What a week it has been for everybody. During the week Ryan revealed part one of his top 10 and that same night it was confirmed that the 2019/20 non-league football season was over.
Yep, there will be no more non-league football in the UK, let alone in Gloucestershire for the 2019/20 season. The FA went on to confirm that the results for the season will also be expunged. The decision has caused some mixed feelings shall we say, but what it has done is given us all closure and a chance to look back at what will be known as the season “that didn’t exist.”
*Click on the games for match reports and post-match interviews*
After the inclusion of Cinderford Town’s defeat away at Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Trophy, we know have the inclusion of a happier time for the Foresters in their 5-1 win over Bristol Manor Farm – on a chilly Tuesday night.
It was a weird night and one of those where Kelsey and I had a couple of games lined up and one by one we saw them postponed. But like on so many evenings and weekends throughout the season you have to give great credit to the ground staff all over the county – as without them 90 games would never have been reached.
For those in attendance we were left stunned as a depleted Bristol Manor Farm side took the lead with a 30 yard effort that had Cinderford rattled in the early goings.
The game makes the list because of the sheer swagger and quality shown by Cinderford to absolutely romp this game. First, on-loan Aaron Basford levelled at the back post before forward Josh Hunt took over with a stunning hattrick.
An edge of the box curler, header on half time and a determined run of a solo effort saw Hunt grab the headlines and put Cinderford in complete control. James Harding then did what he does best and got on the scoresheet late on from the spot and at the time Paul Michael’s men’s play-off push was gaining momentum.
A controversial selection at 4. Mainly because an 11-goal game in a pre-season cup final would surely be up there for anyone in a list of top games? Well for me it just shows how many games I have seen!
This game was nothing short of absolutely nuts! Saracens midfielder Kai Mahon curled home an early free kick for the Hellenic Division One West side and from there, he began to run the show. He made it 2-0 on 8 minutes and with a number of local football fans looking on at Tuffley’s Glevum Park, the tournament hosts were stunned.
But a double from Jake Rhodes dragged Tuffley level out of absolutely nowhere and it was game on in the second ever Severn Sport Shield final. Incredibly the game went in at the break with Sarries in front 4-3 after Jamie Hammond scored either side of Rhodes completing his hattrick.
As we established in part 1, I am a sucker for a good story telling game and the story of this game saw Tuffley nearly produce a stunning comeback. Mahon curled in his second free kick of the game just after the break to make it 5-3, before an Adam Loveridge penalty made it 6!
Then a late double for Rovers saw the hosts reduce the deficit to a goal. After Brett James had pulled one back, Ash Bird took a late effort to make it 6-5 and a final to remember! A stunning game of football and one I believe is also up there for Kelsey in his top games of the campaign.
Before I’ll properly get into this I know that the Longlevens boys will be looking at this and thinking “why on earth is he doing this to us?!” But as I have always said, I love a good story.
Now on paper the story reads like this, Longlevens play out of their skins for 89 minutes, lead 2-0 after a near 4 hour coach trip down to Cornwall and are just minutes away from history – but a dramatic injury time that saw the hosts score two took us to extra time and there was only ever going to be one winner.
But, there was a lot more than that for me. Even sat here writing this I can tell you that I never really broadcast my personal life here on Severn Sport, but last October the Butler family suffered a major loss when my Auntie passed away. This weekend as a whole was a special occasion for me as not only was the 2nd November her birthday, it was also the first time I would be spending a night not in my own company and I was still hurting.
So this game would always be special to me because of the experience I had going away with Longlevens to commentate an incredible game that I won’t forget. I was proud to watch Longlevens play their hearts out and will always be thankful to manager Craig Martin and the squad for inviting me along for the ride.
This game makes it because not only was it a joy to behold to see one of our local sides tear apart a very good rival, but the timing of the game made the result even sweeter.
I think it was about a week prior to the match the Fairford vs Shrivenham rivalry went to the extreme. Now this bares relevance to this match because after Shrivenham dominated Fairford at Cinder Lane we all had to endure a week’s worth of social media mockery of Fairford due to the fact the club had banned Shrivenham to film the game…but that is a different story entirely!
So a week later we all head to Longlevens for the visit of Shrivenham and there was almost an air of expectancy from the visitors. Delightfully, what occurred was a thrashing that was incredible to see.
The game showed everyone exactly what this new-look Longlevens side are all about. From the first goal, where they countered at pace – leading to Brad Martin slipping in Harry Emmett to break the deadlock, they were in control.
Emmett calmly rounded the keeper to make it 2-0 before Shaun O’Connor picked out Brad Martin to nod home and Isaac Johns’ deflected effort made it 4-0 before the break. This was not meant to happen! Longlevens were doing this to a side who were looking to catch the top three and were fancied to do so!
After conceding following the break, Longlevens dug in and saw out a lot of the second half, before Ben Hands made it 5 and Brad Martin scored one of my goals of the season. Two one-twos with Harry Emmett ended up with Martin smashing home from inside the box and all in all it was a delightful night. On Come Dine With Me it would have scored a 10 because I had feasted on goals and comments online from Fairford Town as Gloucestershire reigned supreme.
This game is my favourite game of the season because of, you guessed it, the story of the game. Both sides were going into the game winless at the end of the first month of the new season were looking to bounce back from disappointing results on the Bank Holiday Saturday.
Brimscombe had lost in their opening league game against Binfield at the start of August and only had one point – a return no one had expected after they had gone so close to the Hellenic Premier title the season before. For Tuffley they had an indifferent pre-season and after losing a number of key players in the summer like Joel White and Kieran Alder, they too were struggling to grind out the results in the early goings of the season.
Cue a mad game with another stunning comeback from Tuffley. Jack Smith had headed the Lilywhites in front before Tuffley won themselves a penalty, which Warren Mann saw saved by keeper Ash Gale.
From there Brimscombe took control, with two Jonty Welch free-kicks coming either side of a Dom Kent strike, giving the visitors a two goal lead at the break.
A second half of huff and puff from Tuffley looked like it was going to end with a comfortable win for Sam Prior’s men. The match was going to be the game to get Brimscombe’s season back on track and was going to be the charge of a resurgence up the table…but, with two minutes to go the win was snatched from the visitors in the blink of an eye.
Adam Bloomfield beat Gale to a through ball before flicking the ball home and then a 30 yard effort from Jack Beardsell effort somehow went through Gale and saw the points shared.
There was drama just before the equaliser though, with Tuffley midfielder clearly handling the ball in the box, but cries for a penalty fell on deaf ears.
It is my game of the season because everything meant so much, the need for three points for both clubs, the emotion shown by Jonty Welch when h scored his first goals for the club after initially having question marks after his move from rivals Longlevens. The emotion of the comeback from Tuffley, from Dom Kent’s mum Karen when he had pulled his side back into it. A great advert for local and Hellenic League football.
With the top 10 now complete, Severn Sport can confirm that starting on Monday we will be beginning to announce nominees for the 2020 End of Season Awards. The winners will be revealed on Good Friday – check out the website for more information during the next two weeks.