Sheppey 2 Beckenham 4

Straight off the back of a semi final win confidence was high, sadly the atrocious weather put paid to a bigger crowd though to see 250 there was still a good effort on a night colder than a 20 year marriage and wetter than a haddocks bathing costume.

I’d heard a lot about Beckenham and their win at all cost tactics but always assume there’s a case of sour grapes Involved so I was interested to see how this played out.

The returning Richard Atkins added a bit of spice, he’s been scoring regularly and is up there with our own northerner in the hunt for the golden boot.

The game started at a frantic pace, The visitors settling early. A strong Sheppey team with Johnno, Cook Brunt and the Colonel at the back looked comfortable with the early pressure, the home side grew into the game, Batten starting to impose himself, always looking to move the ball quickly. Bradshaw and Rem unsettling the Back four. First chance fell to the visiting team, a swift move of tight passes gave the forward a half chance but he only managed to find The keeper, . This stirred the Ites, they then started creating openings, a half chance to Bradshaw that sailed into scrappy‘s garden behind the goal miraculously knocking over his Lambretta, breaking two windows, one at the front, and completely flooding his kitchen according to his claims form.

Back came Beckenham, pushing forward again, Big Johnno more than once stretching his meccano legs getting in tackles from the other side of the pitch. This was looking like a good game despite the conditions.

By now Sheppey were firmly on top, Remmell supplying the trickery, The shifter getting behind the defence so it was no surprise when the goal came, Mahoney picked up the ball wide right, looked up curled an awful cross right over the keepers head into the top corner. 1-0 and deservedly so and right on the stroke of HT.

time to thaw out which I did by firstly pouring a cup of tea straight into my gloves then secondly by using a Bear Grylls trick of urinating down my own leg, apparently not only does this warm you up it also stops wild animals attacking you. By the fact I’m writing this tells you there’s truth in that theory.

Second half underway, much as the first ended, Ites the better team, this time attacking the Botany end where the Chernobyl extras had massed, 50 odd minutes in we win a corner, Mahoney curls it into the wind Bradshaw leaps goes up quicker than petrol prices and nods past the keeper. Easy, this was vintage Sheppey, Beckenham had hardly uttered the immortal words “ Reffffff” so far, infact they were the perfect gentlemen much like ourselves. For the next 10 minutes Sheppey pushed on looking for the third, the frustration from the visitors rising like a 14 year old with the Freeman’s catalogue, first a tackle on Batten, surely a yellow ? Nope not even a foul, then a tackle on Bradshaw that looked and sounded like a leg breaker, yellow card this time ? Not even a free kick. Batten again fell foul of what looked like a mugging, the game needed the Ref to stamp his authority on it, unfortunately he didn’t but Big Johnno did, catching a visiting player somewhere in the 6 inch box. Funnily enough the officials saw this, straight red, another early bath for an Ite. It’s makes you wonder if there’s not enough showers to go round so the lads need to stagger them.

Next attack, Beckenham now laughing down their sleeves like Dick Dastardly get the ball, it goes in the area Brunt, possibly puts a tackle in, the winger goes down like Willem Defoe in Platoon, the ref who I thought was going to give a spot kick irrespective of whether they got in the box obliged, up steps Atkins 2-1. Beckenham now with their tails up pour forward, the home defence looking more battered than a hen night in Blackpool, the equaliser came via a lapse in defence, the forward found himself with more time than the Kray twins 2-2. Sheppey looked all at sea but as I said, think how good it would be to hold out for a draw, unfortunately nobody heard me, least the players who then contrived to concede a third. By this time the game had descended into the keystone cops, the officials who had started poorly and deteriorated, might as well have been watching from the bar. The home team had less protection than an Ashford fan on a first date and tempers were shorter than Easy E’s fringe. Wisely the tunnel was wheeled out, we made our way to the less vocal paddock just in time to see Beckenham score the fourth. All over.


Sheppeys football was as good as any I’d seen all season for 60 minutes against a very good footballing side. Had the ref applied any kind of logic to the early tackles and given some protection we might not have got so angry and kept 11 men on the pitch. Once Down to 10 men we were never going to hold out as they have undoubtedly used such tactics before.

M.O.M Big Johnno, a big lump with a decent touch who doesn’t mind mixing it up a bit, ok the sending off changed the game but to see someone get a foot in was refreshing to see.

On to Rochester next, I can feel 3 points in the air.

Canterbury City 1 Sheppey 3

So the eagerly awaited semi final was here, the Friends and family stand had hired a minibus, we asked for one with particularly dirty windows so we had something to do on the long trip to Deal. After a quick Spoons breakfast we were off, a nice cold day as usual but with our assorted beer coats on no one seemed to mind. On arrival at Deal we found the pub nearest the ground for some mulled wine and a warm by the fire. A few locals were slightly bemused and I had to personally talk one out of calling the zoo as in his words he’d never seen such an ugly species of animal.

