Sheppey 0 Whitstable Town 0

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.

MOM .
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

From The Boardroom – Merry Christmas

Another year flashes past us and on behalf of everyone here at the Football Club I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas. Here at the club things have been very quiet given the quantity of away games but again speaking for the management and players and all us folk off the field I cannot thank you enough for your ongoing support at all these away games. As you know we have one more away game at Tunbridge Wells this Saturday 23 December before we return back home in an extremely tough game against Whitstable Town FC.

As a way of saying thank you to all the supporters whom have made the various long journeys throughout Kent and all other supporters we will be having a special kids go free afternoon and also a free cup of tea or coffee (using your admission ticket). I want to pack the park for the 30 December and I hope by doing this you will spread the word and bring the family for a day out at our club. Since my last time of writing back in November the team have under performed and at our last game before the New Year I am sure the players want to put this right against a strong Whitstable team. As Chairman I have to keep my council when I speak publicly about comings and goings at the club but I know how hard Ernie has been working to get players in and is just as disappointed as you when things don’t work out and they leave at the drop of a hat.

I was involved with our first team managers surprise 60th party after the Rusthall match, and to hear him speak about the passion he still has for our great club is immense and makes me proud to have him as our manager leading the team. Together, Ernie and I will get this great football club back to where it belongs however contrary to popular belief we will not buy our way out of this league and we will continue to try to sign and retain excellent young players from around the county. In the next couple of seasons our youth section will start to bear some fruit with players coming through from the U18’s which as a football club we are extremely committed to.

With Christmas less than a week away, it’s a time to reflect on the year gone by and whilst we are not quite where we want to be, please be sure to know we are working hard to get where we need to be. As I said previously I hope you and your families have a great Christmas and I hope to see you all at the home game versus Whitstable on 30 December. 

UP THE ITES

Regards
Matt

Geoff – On The Record (Tunbridge Wells Away)

I am sure you were all as disappointed as the players and management team with our defeat at Rustall. It came as a shock to me, as during our last couple of games we showed signs of improvement at the back, but against Rustall we went back to defending to deep and were lucky we did not concede a couple more in the 1st half from headers and a scramble in our box. We came back stronger in the 2nd half and played a bit of football got it back to 1-1 before losing 2-1 in the dying minutes.

The players worked very hard in training during the week in preparation for our friendly against K Sports. Nearing the end of the session we worked on shooting and finishing. This gained an audience from a ladies football team who had finished their session and decided to watch us. The players started off with great finishes from Tom Brunt, Dan Bradshaw, Luke Girt to name just a few. Then bring on Kwasi, Keith, and Liam who had an absolute nightmare with their efforts missing by a mile. This prompted fits of laughter and mickey taking from the Ladies team and the other lads. It was all good fun and will stick in my football memory for some time. Onto the K Sports friendly, and one that was very worthwhile as the 1st half was very competitive and they put us under some pressure at the back. The players really stood up to that and defended very well in all areas of the side. We then came into it with good crosses from Tom and great runs from Dan and Remmel. We went 1-0 up with a great run and cross from Remmel, who was outstanding during the game working hard and making good runs across their back four, Dan And Tim executed a great crossover run in the box  and Tim finished from about 8 yards out with a bullet header. We then went on to score 2 more in a very good  run out. The players delivered on every aspect we asked of them on the day so onto our next training session and Tunbridge Well away which will be a tough away game in likely heavy conditions.

With Christmas coming up I would like to wish all you supporters your family, and all connected with the club a Very Merry Christmas. See you all at home to Whitstable, ‘who we always have great games’ with on the Sat 30th Dec.

Bright Stars Deaf Football Club, Club Shop and Kids Go Free

 

Hello Everyone

I would like to start by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and hope you all have a great time whatever you are up to over the festive period.

You may remember back in the summer where we donated some old SUFC kits to Bright Stars Deaf Football Club in Uganda. Well, we have kept in contact with their club organisers and the teams have been doing really well. The donated kits have given all the players such a boost and they are wearing the SUFC badge with pride.

