Sheppey United -v- Erith Town (SCEFL Prem)
Well, the start of 5 home games on the spin, not sure what to expect from this one, Erith had beaten Sevenoaks in the cup in the week so clearly were nobodies fools but Sheppey are on a roll so it promised to be difficult.
It started badly for me, took me ages to go through my extensive coat collection, eventually settling on the least practicable one I could find for what was quite a breezy cold day. Haven spoken to Eazy E the day before I was prepared for a changed team, Luke Harvey Oswald, Kwasi and the Ian version of the Battens starting on the bench. Time for the home crowd to greet our 27th goalkeeper of the season, the aptly named Josh Glover. Speaking of crowds, again yesterday it had grown from the previous home game but still down on last seasons gates so those of you reading this who haven’t attended, it’s time to stand up and see the Ite.
Erith took to the pitch with remarkably a shorter team than Sheppey so at least we shouldn’t get bullied out of it. The game started at a decent pace, their keeper , dressed in pink top with matching flecks on his boots, was the busier of the two, but the deceptive wind seemed to help the visitors as we seemed to over hit any ball over the top. Trey and Remmell were up to their usual tricks, performing more step-overs than your average walk up dogsh*t alley. Both created chances for the normally prolific Shrewsbury shifter who similarly to the Erith keeper seemed to have the wrong boots on. Meanwhile the visitors took heart from the fact we were mis-firing more than Tuckers car at an away game and driven on by the excellent number 10 started carving out their own chances, as usual the defence of International playboy Ralphy, Gertrude, Brunt and young Coops were equal to everything thrown at them, and the times Erith got past the defence Glover seemed more dominant than Jordan Carey’s girlfriend and cleared up better than a mother of 5. It was about this time I turned to my mate saying ” I like the look of the keeper, he looks steady and reliable” so it seemed only right that he would prove me wrong, under no pressure he cleared the ball with all the power of a moth on sedatives straight to their midfielder who shaking off his surprise played the ball into the forward who surely couldn’t miss, he didn’t 0-1. Josh looked gutted, doubtless not the start he was looking for on his home debut, creating possibly the worst impression since Steve Maclaren turned Dutch but it was early days.
Sheppey improved, Hiccham going close with an Angeled drive, Trey who by now was performing more tricks than a £20 Hooker, got brought down on the edge of the box, a great opportunity, up steps Bradshaw at the D.S.S stand end and duly blasted the ball higher, wider and less handsome than the assorted clientele of the Botany end. HT 0-1. On the balance of chances probably a rightful result, their keeper had looked impressive so I was expecting us to sign him at half time, but as we know Sheppey are proving to be a better second half team.
Second half, out come the Ites, looking more purposeful, this time against the wind, immediately making chances, Bradshaw, Trey and Hiccham all going close with their keeper again keeping us out, even at one stage theatrically managing to go down like he’d been knocked out by Andy Constables lunch box to then get up in all his pinkness once the ref had mentioned he’d stopped the clock. 15 minutes in Hiccham picked the ball up out wide, beats one, dummies a second and hits a vicious swerving drive that struck the woodwork harder than a troop of deathwatch Beatles on a picnic, Erith were riding their fortune like Debbie McGhee before Paul Daniels demise, so Cometh the hour Cometh the man, Luke Harvey Oswald, our own electrician who has quickly become the darling of Ohm park comes on for Tom ” Dan” Bradshaw, on he strode like a gladiator, chest pumped up more than Dolly Parton with his new boots on straight into the fray, two minutes later, George picked up the ball rolled it into LHO’s feet, the electrical genius turned on a sixpence and “powered’ it past the keeper, 1-1, this was more like it. The ref then mysteriously sent off an Erith sub for questioning a decision, not sure how that works as surely that’s part of the game but as I tried to “interview” him as he walked into the changing rooms he completely blanked me so in hindsight the ref was right.
Sheppey had their tails up, Remmell and Trey running them ragged, George spraying more balls than a shortsighted vet it was only a matter of time, a succession of corners, Harvey again causing mayhem in the box, the ball is cleared, George picks it up, shapes to lay it to the overlapping Brunt, sells the defender completely, looks up and curls a beauty into the top corner, what a goal, he rarely scores easy goals, George runs to the Botany end and points straight at one of his many detractors, milking it, said detractor shuffling awkwardly. Sheppeys fitness was now beginning to tell, Erith who for the second half had been chasing shadows noticeably wilting like a pensioner in the sun, Ites pushed on, more chances came and went. On came Timmy and the Ian variety of Batten at the expense of George and Mahoney, the strength in depth evident. Just as we were taking it for granted Erith get a rare break, a shot from 25 years takes a deflection, Glover, wrong footed adjusts and pulls off a Gordon Banksesque save to palm it away, tremendous save at an important time, back came Sheppey, Trey picks up the ball just inside the area, shoots, it deflects off the defender and past the keeper for the goal his performance deserved. 3-1. Erith were beaten by a great second half performance.
Again we started slowly, playing catch up but the second half was every bit as good as anything I’ve seen this season, the newer players have bedded in and the strength and fitness of the squad is now paying dividends.
Canterbury on Tuesday sees us welcome back Darren Marsden, who had six spells for us amassing seven games between them, lets point out the mistake he made leaving us preferably in a good natured way.
MOM. Trey for his trickery, doesn’t always seem to make the right decisions but something always happens when he gets the ball.