Macron Player and Reusch Goalkeeper of the Month Awards - December 2018
Mon 7th January 2019 | League Awards | By Ian Templeman
MACRON PLAYER OF THE MONTH AWARDS
PREMIER DIVISION - HARRY BRAZEL OF RUNCORN TOWN
During a month in which Runcorn Town underperformed in comparison to their usual high standards, midfielder Harry Brazel stood out with some exceptional performances.
He played in six of the seven games Runcorn played in the month, winning Man of the Match from the opposition in four of the five league games he played in, and having a great game also in the FA Vase Third Round tie at Newcastle Benfield.
In that game against Benfield at the start of the month, Harry was instrumental in many of Runcorn Town's attacking moves. He saw an early header fly just wide of the target and he also set up two great opportunities for Shaun Weaver who was inches away from the target both times.
It was ultimately not to be on the day, and it was a similar story a week later when Silsden won in Runcorn. This game saw Harry pick up his first Man of the Match award of the month, the midfielder going closest to opening the scoring with his shot midway through the first half cleared off the line by Matthew Moses.
He set up opportunities for teammates Simon Thelwell and Gary Burnett, with visiting keeper Callum Jakovlevs equal to them both in keeping a clean sheet.
The second league game of the month saw Harry collect a second Man of the Match award. He set up Burnett early on for a chance, then went on a mission to get a goal for his team.
Padiham keeper Tony Aghayere was equal to his first two efforts, a header and a hard hit shot, but he could do nothing to stop Harry opening the scoring from an acute angle just before the break. In the second half, it was Harry's cross that gave Charlie Ennis a simple tap in for the second goal, with Burnett inches away from tapping in from another excellent cross.
Irlam at home on the Saturday brought Harry's third Man of the Match award in as many games, in a game that was played in the most dreadful of conditions that limited chances for both teams.
He continually drove Runcorn forward, and netted the equaliser with an unstoppable shot from 18 yards that hit the back of the net before keeper Lee White had time to react. He also hit a low drive just wide of the target in the second half with White scrambling to keep it out.
Runcorn's next game at Burscough perhaps highlighted the importance of Harry in a game in which he was unavailable. Runcorn seemed devoid of ideas and put in one of their worst performances of the season with Burscough running out 4-0 winners in the end.
The Boxing Day game at home to Whitchurch was next, Harry returning straight away to the starting line up and again he was key to many Runcorn attacks. He also went close at the end of the first half as he brought a good save from Dave Parton, and set up a chance for Simon Thelwell in the second that Parton saved from point blank range.
The last game of the month, and indeed the year, came at West Didsbury & Chorlton in a 3-1 win for West. Harry again caused all sorts of problems for the home side, ultimately picking up his fourth Man of the Match of the month. West keeper Marcus Burgess saved an early effort from Harry, and he should have scored when heading wide from a left wing corner. He also saw a driven shot deflected wide for a corner and a 20-yard effort go just wide after he created space by beating two defenders.
FIRST DIVISION NORTH - ANTHONY HALL OF BACUP BOROUGH
During the month of December, Bacup Borough scored 17 goals in six matches, and Anthony contributed seven of these goals, coupled with two Man of the Match winning performances during the month.
While five of his seven goals have come from the penalty spot, it should also be pointed out that some of those penalties have come about for fouls on Anthony himself.
The opening game of the month, a 2-1 win at Daisy Hill, was the only game in the month that Anthony didn't score, and his first converted penalty of the month came the following week in the 2-1 defeat at Holker Old Boys.
The following week away at St Helens Town, he scored another penalty in the 6-2 win and in the third game of the month he scored from the spot for a third time as well scoring from open play in the 3-2 defeat of Carlisle City.
He then turned in a repeat performance at Shelley on Boxing Day with two more goals, one from open play and one from the spot in Bacup's 4-1 win and he rounded off the month by scoring with his 5th penalty of the month in the 2-1 defeat at AFC Darwen.
Bacup are playing some excellent football, and while this is a credit to the entire team, Anthony is the kind of player who excites the Bacup followers, and he can be very much a thorn in the opposition side with his trickery and quick feet.
FIRST DIVISION SOUTH - CALLUM DOLAN OF STOCKPORT TOWN
Callum recently joined Stockport Town from Bury FC, having previously been with Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers. At just 18 years of age, Callum's ability to drift past players in the middle of the park is a joy to watch and has transformed the team's attacking play.
Most impressive of all, in his first six matches for the club, starting with his debut at the end of November when Town lost 4-3 to Wythenshawe Town, he received the opponents' MOM in every one, which could well be a league record.
His first match in December saw Town beat Cheadle Heath Nomads 2-1. Callum created the first goal with a cross and scored the second. Two days later Town took on Sandbach, narrowly losing 2-1 with Callum once again scoring a goal.
