KJM SPORT REPORT Millbrook AFC 1 Brislington FC 0

Millbrook AFC LogoIt’s always nice to end your season with a victory – and that was especially so for Millbrook as they put a stop to a miserable run-in of six straight defeats.

Predictably it was top scorer Rikki Shepherd who got the all-important goal to send the Jenkins Park faithful away for their summer breaks with smiles on their faces. 

The three points sent Macca Brown’s side above Bitton and Wellington into a 12th place Premier Division finish, and for their first season at Western League level, that is a fine achievement.

There have been ups and downs in this inaugural campaign but it’s never been dull following Millbrook, a tight-knit, generally happy club run by good people.

Brown said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to finish with a win, but more importantly to finish with a performance that typifies so much of the positive things we’ve been about this season is pleasing. 

“We were a little bit like our old selves, we still had a lot of players missing, I can’t remember the last time where I fielded a midfield that didn’t consist of at least one of Jack, Jason, Paynee or Muzza, but that was the case yesterday.

“The team were outstanding and they had to be, our twelfth clean sheet of the season, a determined and resolute performance and a winner from Rikki, it felt like December again when that seemed to be the case every week!

“It was a great finish from him but we were just thankful the chance fell on his left foot, because he’s still struggling to kick with his right! 

“Dave Youldon was outstanding, he’s had a tough month, playing through injury and making a couple of errors but he was back to his best yesterday.”

Brown was delighted to be able to name 27-goal Shepherd and Jake Foster alongside each other – it’s been something of a rarity since Christmas.

He said: ‘It makes such a difference when Rikki and Jake lead the line for us, we are a different proposition without them and that’s been the case for pretty much the whole of 2022, we’ve missed them, it’s as simple as that.”

So what is the manager’s verdict on the season?

He said: “The final game of the season is a great opportunity to reflect on what has been an unbelievable challenge this season. 

“I think out of the 40 odd games we’ve played probably only our away fixture at Bridport was straightforward and I said that to the lads in the team talk.

“Every other game needed such a huge performance to even get a point and we’ve never experienced anything like that before and I think all the clubs promoted to the Western League will testify to that.

“So on that front I am so proud of the players for accepting that challenge and leaving their comfort zones, and that goes for the club in general as well to be honest.

“Better sides and players than us in the last two decades haven’t accepted this kind of challenge and that is something that isn’t lost on me, it’s the Millbrook way to find a way whether it’s on the pitch or off it and everyone has done themselves proud.
 
What were his highlights? 

He said: “There are so many; the 6-4 FA Cup win at Saltash is probably the greatest game I’ve ever seen, let alone been involved in, as well as our run of clean sheets mid season which must have set a record!

“But for me to see the players improve and flourish is so rewarding, they’ve learnt lessons, we’ve been punished a few times but in a sick kind of way I’d rather be on the receiving end of results like that than dishing them out if the bigger picture tells you you’re pushing yourself to the max.”

Well done to all at Millbrook, from the tea ladies to the men who fetch the balls which have been whacked out of the ground.

So many unsung heroes are keeping local football clubs going. Long may they thrive.

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