Only last week I sent a Christmas message to them and had an email conversation to see how they were getting on. It came to light that sadly Bright Stars have limited supplies of equipment and we have promised to donate whatever we have left over from this season to again go back out there. One thing we don’t have is a supply of football boots. Out of the 2 squads of players at Bright Stars FC only 5 players have old football boots.

I am urging all SUFC fans both young and not so young to please donate any old football boots you have at home. All I ask is that they are in good condition. With Christmas just a week away I’m sure there will be many of you or your family getting shiny brand new boots as a present. Please don’t dump your old ones. Can I ask that you give them a good clean, pop the pair of boots into a carrier bag, tie it up, write the size of the boots on the outside and bring them into me at the club for us to make arrangements to get them out to Bright Stars FC. We would be grateful of any boots as it will all help but especially adult sizes from : 6 to 11’s. Thank you.

As well as our normal range of merchandise we also have a quantity of Mitre wear from our suppliers at Europa Sports in our home colours which we would not normally offer through the shop with different styles and items at silly low prices. As always once its gone – its gone and we only have the sizes as seen. We will have a rail with all of our sale and discounted items just outside of the club shop from the 30th Dec onward until its all been sold. Pop over and see Alfie in the shop and we can get it badged up for you.

Applications will be open from Sat 30th December for our half season ticket offer with prices as follows :

Adult – £50 … Seniors – 30 … Juniors – £10

 

All half yearly season tickets will allow you to gain entry to all the remaining home league fixtures until the end of the season. Please visit the commercial website for an application form which will need to be completed and handed in with cash payments only please.

As Matt has mentioned its KIDS GO FREE on Sat 30th Dec v Whitstable as well as a thank you to all fans for your continued support with a free tea or coffee for all general admission supporters (please hand your admission ticket in at the tea bar when ordering) All current season ticket holders can obtain their free concession bonus as well with either a free pint, a free tea or coffee or a free can of soft drink (Junior season tickets will only be redeemable against non alcoholic beverages) Please present your season ticket book at either the Ites Bar, Gallery Bar or Tea Bar where one voucher will be taken from your book in return for your chosen drink.

I sincerely hope you can help us to help Bright Stars FC and turn their Christmas into a memorable one.

It just leaves me to say once again – we hope you all have a very merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all on the 30th December.

Up the Ites !

Paul

p.rogers@sheppeyunitedfc.co.uk

www.sufccommercial.co.uk

Geoff – On the Record (Croydon Away)

Once again I must comment on the great support we had from our fans at Lordswood last Saturday. You all really got behind your team and helped pull them through a difficult time for the club. The players gave everything they had on the day in an effort to stop the poor run of results of late. We created a large number of chances in the first half and dominated the game, but could not finish. The goals came in the second half with good finishes from Dan, Timmy, and Trey.

You may remember my comments of 3 weeks ago regarding John Ralph and his amazing sprinting against Rob and Dan. Well can you believe it he has followed that up with two great passes from the back creating the first and third goals. The down side of that is he will make sure we all know about it. But keep up the progress John as its never to late to improve.

We had to take a lot more pressure from Lordswood during the second half and we had to rely on breaking out at times. Our back four played very well and defended better than we have done for weeks. As well as we played during the game,make no mistake the game hinged on one moment of brilliance from our keeper Josh who had a great all round game on the day. At 1-0 up he made a world class save to his left to preserve our one nil lead, this created the platform to go on and score two more goals to clinch a much needed win.

We go to Croydon this Saturday which will be our hardest game for some weeks. If we are to play our way into a challenging position we must come away from these type of games and take something from the game. Moving forward during the short term we are identifying players that we think will fit into our group and we must try and sign 3 players to strengthen the squad.

Let me finish by saying every week positive comments are made in the dressing room about the great support you all bring both home and the growing away fans, please keep it up.