Anyway, nice little stadium really, not so the pitch but as we know Sheppey will never do things the easy way so it seemed fitting.

The crowd of 140 ish was made up of about 110 Ites, a few locals who only popped in as the wrestling wasn’t on telly and two men and a red setter from Canterbury.

Sheppey were starting with two new centre backs, Big Johnno, clearly signed from The land of the Giants and Dave Cook who I’d heard of as being a decent lad and definitely one for the future (or not depending when you read this) in place of the Colonel and the injured playboy that is Ralphy.

Canterbury had in their starting eleven a veteran of 6 games in 3 spells for Sheppey Darren Marsden, a great player who could cause us problems given time and room.

The game started, Sheppey quickly into their stride looking confident from the off despite their recent lack of form, Girty as usual getting on the ball looking to release the fit again Bradshaw at every opportunity. Mahoney in midfield, the ever willing runner covering more space than the inside of Harry Kane’s head, Capt Batten and Hich driving the team on. Then it happened, Canterbury had barely touched the ball so the last thing you’d expect to happen would be for them to score, they didn’t, the Shrewsbury Shifter did, getting behind their defence Dan drew the keeper, he had that much time, and slipped the ball past him into the Holy Goalies net 1-0. Cue wild celebrations from the two stands full of travellers. Canterbury, coming from the Holy City were clearly not used to such noise, the red setter who I later learnt was named Colin tried to rally his team but gave up saying there’s no “pointiff “ the other two won’t join in. Sheppey still dominant pushed on, on the rare occasions Canterbury threatened,  big Johnno the Baptist turned defence to attack like water into wine with a firm but assured approach. Then the miracle of the second coming, a great move involving Hiccham, Timmy and The elusive Remmell ended with Bradshaw breaking free to score easily 2-0 with only 30 minutes played, he was really rubbing their “ Moses” in it now. The travelling ites buoyed by not only the performance but 6 hours in the pub cheered every pass, determined that we wouldn’t throw this away and then two minutes before the break Bradshaw chased down the defence like a man possessed stole the ball and again slotted past the keeper who by now had been beaten more times than the Fritzl kids. 3-0 at HT and the team trooped off for a well deserved pint with a standing, for those of us who still could, ovation.

The second half was in truth never going to live up to the first, the home side had found their feet and at last put the boys under pressure. Again the defence of Johnno, Cook, Brunty and Girt stood up to all they could muster, the chances dried up like a 60 year old nun and the game settled into a midfield battle that neither team got on top of. Marsden as usual proving their best player despite the disparaging chants of the crowd, well me mainly, but in truth he was never afforded the space as in previous returns.  The half was punctuated by a few subs, Coops on for Timmy, Josh Froggatt getting a run but the game seemed to be petering out until Sheppey made the Cardinal sin of allowing the hosts to score a consolation which barely raised and eyebrow let alone a wagged tail due to the fact that Colin had long gone. 3-1, slightly took the gloss off the game but the final beckoned.


Very pleasing, went for the jugular from the start against a higher placed team. The new centre halves looked imposing, the midfield did more running than a council estate kids nose, and the forwards were on top of their game. A final against Whitstable was the reward, we owe them one definitely and April 8th can’t come quick enough.

MOM. Difficult as the team performance was outstanding, nobody played below their best and everything on the day clicked. Bradshaw though was different gravy, they never got to grips with his pace and tenacity and to score three against the Vatican eleven was the icing.

Erith 0 Peoples Republic of Sheppey 2

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.

Glebe 2 Republic of Sheppey 0

Well, Glebe didn’t have a great reputation before this game, 7 red cards helped that out and a bench that’s caused more misery than the Old Bailey. Sheppey on the other hand are nicer than your uncle Kevin, playing great football but with a softer underbelly than Dawn French. How both sides wish they could swap a little piece of each other’s attributes.

With this in mind it was imperative that strong officials were appointed for the fixture so when the kid out of Beavis and Butthead ran out we somehow knew it would be a trying day.

Sheppey lined up the same as the last few weeks but with Mahoney dropping to the bench, Kwasi coming in at left Back and Brunt playing in midfield. The home side who due to suspensions were fielding the Kray Twins in the middle, looked a physical side which might explain the red card situation.

