The Macron Player of the Month Awards have been confirmed today and we are delighted to announce the winners for February 2020.
PREMER DIVISION - SCOTT McGOWAN
1874 Northwich leading goalscorer Scott McGowan is the Premier Division Player of the Month for February after scoring five goals in five games, picking up two Man of the Match awards in the three League games he played along the way..
The month started with a Cheshire Derby against in form Runcorn Town. Despite going a goal behind, the team equalised in the first couple of minutes of the second half, a well worked corner involving Scott saw a teammate drill the ball home. Scott continued to lead the line to push for a winner, however whilst 1874 enjoyed much of the possession, they were met with some resolute defending from Town and the teams shared the spoils.
1874 then travelled to North Cheshire, to take on higher ranking Warrington Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup. In an entertaining game, 1874 more than matched their hosts and were only beaten by a close-range smash from 6 yards. 1874 had a few chances to score, with Scott in particular pushing hard for the equaliser. The best chance for Scott saw the Keeper make a last second block with his feet, from his goal bound effort.
Hanley Town were the next opponents and a very fast start from the Greens saw McGowan send a terrific volley into the net on three minutes. 74 enjoyed several chances during the first half, but thanks to good goalkeeping and last ditch defending, the score remained the same. During the second half, 1874 dominated the game and secured three further goals and with a bit more luck, Scott could have increased his tally for the season. His work rate and endeavour earned him Man of the Match.
The third League game of the month saw 1874 travel across town to play in the Northwich derby. It is fair to say that Scott made all the headlines. Finding themselves in an unusual situation of being three down, the team regrouped and dominated the second half with a very good footballing display. The fightback started immediately after the hosts scored their third goal, Scott won the ball just inside his own half, he moved forward and unleashed a 30-yard piledriver that evaded the defenders and Goalkeeper. Game on!
Twenty minutes into the second half and the ball came to Scott just inside the area, slightly off centre. He twisted to beat his man and placed a beautiful curling shot over the defence and Keeper into the top corner. With a couple of minutes left of the game, a ball was played into the area, where it was headed back to Scott who was hovering on the edge of the area. After composing himself in a split second, he hit it on a half volley and watched it sail into the bottom corner, much to the delight of the large contingent of 1874 supporters. Scott’s determination and fighting spirit to help drag his team back and secure what was ultimately a good result, quite rightly saw him named Man of the Match.
In the final game of the month, 1874 played at Maine Road in the Macron Cup. Patience was the key for the Greens as the hosts worked very hard however 1874 earned a place in the semi final with Scott McGowan breaking the deadlock against spirited opponents. He was also on hand to support for another three goals and see the team through.
Scott is a born goal scorer, whether knocking them in from close range or scoring the thirty-yard screamer but more than that, he is a grafter and is very determined to do whatever is needed to earn his team the right result. This was evident during the derby at Wincham Park but in truth, Scott has the right attitude during every game, and we believe that he has very much earned the plaudits that have come to him.
FIRST DIVISION NORTH - ALEX O'KEEFE
Shelley winger Alex O'Keefe is the First Division North Player of the Month for February after scoring three goals and picking up two man of the match awards in an unbeaten month for the Huddersfield based side.
Shelley's month saw two wins and two draws in four first Division North games, plus progression to the Macron Cup semi-finals. And Alex O’Keefe has been at the heart of the success for the promotion-chasing side. With Matty Waller also going great guns, O’Keefe’s presence means Shelley threaten from both flanks – and both men have an eye for goal as well as being able to create chances.
Waller leads the club chart with 17, but O’Keefe, recruited partway through this season from Ossett United, of the Northern Premier League, can boast a valuable 10. Three of those came in February, starting on Saturday 1st February when he and Waller both notched in a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Prestwich Heys.
O’Keefe was named man of the match, just as he was for the 3-3 draw at Steeton a week later, which came after a 2-1 win over Garstang on Tuesday 4th February in which he also shone under the Stafflex Arena floodlights, posing the Lancastrian visitors plenty of problems. After a week's rest due to postponement, Shelley edged a highly entertaining game 3-2 against Ellesmere Rangers in the Macron Cup, and O’Keefe got the winner with a sweetly-struck shot, much to the delight of the Shelley faithful.
The last match of the month, on Saturday 29th February, took place on an artificial surface at AFC Darwen, which O’Keefe found very much to his liking. He grabbed the first goal as the visitors won 2-0 to stay fourth in the table.
FIRST DIVISION SOUTH - AARON FLEMING
Abbey Hey defender Aaron Fleming is the First Division South Player of the Month for February, standing out in all games that his side played in the month and picking up Man of the Match in half of them.
Put simply, he has been outstanding this month. His ability is without question and there have been a number of scouts from clubs higher up in the football pyramid as well as from Football League clubs watching him. Aaron has formed an excellent defensive partnership with his colleague Josh Dickin.
Aaron was nominated the man of the match in Abbey Hey's 1-0 victory away at Sandbach United then three days later was nominated the man of the match in Abbey Hey’s 3-0 victory at home to Sandbach United again. Aaron is a firm favourite with the Abbey Hey’s supporters and is a strong favourite for the clubs Player of the Year