THE heavy pitches might be stopping Millbrook from producing their best football – but they have found a formula for getting results as they start to climb the table.
Saturday’s victory over struggling Cadbury Heath at a muddy Jenkins Park came courtesy of goals of real quality from Josh Toulson, Tom Payne and Rikki Shepherd.
But it also owed much to the team’s defensive abilities. This was their fourth clean sheet in five games; previously they were leaking goals at an alarming rate.
Boss Macca Brown said: “Three-nil is the perfect scoreline from a manager’s point of view, as it suggests we’ve defended well and been a real attacking threat.
“But to be fair it wasn’t as straight-forward as the scoreline might suggest.
“It was a difficult pitch, which was a surprise because game to game it normally recovers pretty well, but as soon as I saw it I thought it could be a bit of an issue.
“But that’s not an excuse as Cadbury Heath knocked the ball around well in the first half and we said that at half-time. We just didn’t start the game well, and that seemed to impact the rest of the half.
“The players were getting frustrated and this had a knock-on effect into performances. We had one real moment of quality play that ended with a brilliant goal from Josh Toulson, who was outstanding and has been all season.
“He seems to play a different position every week which tells you how good he is and he is capable of scoring goals like he did on Saturday.”
Brown went on: “The second half continued to be a bit messy and at 1-0 it’s always dangerous, but the subs made a really positive impact on the game.
“And as soon as Paynee scored the second, which was very similar to Josh’s, we settled down and played with a lot more quality and Rikki finished it off with another great team goal.
“That was great for him as he’s not been available for a couple of weeks so to come back with a goal is great for him.”
In terms of the quality of the performance, Brown said: “We are realistic and know it can’t be pretty football every week as much as we’d like it to be, particularly this time of year.
“We kept another clean sheet, which means we’ve conceded one goal in five games now.
“That gives you a great foundation to win games as everyone knows and it has contributed to us getting results and creeping up the table.”
Millbrook are up to 13th and will look to continue their excellent form when Kevin Hill’s eighth in the table Exmouth Town visit Jenkins Park next Saturday.