With 2015 behind us, it’s time to recognise the best performers of December. We’re pleased to announce the winners for Manager and Player of the Month.
There were some excellent managerial nominations for the final award for 2015 and it was a difficult choice. Having said that taking a club from the depths of the relegation zone to a healthy position in the Vanarama National League in just one month and with the same playing squad is a testament to high class managerial skills. Exuding a personal confidence which clearly resonates amongst his players, his appointment has given a tremendous lift to all at Southport FC, after a disastrous start to the season. Therefore the judging panel were unanimous in their choice and they believe there can be few who would begrudge the December award going to Dino Maamria as The Port end 2015 in mid table and in the 2nd Round of the FA Trophy.
Teams do not rise to the top of the table without good reason and the Robins clearly demonstrated their wish to return to the Football League at the first attempt. To be in such a commanding position in the Vanarama National League at the end of 2015 has been a tremendous effort from all on the playing side of Cheltenham Town. One player has caught the eye on many occasions with excellent contribution to assist with goals and weighing in with important goals of his own. Just 22 years of age, Jack Munns has been an integral part of the success and is the winner of Player of the Month. Goals are required to win matches and he is a player who has vision to create the telling pass or pop up himself to be in the right place at the right time. His ever present name on the team sheet is crucial for manager Gary Johnson.
The Vanarama National League North has shown in December how difficult it has been for any one club to string together a series of outstanding results. Amongst the many topsy-turvy results in December, it has proved difficult for the judging panel to identify a runaway candidate. Close examination of performances has been a key to the award for December and leadership by a manager comes in many different forms. Often a club needs to find a consistency even if that does not always mean winning every match. Lowestoft Town had been stuttering in the relegation zone but apart from one defeat when player ill-discipline cost them dear, they have achieved some excellent results during the month including their defeat of Boston United. Instilling a new belief and demonstrating that his players can compete well whoever the opposition has been a key element. Nothing comes easy and Ady Gallagher deserves his award as Manager of the Month.
As indicated in December with some of the awards, it is not always about goal scorers, albeit this midfielder also knows where the net. There needs to be an all-round contribution to a team which makes it stand out and with someone responsible for pulling the various threads together. Having suffered a major loss in November as the FA Trophy holders were knocked out at the first hurdle, the club needed leadership to pick them up from that set back and Liam King as skipper showed what the club is all about by leading from the front in December. His three goals have of course helped but apart from one defeat in the Vanarama National League North, he has led his teammates into a really great position. To finish 2015 in third place after their close season worries needed strong personnel too off the field, Liam has not been found wanting and claims the Player of the Month award.
Much was expected of the Gander Green Lane outfit this season in the Vanarama National League South but it has taken a time for the squad to really hit top form but they certainly have in December. Whilst long time leaders Ebbsfleet United sit at the top in a commanding position the recent good form shown by Sutton United has seen them become the main challengers to try and reel the Kent club back into the pack of chasers. Paul Doswell has identified a system of play and gelled the squad into a winning formation. This has contributed to him winning Manager of the Month. The New Year is full of promise after a terrific end to 2015 and the Vanarama National League South and North managerial winners for December will go head to head in the FA Trophy in January.
In December Dartford become a club who are showing some top form and in so doing lifted themselves into a challenging position to earn promotion from the Vanarama National League South at the end of the season. Remaining unbeaten throughout the month and moving into such a position cannot be down to one player alone, but on and off the field there must be a determination to succeed and as long serving club captain, Elliot Bradbrook clearly shows a valuable return in that additional role. Now in his seventh season with Dartford at 30 years of age, his commitment is evident alongside his ability to find crucial goals when it matters. The Player of the Month award for Elliot is a testament to his efforts for making his club a success on the field.
Captain Elliot Bradbrook with his award