Well after my report from the away game at Whitstable earlier in the season, repercussions were mentioned mentioning the word “racism” amongst others after I dared accuse them of playing direct football and attempting to influence the referee. With this in mind I thought I’d do a much more politically correct report for the home game.
Sheppey lined up with Josh Glover in goal, a veteran of over four appearances for the club who must surely be lining up a testimonial. New signing Lewis Clarke came in to the defence, the rest of the team was pretty much the norm with the exception of step over King Trey who apparently dropped his shoulder, dummied the manager and twisted and turned his way out the door never to be seen again.
A very healthy 550ish crowd packed the embalming stadium including a handful of loyal and very vocal Oyster fans who took up residence in the DSS stand alongside our own array of professional lamplighters and father Christmases.
The game kicked off in a much heavier wind than I had expected, having only wore a jacket that was thinner than Ernie’s hairline I was shaking more than Oliver Reed at opening time. The visitors seemed to have underestimated the wind as every time they passed the ball the wind accidentally blew it back on the ground which clearly surprised not only them but also the Sheppey players who had turned up with binoculars. In the opening exchanges Whitstable looked the better team, their excellent right back pushing forward and using the ball well particularly when finding the ” experienced” centre forward. Mahoney and Bradshaw, our own pair of dynamo’s were covering more grass than the crowd at Glastonbury in an effort to unlock what looked a very disciplined defence. Our resident electrician Luke Harvey who usually has the freedom of Ohm park seemed to be getting a lot of close attention from the visiting defence, one such tackle on one of the Oystermen led to a ” shucking” over reaction amid cries of “Ref” from Porter and his entourage not for the first time. To their credit, Whitstable were not only creating half chances but also nullifying our three pronged attack it also managed to keep the crowd fairly quiet. Glover between the sticks was being kept busier than a Frenchmans white flag but coped admirably with not only the visiting attacks but the swirling wind. It was the wind that gave Sheppey their first decent chance, Mahoney with a corner that evaded everyone except the alert keeper who reacted quickly to palm the ball away. Moments later, a swift move in the midfield sets Hiccham free, he drew the keeper better than Rolf Harris, gave him ” the eyes” then calmly rolled the ball straight past the outside of the post. The rest of the half was a fairly even affair, both teams snuffing each other out like Fred and Rose West.
Half time saw the entire 550 crammed into the outside bar making it more full up than Andy Constables lunchbox with the unmistakable Island smell of weed and disappointment.
Second half underway, the Heroes in red and white seemed to adapt to the conditions better than the first half, Gurty and Remmell coming into their own , creating half chances for Bradshaw and LHO, neither of which were taken, the full backs Brunt and Clarke were now getting more forward than a Tory MP pushing Whitstable back. Another such move again led to Hiccham breaking free with only the keeper to beat, surely he wouldn’t miss this time and had learnt his lesson, nope same result, stroked majestically wide. Back came Whitstable, buoyed by the miss, a shot from distance catches the wind, swerves more than the DSS stand at the job centre beating Glover and striking the bar. Time for a couple of subs, on comes Timmy for LHO, and the return of Josh Froggatt, minus his ever present burger, for Hiccham who when substituted attempted to sit on the bench but unfortunately missed by four foot, but to no avail, both sides had half chances but by the time the fat lady sang a scoreless draw was probably the right result.
Summary. A very decent game despite being goalless, both teams battled well, some of the theatrics were worthy of Whitstables own hero Peter Cushing but in fairness to them the football was a lot easier on the eye and the neck than the away game. Croydon up next in what will be another good test, a win will push us right back in it as we’ve got games in hand.
For me no one stood out more than anyone else, a good all round performance, like Lewis Clarke but I’ll have to give it to James Huggins for the pure fact I saw him in the car park as I was going in the pub before the game