With many fixtures in South Yorkshire cancelled at the weekend due to the non-stop rain, all eyes were on Sheffield Bankers as they hosted Harworth Colliery Reserves on their ‘all weather’ pitch. As the Bankers’ players warmed up in the soaking conditions, it was hard to tell whether they were the lucky or unlucky ones to have their game still on. Andy Taylor put the players through their paces, ensuring a thorough warm up was conducted.
There were notable absentees in Daniel Beech, Joe Jerrison and Jack Roe; but the team were boosted by the return of fan favourite Robert Jerrison. The returning striker turned up slightly late, but the team were impressed and relieved that he had turned up at all after a rather busy morning for the lad.
Bankers started on the front foot; quickly noticing that Harworth liked to build up their play from deep, the front four of Jerrison, Dean, Taylor and Tunstall were able to press high up the pitch. A number of chances were created in the first half which could have seen a higher score line than watch actually occurred going into half time.
Robert Jerrison and Chris Tunstall started off the attempts with a long range effort each. Sam Dean, who was courageous in his attacks, had a chance when he ran into the box from the right wing to go one on one with the keeper, but his effort narrowly missed the target. Matt Taylor had a chance when Jo Robinson knocked the ball into the box, but dragged his shot wide. Mauro Pistis then had a fine effort from outside the area saved at the keeper’s near post. Another chance presented itself to Bankers when Matt Taylor touched the ball into the area, but both he and Sam Dean got in each other’s way when it came to taking the shot.
After a number of attacks, Bankers scored following a series of unlikely of events. The first of the series was centre back Terence Balmer deciding to become a left winger; with the ball at his feet close to the touchline, Terence showed classy skill to turn and meg the right back and force a corner for Bankers. Chris Tunstall stepped up to take it and his curling delivery avoided all players and headed straight into the net. Some say this goal inspired Junior Stanislas to do the same thing in his game against Manchester United later on that day. 1-0 to Bankers.
Bankers continued to pressurise and attack Harworth Colliery’s defence, both wingers and full backs were linking up well and the midfield were able to push up high to support the attacks. The control of possession and speed of the passing was a major plus for Bankers in this game. It was a pleasing sight to see attacks originating from different areas of the pitch also. In particular, Scott Dinnigan’s fast and quality distribution from goal was exemplary throughout the game as he often found the feet of Robert Jerrison, whose hold up play was excellent.
Despite Bankers’ dominance in the first half, Harworth did manage to create a couple of chances. A low cross saw the ball fly across Bankers’ 6 yard area, but their winger could not reach it in time at the back post. Keeper Scott Dinnigan also had to produce a quick reaction save from close range and he commanded his area superbly when Harworth resorted to long balls in the box.
Half time came and the score line remained 1-0 to Bankers.
The second half saw Bankers continue their attacking intent. The players were relentless in their pressure on and off the ball, often hunting in packs to ensure Harworth had limited time on the ball when in possession. The three central midfielders of Mauro Pistis, Chris Tunstall and Captain Mikey Russell in particular have grown a good understanding of each other and were well organised throughout the game.
As Harworth pushed further up the pitch in search of an equaliser, this played into Bankers’ hands. A counter attack saw a chance fall to Chris Tunstall, who audaciously tried to lob the keeper from distance; but the ball bounced off the underside of the cross bar and back out. A number of players thought the ball had crossed the line but the ref could not be sure and waived play on.
Bankers had another chance when Matt Taylor curled the ball across the six yard area, but the ball somehow squeezed past a number of players from both sides and out for a goal kick. Sam Dean and Chris Tunstall both agonisingly close to getting a touch on it towards the back post.
Bankers doubled their lead around 55 minutes into the game with another counter attacking move. Chris Tunstall picked the ball up in the centre circle and played a ball down the line to Matt Taylor on the left wing. With Harworth’s defence scrambling back, Taylor squared the ball first time and picked out the onrushing Robert Jerrison, who beat his markers and coolly side footed the ball into the net. 2-0 to Bankers.
Around the hour mark Matt Taylor was replaced by James Nield-Smith on the left wing, and a few minutes later Phil Miskell was replaced by Andy Taylor at centre half; with both subbed players suffering with a bad back. With around 15 minutes left Joe Lodge replaced Terence Balmer at centre back; who had previously tempted fate earlier that day by stating that centre backs never get subbed; well this game saw a change of both centre halves.
With Harworth Colliery now really pushing players up high, Robert Jerrison and the wingers were finding acres of space in the opposition’s half. And this space and time on the ball contributed nicely to the third goal that came from Robert Jerrison. Chris Tunstall provided playmaker once again and passed it to Jerrison on the left wing. Robert then fooled everyone on the field with an audacious piece of skill. It looked as though he was going to lay a through ball into James Nield-Smith who had made a run into the centre, but instead he dummied the ball with his right foot and flicked it up with his left. With the players left dazzled by this showboating, Jerrison took the ball forward a couple of steps and unleashed an unstoppable strike straight into the far top corner. The crowd went wild. 3-0 to Bankers.
With a few minutes to go and the game seemingly won, Harworth Colliery managed to score a consolation goal. A superb long range that seemed destined for the top corner was equally matched by a brilliant diving save by Scott Dinnigan. Dinnigan touched the ball onto the crossbar but was then unlucky to see the ball bounce down onto his back and into the net. It was unfortunate as the defence and Dinnigan deserved a clean sheet following their performance.
The full time whistle came and the match had finished 3-1; with Bankers safely booking their ticket to the quarter final.
This was the last game for Bankers in 2015. Now is the time for a well-deserved break over the festive period after a strong finish to the year.
Manager’s Man of the Match: Robert Jerrison. Fun Jerrison fact of the day – Bankers have never lost with Robert Jerrison playing in the team. Never.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.