half was always going to be big but the goal right on half time made it even bigger. O’Connor doubled Levens’ lead before Ardley decided to make a good go of it. Alex Feaver pulled one back before Dave Merrick restored the two goal cushion. The end to end second half saw Ardley score a second through Connor Harris and then the inform Jay Kennedy rifled one home from nearly 30 yards to secure the win and secure the historical moment in Longlevens’ history.

You can listen to that commentary right here:

1) Sevenoaks 2-1 Longlevens – 21st October 2017

This was one of the most memorable days I have ever experienced involving covering football. Everything from the excitement and buzz in the morning on my way to Longford Lane to meet the team, to the coach ride up to Kent, to the game, all the way to the drive home, which despite a loss saw no one with any sadness or despondence in their faces…except for when I got up and sang Will Young – Evergreen….to be fair, I nailed it!

The trip to Sevenoaks was the longest trip Longlevens have ever made for a game of football, a historical moment. It was the first time Longlevens had played in the FA Vase 1st Round, a historical moment. It saw the debut of the commentary team Butler & French, a historical moment! I mean the game had absolutely everything. Firstly, it was played on a 3g pitch, something I am a big advocate of as I do feel it allows for a better game of football. Secondly, it had two sides who were competent and competitive and two sides who both stuck to their task exceptionally. Thirdly, it had a ghost goal. A ghost bloody goal!! I couldn’t believe it. The Sevenoaks winger curled one into the bottom corner and it hit the stanchion in the side netting and came out…no goal given! It was absolutely unbelievable.

At the time it was 1-0 to Sevenoaks and Levens were heading out. Brad Vanstone equalised in the 88th minute. A shot from the left corner of the box that deflected and flew off the plastic and beyond the despairing keeper. Cue Butler & French going absolutely mental on commentary and extra time was coming!! That was until the Sevenoaks winger who scored the ghost goal scored an injury time winner in what was really the most poetic of justices for the Kent based side. Either way it was one of the best games I have ever seen let alone ever commentated on. It was what football is all about!!

I encourage you all to listen to the commentary of that game:

And there we go. Ryan’s top five for the season. A mixture of cup games, vital league encounters and history making moments galore. Here is to many more to come in the coming seasons, including the inaugural Severn Sport Shield – a pre-season tournament that we are hosting involving four of our county’s non-league sides. For more information click here.