Having ended 2015 on a high, Bankers were looking to continue their form into the New Year. The management team of Ryan Griffiths and Andy Taylor were spoilt for choice, as a full squad was available to them for the first competitive game of 2016. The only notable absentee was Sam Dean, who had to pull out on the day due to illness. Despite the late drop out, Bankers still boasted a squad of 15 for the game.
Having been unavailable for the last round of the cup just before the Christmas break; Daniel Beech, Joe Jerrison and Ben Clitheroe made their return to the starting line-up. Phil Miskell made a return to midfield after covering at centre half in the last couple of matches.
Bankers made a positive start to the game. Handsworth were clearly well organised in their positioning, but Bankers enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening 20 minutes. An opening occurred when fan favourite Robert Jerrison was played through on goal just inside the area. Robert struck low but the keeper got his feet to it.
Daniel Beech, playing in a new position on the right hand side, created a couple of openings for himself just outside Handsworth’s area; with a couple of curling shots forcing Handsworth’s keeper to make a save.
Jack Joyce also produced a nice cross from the right towards Beech, but the keeper saved the effort on goal.
Despite the good start from Bankers; it was Handsworth who took the lead. The ball bounced around in Bankers’ area for a few seconds before finding the feet of a Handsworth player on their left hand side. He struck low and the ball managed to squeeze through the defence and into the bottom corner. 1-0 to Handsworth Parramore Reserves.
Around five minutes later Handsworth had the chance to double their lead when the referee awarded a penalty for handball. Handsworth’s number 9 struck the ball low to the left corner, but keeper Scott Dinnigan showed cat like reactions to block the shot and prevented it from rebounding back into danger. Lucky escape for Bankers.
Handsworth began to grow into the game as Bankers sat slightly deeper after conceding. Joe Jerrison was forced to make two tremendous last ditched blocks to deny goal scoring opportunities for the home side. The first half finished 1-0.
The second half was a fairly even affair. Chances were created at both ends. Around an hour in Scott Dinnigan had to produce a flying save to stop the ball going in the top corner. Handsworth’s keeper and defence were also called into action when blocking shots from Daniel Beech and Chris Tunstall.
Mauro Pistis replaced Ben Clitheroe with around 25 minutes to go; with Bankers changing to a narrower shape and two up front. Jack Roe replaced Chris Tunstall with around 15 minutes to go and James Nield-Smith replaced the injured Daniel Beech in the closing stages.
Bankers had continued to press for an equaliser, but it just didn’t look like being their day attacking wise; a contrast to the last round of the cup and recent performances. Bankers’ day got slightly worse as Captain Mikey Russell was sent off following a second booking with only a few minutes to go.
The match finished 1-0 and Bankers are now left to concentrate on the league. Although disappointing to have lost the game, the lads can keep their head up high after putting in another good team performance.
There is no fixture this weekend; the week after Bankers host Silkstone United at Hillsborough College.
Manager’s man of the match: Phil Miskell