Our hosts have a vivid history in football, Malcolm Allison started his career there, he often used to say in interviews that despite his illustrious career he still cited Erith as being the pinnacle. Latterly Bournemouths Harry Arter played there, it’s also the birthplace of Scottish poet William Auld which is commemorated with a hoarding round the pitch known as “Aulds long sign”.
Anyway after our designated driver took us to Phoenix sports ground it was left to the most irresponsible one of our party, namely me, to find our way to Erith. Suprisingly I did. We got in the ground to be greeted by a load more facially challenged from the Island, the crowd which was fairly non existent bar the mutants swelled the gate to about 72. After a pint of Moretti, my 3rd favourite beer, we got into the stand for the start.
With the leaving of LHO we were greeted to the news that the romantically named Omar Degado Hibbert was starting, on loan from Greenwich Borough, the 6 ft 12 forward certainly looked the part though having not played for 4 months would certainly be a test. The absence of local hero Dan Bradshaw certainly put a dampener on it after last weeks show but as always we were confident.
The game started, the pitch looking better than expected seemed to play well, the stadium felt very holmly all the ingredients for a good away day. Sheppey seemed a bit more positive from the outset, a much changed team seemed to gel early. The puppet master in the midfield again started pulling the strings, the back line bereft of Ralphy again meaning Girty playing centre half added to the return of young Coops gave us a youthful look. Erith are nobodies mugs, a nice tidy team who played football the right way meant that we would have to work hard for the points and that we did. The first half seemed fairly evenly matched, both sides creating chances, the lively Omar proving trickier than a scouser round a pound note started to show some great touches, producing more flicks than an 80’s casual hairdresser linking up well with the excellent Remell. Hiccham had Sheppeys first chance, a shot from the edge of the box that tested the keeper, Erith replied in kind, stinging the Veteran Glovers hands. Timmy on the wing was proving a thorn in the home teams side, using his pace to stretch the defence but nothing came of the half chances created. HT 0-0.
Back to the bar for another sampling of Gods own urine, this is where it started going wrong for me, I stayed there too long and when I came out I was told we were 1-0 up, a Batten penalty for a foul on Omar. With this the heart seemed to go from the home side, Sheppey took hold on the game and even started to bully the home side which is like Ronnie Corbett stealing Mike Tysons dinner money, the football the visitors produced was great to watch, fast flowing one touch, cheered on by the vociferous support, it was only a matter of time before we increased the score. Jack Mahoney who again covered more ground than Susan Boyles underwear was involved, the ball fell to Hiccham on the left of the box, the keeper came out, Hiccham chipped the ball over the advancing keeper with aplomb, 2-0. More chances came and went, the home keeper making a smart save to deny Omar a debut goal, a succession of dead balls led Mahoney to be stood on the corner that much the Vice squad took interest. Erith huffed and puffed but in truth were a class behind Sheppey on the day, a few tackles went in, but for once we gave as good as we got. Two minutes before the end, big Omar was replaced by Kwasi and left the pitch to a standing ovation. Hopefully we get to see a bit more of the tricky forward.
Full time Erith 0 Sheppey 2
A very good battling display by the boys, Ian in the middle showing us what we’ve missed, Girty giving us that extra dimension at the back, a bit of steel but with a great pass at the end of it. Omar looks a good addition, and going forward we seem to have regained the cutting edge we have lost of late. Onto Saturday against the runaway leaders, a great test, hopefully a much needed confidence boost will mean we can match Sevenoaks and move up another couple of places.
MOM. Remmell, again he showed a great touch, a willingness to track back and even seems to have calmed his legendary fireyness, at half time there was a minor dispute in the bar regarding an out of place beer mat, I looked round expecting to see Rem in the thick of it but no.
Note. Interviewed/accosted the Shrewsbury shifter who was full of praise for the supporters saying it really does make a difference with a noisy crowd getting behind the team. There’s a hint for you.