KJM SPORT REPORT Ilfracombe Town 5 Millbrook AFC 3

Western LeaguelogoAfter defending very well against Saltash and Shepton Mallet despite 1-0 defeats, Millbrook capitulated in spectacular style at Ilfracombe to throw away hopes of a victory.

Macca Brown’s side were 2-1 up going into the last quarter of the game but then conceded four goals.

Many might have called it an eight-goal thriller – but Brown was in no mood for that.

He said: “I’m a little bit lost for words this weekend if I’m completely honest, which is unlike me I must admit. But I’m still trying to work out what actually happened on Saturday.

“How we’ve scored three goals away from home and not taken anything from the game?

“How this season we’ve been defensively excellent and not conceded any more than one goal in a game playing some top sides along the way, yet we end up conceding five in a game where we were 2-1 up in with 25 minutes to go?

“But there’s no point brushing it off as a one off, it happened for a reason and I had a long three-hour drive home thinking about them.

“For an hour or so it didn’t look anything like being an eight-goal ‘thriller’, and that’s how it should have been.

“At 2-1 it should have been job done, now let’s finish it professionally away from home and go home with the points.

“But instead of dialing up the focus, concentration and intensity, we had players who chose to dial down, maybe they made the criminal error of thinking the game was won.”

It had all started so well for the Brook, with Brown saying: “We dominated the first 20 minutes and deservedly went 1-0 up.

“But within five minutes it was 1-1, which was perhaps a sign that’s what our concentration levels were going to be like.

“There was a good response to our messages at half-time, but to be honest I think we maybe went ahead in the second half slightly against the run of play, from a set piece but that should have lifted us further.

“Within minutes of going ahead, we then passed the ball straight to their striker when in comfortable possession at the back, and it was 2-2, and then we saw a collapse.

“No organisation, no communication, no character and two more goals in the back of our net.

“Ultimately we had too many players operating in third gear and you don’t get very far like that. We had probably four or five  players who I would say were completely on it, and I feel for them because they were looking around as dumbfounded as myself.

“Sometimes when you’re missing players you really recognise their worth, and even though this season we have the quality in the squad to deal with no Jack (Wood), Jason (Richards), Jake (Foster) or Callum (Kenny), who were all out, one thing we did miss was some of those characters who wouldn’t have let that collapse happen.

“We then, believe it or not, responded quite well, maybe easy to do with nothing to lose and did create some good openings after getting a third but full credit to Illfracombe they managed the game very well after our third goal and killed any momentum.

“So much of winning football matches is nothing to do with the X and O’s on a tactics board, or even that little white thing the players spend 90 minutes chasing around and trying to kick, it’s about having the right mentality, concentration, work ethic, things you hear at every single level of the game for good reason, and you need it for 90 minutes.

“Tuning in for ‘big games’ is the easy bit, it’s doing it for every single game in a season and we let ourselves down massively on that front yesterday when quite frankly we should have been bringing points home with us.

“But well done to Clem and Illfracombe, they punished us and showed quality when it mattered and they won’t care about our lack of character. They displayed that side of the game in negative positions so deserve the victory.”

Brown also praised Ilfracombe’s off the field contribution to the day.

He said: “The club had a great atmosphere from the moment the chairman greeted us in the car park directing traffic.

“In a season where we’ve seen numerous club people step away at Millbrook, it was great to see lots of club volunteers with a smile on their face doing their bit before and after, the lifeblood of any club, and full credit to them.”

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