Sheffield Bankers travelled to Millmoor Juniors for their final game of the season. There were a number of absentees for this midweek fixture. These included the injured duo Jo Robinson and Phil Miskell plus defensive titan Terence Balmer, fan favourite Robert Jerrison, Captain Mikey Russell, poorly Jack Roe and London tourist Jack Joyce. Tommi McCormick returned to the squad after a break to concentrate on his fighting career, plus there was a rare start for Assistant Manager Andy Taylor, replacing Balmer at the heart of defence.
The match started a bit shaky, both teams tried to play football on the floor but needed time to adjust to the bobbles on the pitch. A number of offside decisions throughout the match also brought a stop start experience to the game.
Millmoor took the lead around 15 minutes into the match when their striker got in behind the defence and floated the ball into the top corner. Bankers responded well and looked to attack Millmoor’s defence, which had shown gaps in the early stages. Daniel Beech was finding a lot of joy towards the left hand side and would have felt aggrieved not to have won a penalty when he knocked the ball past the onrushing keeper, was clipped but managed to stay on his feet.
Around 20 minutes in, Joe Jerrison - brother of fan favourite Robert Jerrison - won a header.
Bankers pulled a goal back around 25 minutes into the first half. Daniel Beech was the provider as his low cross from the left found Sami Eric around 8 yards from goal. Eric then calmly struck the ball into the net. 1-1.
Daniel Beech had an effort of his own in the first half when he knocked the ball round the defender and shot low across the goal, but the keeper saved it. Another opportunity arose when Millmoor’s keeper spilled the ball following a cross from the right hand side, but unfortunately there was no Bankers player there to follow up.
Around the half hour mark, Joe Jerrison passed the ball out to midfield.
Millmoor continued to press themselves, but rarely troubled the goal, with the defence and keeper Scott Dinnigan dealing comfortably with the majority of attacks.
Half time came and the match was tied at one goal each.
The second half was not too dissimilar to the first; although Bankers did manage to create a few more scoring opportunities. Daniel Beech had a couple of curling efforts from outside the area, and Sami Eric had a shot go narrowly over after a good run from the left hand side and cutting into the area.
Tommi McCormick had replaced Mauro Pistis with around 35 minutes remaining and brought much needed energy down the right wing. McCormick helped create a number of attacks on the break in the last half an hour, linking up with the strikers and right back well.
Around an hour into the game, Joe Jerrison made a tackle.
As the game wore on it looked like the game would peter out to a draw. But a quick counter attack from defence to the strikers saw Bankers take the lead. Andy Taylor won the ball inside his half and played a low through ball all the way to leading goal scorer Daniel Beech. Beech was his usual collective and calm self and coolly side footed the ball low past the keeper’s feet and into the net. 2-1 to Bankers.
Andy Taylor produced another bit of magic when he Cruyff turned Millmoor’s striker when playing as the last defender. Although it was perfectly executed, it still sparked panic in Joe Jerrison and Matt Taylor’s faces who were playing either side of him, with both scrambling back just in case.
Millmoor began to get frustrated and this showed during a coming together between their winger and James Nield-Smith following a kick out from the Millmoor player.
With around 15 minutes left the game changing moment came when Ryan Griffiths brought himself on in replace of Joe Lodge. James Nield-Smith was pushed to central midfield, after having a very good game thus far at left back.
Griffiths was called into action straight away when he had to chase down Millmoor’s winger who must have been half his age. Griffiths dealt with it expertly though.
Millmoor looked to get another goal back and lofted a few balls into the box from far out, but they were unable to convert these into chances. Scott Dinnigan commanded his area and collected the ball from the air time and time again.
With only a few minutes left, Joe Jerrison cleared the ball out to the opposition’s half.
The full time whistle eventually blew and Bankers had won 2-1. This win sealed the team’s best run without a loss this season; undefeated in seven games and having won the last five on the bounce. A great end to the season.
After a poor start to this season, Bankers end it on a high and will be brimming with confidence going into next season. With the likely addition of a few new players during pre-season, there is no reason why this team can’t push on once more next year and challenge for trophies.
As an exciting new era is upon us we also have to say farewell to certain individuals – Scott Dinnigan, Terence Balmer and Matt Taylor are set to retire from Saturday afternoon football from next season.
Dinnigan was instrumental in helping the team get promoted from Division 2 in his debut season as a striker; and he ended his Bankers career by helping create a perfect base for a tight knit defence when playing as a goalkeeper – producing a number of man of the match performances along the way. He excelled in both positions and will be truly missed as a player and character in the changing room.
Balmer joined Sheffield Bankers during their debut season in Division 1; and quickly proved to be a popular character both on and off the field. Having spent a loan spell in Manchester, he returned to Bankers for the current season and proved once again what an asset to this team he is. His defensive displays and leadership skills from the back will be sorely missed. It would be hard to find anyone who is better in the air than T Bizzle.
Taylor has been with Sheffield Bankers for 8 seasons, and is one of the longest serving members of the current first team players (some say he hasn’t aged a day since he first joined). In an exclusive interview with Taylor he told this reporter that he has loved every minute whilst playing for the first team and wishes them well for the future. A keen eye for statistics, he will closely follow Bankers’ first team results and performances in the following seasons.
Having finished the season on a high in terms of performances and team spirit; the future for Sheffield Bankers appears to be bright. New players have joined the club and excelled, plus the current crop of players have moved their game to another level this season. The management duo of Ryan Griffiths and Andy Taylor should take a lot of credit and satisfaction for the improvement and competiveness they have brought to this squad. The players really do appreciate the effort they put into the team and club as a whole.
Manager’s Man of the Match: Joe Jerrison – brother of fan favourite Robert Jerrison.
That’s all for this season folks. It’s been emotional.
Thanks for reading.