New Signing Goalkeeper Craig Holloway

Sheppey United are pleased to have signed experienced goalkeeper Craig Holloway. The former Arsenal trainee, 33, had this to say:
“When I spoke to Ernie he explained how the club had developed over the last couple of years etc. and told me the ambition of where the club wants to work up the non-league pyramid. Obviously I’ve done my research as well. The club has a good history and to see home gates of 300 to 400 on average is a fantastic testament to all involved. So to get that at Step 5 is fantastic. So I’m sure if the club continues in the direction they are now, before long the club will be hitting 1000 people with success. Remember football clubs are built around the fans and all the volunteers. I’m looking forward to being part of Sheppey’s future sucess.”

Brief BIO of Craig

Craig started his career at Arsenal progressing through their scholarship programme and the Reserve team to take his place on the bench for a Champions League match in Valencia.
He then joined Farnborough Town in the Conference and after playing in the first 27 games of the season he joined Southend United on loan.
Gravesend & Northfleet then paid a transfer fee for his services and whilst playing in the Conference National for the Fleet he sustained a serious cruciate ligament injury that kept him out of action for 18 months.
He then moved on to Braintree where he was Player of the Year. He has also played for Chelmsford, Bromley, Thurrock, Welling and Margate.
He made the Conference South Play-offs with both Braintree and Welling United – playing for the latter in the Play-off Final at Dartford. At Margate he was joint caretaker manager with Simon Osborne after Chris Kinnear moved to Dover in the 2012/13 season.
The Margate team reached the end of season Play-offs and Craig and Simon took over as joint managers for the next season until Terry Brown was appointed by new owners at the club.
Craig then moved to Dartford on loan towards the end of 2013/14 Season.
He then joined Greenwich Borough during when released by Dartford.
His most recent club is Sevenoaks Town.

Commercial Update

Hello Everyone,

From having so many home games it was only a matter of time before it caught up with us and we had a big run of away games. It will be nice to see everyone back to the Havill Stadium – Holm Park on Sat 30th December for our home league match v Whitstable.

The Christmas sale on our selected SUFC merchandise went well and a big thank you to everyone who placed orders. We still have some in stock items such as beanie hats, scarves, mugs and pens should you want to purchase anything for stocking fillers for Christmas day. Please email me to arrange collection and payment.

We have a quantity of Mitre wear from our suppliers at Europa Sports in our home colours which we would not normally offer through the shop with different styles and items at silly low prices. As always once its gone – its gone and we only have the sizes as seen. We will have a rail with all of our sale and discounted items just outside of the club shop from the 30th Dec onward until its all been sold. Pop over and see Alfie in the shop and we can get it badged up for you.

As promised at the start of the season we will soon be inviting our junior season ticket holders to be mascots for the day and run out with the team. Each junior Ite will be sent an email with the email address given on their season ticket form submitted.

We still have a couple of home fixtures without a match day sponsor so why not get a group of friends together and share the cost to enjoy some match day hospitality in the boardroom. Please come and see me to enquiry on free dates and the package on offer.

Applications will be open from Sat 30th December for our half season ticket offer with prices as follows :
• Adult – £50
• Seniors – £30
• Juniors – £10

All half yearly season tickets will allow you to gain entry to all the remaining home league fixtures until the end of the season. Please visit the commercial website for an application form which will need to be completed and handed in with cash payments only please.

All current season ticket holders can obtain their free concession bonus on Sat 30th December with either a free pint, a free tea or coffee or a free can of soft drink (Junior season tickets will only be redeemable against non alcoholic beverages) Please present your season ticket book at either the Ites Bar, Gallery Bar or Tea Bar where one voucher will be taken from your book in return for your chosen drink.
It just leaves me to say we hope you all have a very merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all on the 30th December.

Up the Ites !

Paul

p.rogers@sheppeyunitedfc.co.uk
www.sufccommercial.co.uk

Lordswood 0 Sheppey 3

Well the general consensus was that ” Sheppey owed us one” especially for those poor unfortunate wretches that travelled to Croydon last week and I suspect all those that travelled, again doubling the attendance, would agree Ites delivered.

A much changed team took to the park, no Girt or Brunt but obviously having played the magical two games young Lawlor was replaced by the returning Josh Glover who I’d assume will now be invited to the Christmas party due to being the longest serving keeper. It’s getting like the Porridge film now trying to name a keeper, I’m highly expecting ” one of the Goodies” to get the job next week.

