Well as some of you might know I gave up my West Ham ticket in favour of Lordswood v ITes, the first home game I’ve missed for 3-4 years, obviously one of my teams were bound to win, even I’m not that unlucky. Anyway to quote a famous saying about Woodstock, ” if you can remember it you weren’t there ” that’s pretty much how I felt about Saturday though for different reasons.
Lordswood had already proved to be difficult opponents from the home game but now they added the added incentive of another couple of a few more ex Sheppey players it promised to be a lively affair. After a stop in a nice local hostelry we arrived at Lordswood via the social club and the annual Its a knockout run from the bar to the ground without spelling any beer just in time for Ko. The hosts were fielding Carl Harrold, my love child Jim Huggins and George Blake in their starting eleven with Tom Montgomery on the bench. Missing was Tom Woodridge (we ruined his career you know) and McIllheron. Sheppey started with pretty much the usual, with George and Timmy starting in the midfield, the Shrewsbury shifter restored up front with Hiccham, Kwasi and LHO dropping to the bench. Pleasing to see we’d probably doubled the home support, confidence was high.
The lady ref started the game, Lordswood, quite a big team, seemed to settle earlier, noticeably winning the early exchanges, but as you know we often start slowly so we weren’t that bothered however the pitch was more narrow than Sheppey were used to which led to more stray passes than Dawn French in a nightclub mostly straight off the pitch. Lordswood began to fashion their own chances, a few long range shots to test Tom Benham but nothing to panic us but the defence was being put under more pressure than Harry Kane’s speech therapist. Bradshaw as always was chasing and harrying but but similar to the DSS stand nothing was working. The ref who to be fair to her had done well when I last saw her had started to give a few petty decisions that didn’t need giving taking the momentum out of the game for both sides so that when half time came bringing the curtain down on possibly the worst 45 since Robbie Williams’s last offering it was more with relief from the crowd that they could shake off the thousand yard stare only usually seen on Vietnam veterans.
Somewhat refreshed we settled in for the second half fully expecting to steamroll the hosts but early on it was evident Lordswood hadn’t read the script, closing down our midfield and generally bullying the Ites off the ball. Trey who is normally trickier than a Frenchman round a toothbrush was getting more frustrated as the game went on due to the step overs and flicks not working, Remmell who was also being chaperoned closer than Donald Trumps hairdresser was also getting no change out of the home defence so it was difficult to see where a goal would come from. Indeed it was the home team doing all the pressing, only great defensive work seemed to be stopping them, again Girty excelling himself and Jack Mahoney seemingly covering every blade of grass which admittedly wasn’t that many due to the pitch being thinner on top than our manager of the month Easy E. Then out of the blue and against the run of play Remmell found space down the right with only the keeper to beat, for once his first touch was heavier than the Chairmans wallet allowing their keeper to smother the ball. Surely that was our best chance gone, nope, probably five minutes later the same player in the same position only this time Remmell did everything right but sadly so did the keeper making a great save to keep parity. On comes our talisman, Luke Harvey for Trey to give us a more physical approach. Lordswood again started to get the upper hand again testing Benham who was now proving to be a veteran in goal having survived three whole games. Then 70 minutes in Lordswood attack, a smart shot comes in from the edge of the area, Benham gets down quicker than the Jackson 5, makes a great save but can only parry it to the centre forward who swallows the chance as gratefully as a Fat kid at dinner time 1-0. Ernie, shaken not stirred replaces George and Timmy for Hiccham and Kwasi give us a bit more impetus but in reality Lordswood see the game out fairly comfortably.
I’d imagine having a few ex Ites in the team helped the hosts both in terms of identifying our strong points and also gives them that extra bit of determination they needed though in truth for only the second game this season Sheppey weren’t on their game, despite plenty of possession we couldn’t manufacture many clear openings but after ten or so straight wins it would be harsh to be too hard on the team and if Remmell had got either or both of his chances the result would quite likely have gone to us, that said no complaints Lordswood out thought and outfought us.
MOM – Jim Huggins obviously, Infact that was the highlight of the game the little cuddle we had as he walked off. Other than Jim I’d have to go for Jack Mahoney whose consistency and drive often goes unnoticed.
On to the vase game against Beckenham which I’ll sadly be missing due to having a selfish girlfriend who decided to have a birthday on the same day, the club has arranged for a few ex servicemen to lead the teams out, a great gesture on an important day so please get up there and support your local club who are giving us back some pride and identity. ITES