Millbrook 1-0 Keynsham

Mar 25, 2022

Remember those halcyon days in early season when the quality of Millbrook’s football made supporters and admirers purr?

And more often than not, they failed to turn supremacy into points as they tried to find their feet in the Western League.

Well they’ve found their feet – and they’ve learnt how to win ugly.

Saturday’s performance in beating Keynsham was far from pretty but when referee Neil Hunnisett eventually blew the final whistle, Sean Thompson’s 21st minute goal proved enough to collect three points.

It’s only five weeks since a down to the bare bones Millbrook were taken apart 6-0 by Keynsham at the AJN Stadium, so this was sweet revenge.

Millbrook manager Macca Brown said: “I’m so pleased with the result, particularly for the handful of players who played on Saturday that were also involved in the catastrophic reverse fixture earlier this year.

“That was a low point this season and we were desperate to show Keynsham what we are really about and I think we did that to a certain degree.

“The best response to conceding six goals to a team is a clean sheet and we were fantastic in that respect.

“Don’t get me wrong, once again it wasn’t pretty. We haven’t passed the ball with quality for a while now and a lack of training for individuals results in that, as players end up on different wavelengths and that is frustrating for me as a manager.

“Training isn’t just about fitness, it’s about game planning and preparation so there’s naturally going to be limitations when you’re having to do that in different ways and maybe that’s had an impact since Christmas but that seems to be the challenge in this day and age.”

Although it was a blessed dry afternoon, the weather still had its say on the game. A cold wind swept across the Jenkins Park pitch.

Brown said: “The conditions contributed, they were tough with the wind and the bobbly pitch and it gave both teams similar problems to last week’s fixture.

“We scored a very similar goal to last week as well which was possibly our only real moment of quality in the game, but you only need one moment and that’s all it took.

“But we were well organised, hard working as always and while that is the bare minimum as far as expectations go it gives you a hell of a chance to win games.

“In the second half I still feel we were in control of the game out of possession and had some good chances on the break.”

Towards the end of the game, as tensions started to increase on the pitch, some Millbrook players could be seen – and heard – arguing, something of a rarity in this tightly-knit squad.

But Brown said: “I was delighted with the desire of the lads. They were stung late in the game last week which cost us a win and you could see how much they wanted the three points on Saturday, they gave everything.

“They were falling out with each other on the pitch which is unlike us, but I loved seeing it as it showed how much we all wanted to get three points over the line.”

So who impressed for Millbrook. Brown’s verdict: “Jason Richards dropped back into centre half in Laurence Murray’s absence, and was superb, as was Ollie Small, who at 17 is a player playing beyond his years in terms of composure and temperament.”

Brown now wants to see his side go on a run in a bid to finish on top of a bunch of teams who are crowding in mid-table.

He said: “We’d love to go on another little run and creep into that top eight, we’ve seen Saltash put together a little run in recent weeks and they’ve shot into the top four and now still have an outside chance of the title.

“For us, being 18 points from the top as it stands is very respectable for Millbrook and we would have bit your hand off for that at the start of October.

“Hopefully we can welcome Rikki Shepherd and Jake Foster back from injury in the next week or so to give us that added boost in the squad for the run-in, because we’ve been without them both really for most of 2022 and they’re key players.”