Anyway the Hosts, who had four Sheppey lads in their side including Jim Huggins who had come to the game straight from rescuing children from burning buildings, had beaten us a few weeks back so we kind of owed them one as well. Sheppey had restored Kwasi and Emmanuel to the defence, I must admit my memory is not great any more, I remember watching all the Emmanuel films when I was younger but I don’t remember the star looking like that.

Sheppey were straight at it from the kick off, looking more menacing than a bear with a toothache, scrapping for every ball, competing for every tackle not letting the hosts settle, the back four who haven’t looked a unit in the last weeks seemed more together than an Island brother and sister, the midfield of both Battens, Mahoney and Remmell were tigerish and the aptly named Glover assured between the posts. The first big chance of the game fell to the Shrewsbury shifter, a cute through ball set Bradshaw free, the home defence pretended they were going to catch him but as the keeper came out our intrepid Northerner put it uncharacteristically past the post. Not put off by this Bradshaw and LHO were still working their socks off closing down Lordswood quicker than hospital wards under Thatcher, Lordswood looked like they were being held hostage in their own half, Sheppey for once bullying their opposition, forcing their counterparts to hand over their dinner money.

Minutes later Mahoney is put through, one on one against their keeper who pulls off a decent save, just maybe this was going to be one of those games where we get more shots than a Brazilian on the underground but don’t score. HT 0-0

Back we go to the social club, after four games of not drinking John Smiths I was back on it, this never fails, suitably refreshed we trekked back to the ground. Sheppey again on the front foot, half chances came and went, it appeared that we seemed to be trying to be more direct. Fifteen minutes in, on comes Timmy for errr maybe George, his first action is a run more mazy than Hampton Court then just when you think he’s overrun it he slips a delightful ball inside to Bradshaw who this time makes no mistake and beats the keeper 1-0. Lordswood then tried to up their game, when they did get through the defence for the first time Glover stood tall and made a decent save. Back came Sheppey, Timmy, the man of the moment goes through the gears, twenty five yards out, the goal in his sight, Timmy curls it over the keeper, 2-0, Timmy then somersaults himself all the way to Chatham station in celebration. Lordswood, like a downtrodden husband had no answer, Easy E sends on his bag of tricks Trey for a cameo, still Ites pushed forward like the murderer at the circus, going for the Juggler, in added time the ball breaks to Trey who beats the keeper with ease 3-0, nothing more than they deserved. Seconds later the ref puts the hosts out of their misery giving Sheppey an emphatic win.

Summary

Despite being without a couple of players and with others carrying knocks the lads that came in did well. The performance more than made up for last week against a decent team.

MOM – Despite a good all round performance by everyone, I’m going to give the award to me for having the vision and durability to go back to the John Smiths despite the club selling Moretti which is one of my favourites beers.

AFC Croydon 4 Sheppey 2

So we set off Thursday night to attempt to get to the worst place known to mankind to drive to, having sat in traffic for almost 26 hours we finally track down the ground at 2.55. Nowhere to park obviously, but at least they moved the kick off back ten minutes as most people travelling seemed to be in the same boat. A few changes to the line up, Gurty, Mahoney and Bradshaw restored to the starting eleven at the expense of Kwasi, LHO and Trey.

Great to see over 40 fellow mutants from the Island there, easily doubling their crowd in what is a decent stadium.