Town's next match was against Wythenshawe Amateurs, where although Town eventually lost 5-2, Callum ran the game in the first half, as well as gliding past three players before getting taken out for a penalty which was converted.
In the next match at St Martin's, Callum played his part once again in a 2-0 win, including an assist for the second goal after squaring the ball from the by-line for Jack McConnell to score.
On Boxing Day Town hosted local rivals New Mills and Callum hit the bar in the first ten minutes, before scoring the opener with a beautiful curling effort. He went on to assist with two more goals in a 4-1 and collect his fifth successive MOM award of the month.
His final game of a fine month was against Cammell Laird 1907, but ended in disappointing fashion. Despite being a real attacking threat in the first half, Town couldn't break the deadlock, and Callum suffered a concerning injury as he crashed into advertising hoardings and was taken to hospital. Thankfully he didn't suffer a serious injury, and hopefully 10 days rest will be all he needs to fully recover.
With 3 wins, 1 draw and two defeats during December, Town's upturn in form has been down in no small part to the performances of Callum. He has been outstanding while contributing three goals and eight assists, and in turn has helped the other lads gain confidence and push on.
REUSCH GOALKEEPER OF THE MONTH AWARDS
PREMIER DIVISION - MARCUS BURGESS OF WEST DIDSBURY & CHORLTON
Marcus kept three clean sheets out of five matches played during the month of December, as West saw an upturn in fortunes and results following the arrival of David Powell as manager.
A 2-0 win at Whitchurch Alport was followed by a 4-0 win over Hanley Town three days later, and although West then lost 3-0 at Bootle - their only defeat of the month - they ended the month with Marcus again keeping a clean sheet in the 6-0 win at Abbey Hey on Boxing Day and conceding just the one goal when West beat Runcorn Town 3-1 on the final Saturday of the month.
Marcus has raised his game following the appointment of the new management team, and his confidence has risen 100%. He is playing with confidence, using the ball well and playing out from the back.
He has responded well and taken on board the instructions he is receiving from the coaches, and his performances during the month were raised to higher levels as a result.
FIRST DIVISION NORTH - MIKE SMITH OF PRESTWICH HEYS
Mike was again an ever-present in December, with two clean sheets acting as book-ends for the four league victories and two cup defeats.
One of Smith’s greatest assets is his ability to concentrate in games where he is not called into action regularly, and this was the case when Holker Old Boys visited Prestwich in the opening game of the month, when Heys won 6-0.
Against Bamber Bridge, the Heys ‘keeper kept the score down in the second half as they bowed out of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, and although he played in the 2-1 Macron Cup defeat at Nelson, Heys ended the month with three successive away wins.
In each of the games, Mike was the rock at the heart of the Heys defence, especially in testing conditions against LR at Crilly Park, dealing with a potential banana skin really well.
In these last three games, Smith played with three different centre-half pairings, but his calming influence meant that these changes did not affect Heys as they won at AFC Darwen and Holker Old Boys.
At the Anchor Ground, Mike made a series of saves in the opening quarter of an hour of the second half which were to prove pivotal in victory, and again at Holker, when the home side threatened, he matched everything that the Cumbrians could throw at them.
It's the second month in succession that Mike has won the award, showing that he is maintaining a high level of consistency in his performances.
FIRST DIVISION SOUTH - GRAEME McCALL OF RYLANDS
During December Graeme kept three clean sheets in four games and turned some very impressive performances.
The month started with a game against Alsager Town and a 3-0 win where Graeme made one world class double save in a game where he was largely a spectator. To have the level of concentration in a game played in dreadful conditions, and to come up big at a very important point of the game, is testament to Graeme.
Next up was a trip to Cheadle Town which ended in a goalless draw, and Graeme was much busier, being called upon a number of times to make important saves and big decisions coming for the ball to help out his team mates.
After Cheadle came Maine Road away on Boxing Day and another solid display from Graeme. The first half Graeme didn't have a great deal to do with Maine Road sitting deep and soaking up the pressure.
The second half was slightly different with Graeme being called into action on a couple of occasions making two very important saves with the game at 1-0 and 2-0 respectively. These saves inspired the team to go on and win the game 5-0.
The month finished with a trip to Abbey Hulton United and a game in which Graeme had another solid game in, despite the team falling to a 2-0 defeat. Graeme was once again very important and made key saves at key times in the game.
The first goal conceded in the game against Abbey Hulton on 23 minutes was the first league goal Rylands had conceded since the 13th October, in a game away to New Mills, a total of 920 minutes.
While that is a fantastic team achievement, there's no doubt this feat could not have been achieved without Graeme McCall, who wins the award for the second time this season. Not only does Graeme make a huge personal impact, but he also inspires the players around him.