Sheppey United -v- Canterbury City (SCEFL Prem)
What an enjoyable night that was, got there a bit early, I assumed judging by the big queue they were giving away free Methadone but no it was the lure of a Nuclear Island select 11 versus Gods own team which he clearly created in his own image and for a bit of extra spice the return of one of our favourite sons the Loyal Marsden.
Easy E again rung the changes, T’whippet given a well earned rest, Ian took up the Batten from Furious and the introduction of our 17th goalkeeper this season, Steven Lawrence, a big bugger who looked like he knew what he was doing. Canterbury had a couple of big lumps in their side so I was fearful we might fall pray to the old long ball tactic, thank the Lord I was wrong, there was nun of that.
The game started, a fairly healthy crowd buoyed by the 2 for 1 offer on beer that only seems to happen when I’m not drinking, Sheppey attacking the D.S.S stand on a blustery night seemed to struggle to get into their pattern, the approach play was decent but the final ball never quite came off, it mitre been a bit easier with less wind but Canterbury dealt with it and we’re playing the better football arguably. To add to their decent football Canterbury showed they also had a more agricultural side with a few “industrial” tackles going in notably on the puppet master Ian. So it was Canterbury who carved out the first chance, a sweeping move came to the forward on the edge of the box, hit it well but Keeper number 49 was equal to it smothering it like 35 year old single child’s mother, so far so good, next chance came from a corner, a header came in straight at Lawrence, no problem. Sheppey meanwhile were still trying, LHO doing what he does best holding the ball up, Remmell and Trey again showing more flare than an Ashford home crowd but still the spark wasn’t quite there but as we’ve learned Ites have got a resilience they didn’t have last year and like a nagging wife never give up so when their forward again broke free with just the keeper to beat there was no need to panic, Infact there wasn’t as again Lawrence pulled off a top drawer save to keep parity. The big Canterbury centre forward seemed to be causing a few problems and had he have got on the end of a few crosses similar to his “Big Bosses” it might have been a different story. Another Canterbury attack, the midfielder made a pilgrimage into the box, cut the ball back only for Batten to intercept, look up and curl a great ball into the channel for Remmell who at this stage had more defenders than the Pope himself, somehow Rem managed to dispossess the defender cut inside and I’d like to say place the ball but more scuffed it past the wrong footed custodian, 1-0 to the Islanders, the D.S.S stand celebrated like the heating grant had been paid early maybe against the run of play but who cares. Cue a few more industrial tackles, the odd booking and it was starting to liven up, only 5 minutes until half time, the lads can get in have a fag and a quick beer and relax safe in the knowledge we always play better in the second half, unfortunately it didn’t quite work like that, the last attack of the half, the balls played up to the big striker who beats his marker the ball drops to their midfielder who hit it first time sweetly into the bottom corner for a deserved equaliser, just time for him to abuse the botany end then the ref blew for half time crumpets 1-1, it was then I was disappointed to find the 2 for 1 offer didn’t extend to tea, take note Matt, we are not all beer swilling cavemen, some of us are the more sensitive type.
Second half, now attacking the massed ranks of the great unwashed in the Botany end, Sheppey get into their strides easier than an anorexic pushing the visitors back, Mahoney tirelessly backtracking more than a priest after choir practice and Hiccham and Ian finding the passes that were missing from the first half, one such move the ball comes to Trey who looked like he needed to do 3 step overs and a drag back before hitting it got dispossessed, the ball fell to Remmell, a nice interchange of passes between Hiccham and Brunt, the latter playing the ball to LHO who deftly played it through to the run of Hiccham who slightly lost his footing but still hit it well bringing a great save from their keeper, there then followed a great 1970’s scramble, Remmell followed up, cleared off the line, Andy Constable then had a go followed by Roger Pullen, one of the girls in the bar next then the ball fell to Remmell who somehow managed to kick the ball into his own head, ran through the assorted bodies scattered like the aftermath of Glastonbury and somehow put the ball in the net, this led to a mass “pile on” as Remmell became the first player in history to score and have an assist in the same move. 2-1 to the Sheppey boys. Canterbury started to look more frustrated than a teenager with a Freemans catalogue and after one too many big tackles yet another one was booked. Furious Batten then came on for his brother who by now had taken more abuse than Jimmy Saviles fan club and was now walking like he’d been rohypnoled by the rugby club to add a fresh pair of legs with the Shrewsbury shifter coming on in the hope of stretching them more than Katie Price. Canterbury were now attacking, several corners came in, nervous times but all were dealt with by either the keeper or the excellent Gertrude. Canterbury were still in it, in days gone Sheppey would have buckled but this is the new breed, nothing showed this more than when their striker got through out defence, as he drew back to shoot Ralphy came from nowhere like the invisible man in the girls showers to slide in and put the ball out for a throw, had he mistimed it I’m sure the flaxon haired beauty would have given away a penalty and would have been taking an early bath, superb. By now Sheppey had come to the booking party, notably George who having watched enviously at the Visitors getting all the pretty cards felt it was time to join in lunging at his opponent on the edge of the area. This was more worrying than Donald Trumps hairstylist, the fella takes the kick, ably assisted by the wind it’s heading top corner for the equaliser, Lawrence rises quicker than me watching Friends to push it over the bar, what a save, he was already proving to be as big a hero as our last 14 keepers and had no doubt won it for us in the last 5 minutes, surely we could relax now, nope, another Canterbury corner, the balls cleared to Bradshaw who’s off like a scouser with his nans purse, the defender who obviously didn’t fancy chasing the fleet footed Northerner scythed him down from behind leaving the poor Chap-lain out flat, the red card followed, to be fair to the lad similar to your best mate on a blind date with a fat girl he took one for the team, with him went their chances. On came Timmy, more fresh legs, Canterbury push up leaving more gaps than Kate and Gerrys alibi, Timmy picks the ball up, runs at the defence a quick drop of the shoulder then POW curls it over the keeper head 3-1, Timmy then launches into his full repertoire of gymnastics and the games over.
A great win against a decent side who I can’t help thinking might have got a pointif their finishing had been better in the first half. The game had everything, 4 goals, a red card and more bookings than the Chuckle brothers. Much better atmosphere tonight, hopefully now a few more that were there last year will come back with nothing to moan about as we’ve now got a physio and we attack the Botany end 2nd half.
MOM – It would be very hard not to pick Remmell for his two goals which is why I’m not, I’m going for Girty who has grown into such an important player for Sheppey in both positions.