The game started, Sheppey looking the livelier in the opening exchanges without creating anything, Croydon for their part grew into the game, the front three looking very lively and dangerous. After about 15 minutes Sheppey seemed to switch off completely, the Croydon number 11 got the ball, turned Mahoney quicker than Kevin Spacey and from the edge of the area hit a shot that with all our 15 keepers we’ve used this season in goal they still wouldn’t have saved, 1-0 to the hosts. From there on Sheppey didn’t look capable of stringing two passes together and for the first time the frustration showed with the players bickering between themselves which I haven’t seen before, it was like being married I’d imagine. The hosts took heart from this, and were much the better team but our defending left plenty to be desired, Girty, restored to the midfield was doing his best to pick his passes but a wet pitch certainly wasn’t helping as time and again passes went further astray than a Korean missile. Then against the run of play Remell went through, the keeper who was favourite got there first, somehow managed to completely make a hash of it, the ball rolled to Bradshaw who audaciously chipped the keeper from 25 yards into the empty net, fabulous finish. From here Sheppey picked up, their keeper making an exceptional save from a Girt shot from the edge of the box, but the defensive frailties again proved our undoing, another break at speed Sheppey caught on the back foot the forward got to the bye line pulled it back 2-1. Probably deserved but at the time of the goal we had just got ourselves on top. The rest of the half went by without anything of note aside a few more stray passes but at least we know we are a much better second half team.

The second half never really got going for the Ites, whether the midweek game going to extra time took its toll I don’t know but we looked slower than Heather Macartney in the 100 metres. A few niggly challenges started going in which raised the tempo but by and large were dealt with well by the ref who for once was actually a grown up. A long ball forward, their winger controlled it, Jack seemed to be caught wrong side and again he hit a low drive that crept in, 3-1.

Again Sheppey looked more frustrated than than a teenager in boxing gloves, Remmell who is never too far from any such action seemed to take a stray punch from their number 4 who had been nibbling away at our number 8, Remmell reacted leading to a 16 man melee, with Remmell rightly more pumped up than Mike Tyson with an elastic band round his testicles it took a while to get his blood pressure below volcano level, the ref who clearly hadn’t seen the number 4’s actions gave Remmell a yellow card. When the game resumed again the number 4 was intent on getting Rem an early finish so Easy E decided to take him off along with Timmy to be replaced by LHO and Trey. Sheppey tried to kick on but in fairness we looked as threatening as the Italian army, when we did get through them Trey seemed to be upended in the box but the ref waved play on. Indeed it was Croydon who again scored, I can’t comment as I was in the Gents shaking hands with the unemployed but was told it wasn’t the best goal we’d let in all season.

With that, myself and my intrepid travellers decided we’d seen enough of what was an awful game and were Infact looking forward to sitting in traffic thus missing LHO’s consolation.

Summary

Four straight defeats is never easy to take, in my opinion our defending has been covered by our cavalier goal scoring in past games, now the goals have dried up like a 60 year old spinster it seems more glaring. It’s very hard to be critical as I still believe we are well ahead of where we should be but we always seem to be searching for the perfect goal, great when it comes off but we need a few scruffy goals to get us through.
Lordswood in the cup next week, hopefully we will take a good following and get our season back on track.

MOM  – The woman who made the tea, two fantastic cups I had, possibly the highlight of the day.

Sheppey 2 Kray Twins 2 ( Kray win 5-4 on pens)

Well I say this most weeks but what an advert for non league football, this game had more drama than a room full of women, more chances than George Bests liver with more action than Fred Wests shovel.

It was about time we had a new keeper, so step forward Louis Lawlor, on loan from Hythe, means we’ve now had more people guarding the line than Pablo Escobar.

