SWSN SPOTLIGHT on history-making Millbrook AFC

Millbrook AFC LogoFour years ago Millbrook AFC were having to go around the local community and social media with a begging bowl as they stood on the brink of extinction.

They needed help to pay urgent bills and it is no exaggeration to say the donations they received kept the South West Peninsula League club afloat.

Fast forward four seasons... 

Today the South East Cornwall side venture 190 miles along the south coast to play the biggest game in their history when they face United Services Portsmouth of Wessex League division one in the FA Vase third round.

Millbrook AFC chairman Mark Pratten, who has overseen the recovery and progression at Jenkins Park, said: “Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember how far we have come in four years.”

Should they win today at the Victory Stadium, Millbrook will take their prize money earnings from this season’s Vase to more than £4,000 and while the cost of staging home ties in this prestigious national competition should not be underestimated, this run is a good little earner.

It could not have happened to a nicer club. From Pratten to the tea ladies, Millbrook are a welcoming club off the field and a good team to watch on it.

Mackenzie Brown, in his second spell as manager after a break because of family commitments, has put together and kept together an unbeaten squad who enjoy playing.

From long-serving goalkeeper Chris Wearing – double penalty saving hero of last week’s 2-0 Vase win over Bashley – to pace ace Rikki Shepherd up front, this lot can play.

Skipper Tom Payne leads by example; yes, he’s a silky midfield man and a dead ball specialist, but his workrate is just as important.

Against Bashley, when Millbrook came under significant pressure in a one-sided second half, Payne was still running around at full pelt while younger team-mates were flagging a little.

The key to victory last week was the team effort. Wearing’s two penalty saves hogged the headlines and were significant moments in an enthralling tie, but he had few other saves to make.

Given the amount of pressure Millbrook had to withstand, that says everything about how well they defended as a team.

What are their chances today? If they play to their full potential, they have a good chance of progressing to the last 32.

While Bashley were a Step 5 team, US Portsmouth are at the same Step 6 level as Millbrook. They should not be underestimated.

USP sit fourth in their division, with seven wins from 10 games; and last week they ended Wessex premier division Brockenhurst’s Vase hopes with a 2-1 win.

It’s a shame that, because of Covid Tier 3 restrictions in the Portsmouth area, no Millbrook supporters will be allowed in today. A number were due to travel on the team bus.

But this club have faced harder challenges. They are still here – indeed they are thriving – and as long as they play with smiles on their faces, success will follow.

Follow #CornwallFootball @KJMSport57 on twitter

@usportsmouthfc on twitter

@MillbrookAFC on twitter 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
More information Ok