Coming off the back of two straight defeats, surely Sheppey would learn from their now famous slow starts and not find find us one or two down before starting to play, but no, yet again we came out the traps like with all the speed of a sloth carrying a fridge freezer, a simple pass forward to ex pro Kevin Lisbie who produced a sublime flick on to the jet heeled winger who beat Kwasi with ease and headed for goal, Kwasi, no slouch himself attempted to stop the forward but only resulted in a tackle cruder than a night out with Bernard Manning. Penalty. Up steps Lisbie who found the net easier than a teenager home alone, 1-0 and the first action our keeper had was picking the ball out of the net. The crowd let out a small chuckle, we’d been here before numerous times, why worry. The Krays kept pushing forward with purpose, breaking faster than an IKEA bookcase , the ball comes in the area, a point blank header, somehow Louis reacted quicker than John Terry at the sound of a door key and pushed the ball over, what a save. By this time Sheppey were like the Richardson gang in that they hadn’t entered the Cray territory, again the visitors attacked, a simple ball over a defence that was more static than a Primark jumper led to their forward on a one on one but yet again King Louis was there to save the day. Then along comes the second goal, again a flick by Lisbie, the defence squarer than a compurt whiz kid, the forward this time makes no mistake passing into the bottom corner 2-0. Finally this proved the catalyst, like Bagpuss waking from his slumber Sheppey finally turned up to the party. The midfield of Hiccham and the puppet master suddenly started winning tackles, The forwards who up to then had less to feed on than Karen Carpenters dog were now working the channels, the captain was now spraying passes like Pirlo, Timmy and Trey were now doing their “thang” and suddenly it was Krays turn to be penned in, their keeper not to be outdone pulled off a couple of great saves notably from Remmell, Timmy had a snapshot again well saved, the pressure was mounting. A succession of corners followed, superbly put in by Hiccham led to firstly the floppy haired warrior Ralphy draw another fine save from his header then from the resultant corner as the ball was about to drop to Trey, Lisbie raises his hand like an incontinant schoolboy and inexplicably handles it. Penalty. Up steps Remmell, strikes it to the keepers left, the keeper gets a hand to it but as it rolls slowly towards the net in slides the Colonel with a finger licking good finish. 1-2. The gloves were off now, Kray couldn’t keep the ball and it seemed the home side were camped in their half. Again Batten threads the ball through, Brunt, known as the midwife for his brilliant deliveries, did exactly that placing the ball on Treys head who duly placed it wide of the keeper for the equaliser. The game had now turned quicker than Kevin Spaceys career so it was probably Cray who were happier to hear the half time whistle giving players and crowd alike a chance to breathe.

During the break, a visit to Mrs Miggins pie shop for a lovely cup of tea was the order of the day, if for nothing else than to defrost my fingers which had now become stiffer than a priest at Holy Communion.
The second half starts, the home team out quicker than a fat kid at the dinner bell, pressing, pushing Cray back and creating chances. Hiccham goes down under a tackle, the whole crowd decides to go to the toilet/bar waiting for the inevitable delay as George the physio “sprints” across the pitch only to be let down by Georges absence. Hiccham tries to carry on but to no avail, off he goes to be replaced by the Shrewsbury shifter, straight into the action goes our Dan, within minutes he rifled a shot in that again their keeper was equal to. Then just as it had turned in the first half, the game turned in Crays favour, the Ites defence who seemingly had been coasting for 35-40 minutes now came under pressure, first Lisbie broke free, out came Louis and saved at the ex Charlton mans feet, five minutes later Lisbie again got through, this time he elected to shoot early and ( far be it from me to tell him) seemed to choose the wrong foot and screwed it wide. With extra time looming both teams looked capable of snatching it, Adekoya replaces LHO and straight away looked lively but again it was Cray who had the best chance, the ball came in the box, the forward, who must have thought it was Christmas headed the ball downwards only for Louis to somehow save with his feet, incredible. It was now a straight shoot out between both goalkeepers. A few more chances for both sides and it was extra time.

The extra 30 minutes pretty much mirrored the previous 90, more shots than Susan Boyle has had hot dinners, a few bookings but ultimately no goals. So it was to penalties.
The drama continued, both sides scoring four each, ours through Remmell, Ian, Ralphy and Bradshaw, it was down to Trey, confident as ever up he strode, the keeper guessed right and saved superbly, the fat lady was warming up just as their fella placed the ball and sent Louis the wrong way to win 5-4. Both teams getting a decent ovation as they came off which despite the result was a credit to both teams.

Summary

For me the loss of Girty and Mahoney was a big loss, however the squad is good enough but seemingly have to go behind before they start playing. For the 40 minutes either side of half time the football was fantastic, the captain especially impressive. The colonel will gain fitness from this and the front four won’t go many more games without returning back to the form they were in a few weeks back. Out of two cups in four days but maybe if we have aspirations to go up this may be a blessing in disguise.

M.O.M – Undoubtedly the keeper, who at times must have felt like the boy who put his finger in the dyke (Sorry Feminists) not sure if he’s here for a while or just passing through but it was good to see him come in, so young and be so vocal and commanding was very refreshing.