The game kicked off with not really a lot to say about the opening stages, a few 50-50’s were won by Glebe, the odd cynical bit of plat that went unnoticed by the red and linesmen but no real decent football of note. The home side seemed to be the better team without much penetration, Ralphy and the colonel mopping everything up with relative ease. Going forward, again we flattered to deceive, good flowing football but the front three of LHO, the Shrewsbury Shifter and Remmell were feeding on more scraps than Andy Constables Dog, Gurty in the middle seemed to be up against it against the Home midfielders who wouldn’t have looked out of place wearing balaclava’s, every time him or Hiccham got on the ball their opponents took it as a personal crusade to stop them one way or another. Still at least they’d get some protection from the officials………..One such challenge saw Gurty go in for a header only to be met by a flailing boot that caught him flush in the mouth leaving more him bloodied and toothless than a Stan Collymore date. After a fair few minutes our lad got back up and dusted himself down, the ref, who used this time to sort his pokemon cards out took no action. This seemed to spur our intrepid heroes on, suddenly the passing looked sharper, movement was better, just needed that spark. That nearly came from Remmell, picking the ball up on the Halfway line R.E.M beat one of the SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE, then two, three and glided in On goal, pulled the trigger but was foiled by their keeper who in fairness did well. The hosts created a few half chances, drew a couple of standard saves from Josh but all in all when the half time whistle went the Home team were probably happier than us.

This gave the Home dressing room a chance to wind themselves and their team up even more, when they emerged for the second half they looked so fired up they looked like extra’s from Platoon, Sheppey sauntered out, calm, laid back and handsome.

Within two minutes of the re-start the ever reliable Colonel played a blind Back pass Ray Charles would have been proud of, their forward overcame his surprise and gave Glover no chance, 1-0. This fired the bench up even more, barking and growling after every challenge, the ref by now looking more nervous than Ryan Giggs at a family wedding was oblivious to the obvious intimidation from their no.10 who by now was angrier than a hungry woman. Glebe get a throw, the ball was launched into the area, the forward shrugged off a challenge and got a shot in, Glover dives full length to make a great but could only push the ball into the path of one of theirs who from fully five yards netted. 2-0.

Sheppey bring on the captain Ian, their caveman seemed to take an instant dislike to him, after a challenge cruder than Bernard Manning, Ian jumped up only to be accosted by their no.10 who grabbed him by the throat, the linesman who we were stood behind chose to look at his watch, keys, phone, diary anything but the fracas until I questioned him, then he meekly waved his flag almost apologetically, the ref who by now had completely retreated into his own shirt stopped the game, consulted the cowardly lion with the flag and duly booked Ian for what I can only assume was a nasty assault on their players hand with his Adam’s apple, much to the delight of the feral bench. Sheppey to their credit still tried, R.E.M making a STAND and pulling the strings then became the focal point for the angry mob. As we know R.E.M is never one to shy away as they probably realised so it was hitting up.

As a last throw of the dice on comes Selwyn Froggatt, fit again and raring to go, twice He got to the bye line but both times we failed to capitalise leaving just enough time for him to somehow also upset the bear with toothache despite their obvious size and weight difference and then the ref decided he’d ignored enough and blew for full time.


Again good flowing football without getting the points, the physical approach seems to have done for us again and although we brought about our own demise as Ernie pointed out to me, we never get that lucky break, bad back pass that you don’t deserve. It’s not for the lack of effort or endeavour that we aren’t getting the results which will turn in time. Keep the Faith and as LHO tweeted our support is valuable when we win or lose and no one is more disappointed than the team.

MOM R.E.M who is stamping his authority on games more with no shortage of skill. As he knows when we don’t win EVERYBODY HURTS but he seems to show it more.

Sheppey 2 Croydon 3

So what do I know about Croydon ? Well a few famous people have lived there, David Bowie, Ronnie Corbett, the Great Dane Bowers, Woy Hodgson, bonkers artist Tracy Emin, Kirsty Macoll and popular beat Grime artist Stormzy. I used to see a girl who lived near there until she had a restraining order put on me and I’ve worked at Croydon East train station, which is massive. With this in mind I was clearly excited about Saturday’s game, plus the fact that I’d willingly agreed to have a go at dry January meant the day should be interesting. Well it was.
My quip last week about Trey waltzing out the door never to be seen again seemed rather unprophetic as there he was turning out for Croydon against us, as his self appointed agent I felt a little let down I wasn’t party to any negotiations but that’s football I guess.
Talking of which, Sheppey amazingly kept the same starting eleven from last week, a feat worthy of the three points alone you’d think, Croydon clearly didn’t.
The game kicked off just about the same time I ended my gallant attempt at dry January, Croydon decked in what looked like a Coventry kit had a centre forward the spitting image of Peter Ndlovu (google him kids), a great player who left Coventry a week before Terry Phelan left, prompting the song ” you’ve lost Ndlovu and Phelan, woah Ndlovu and Phelan” ( another Google kids). Anyway, Ndlovu and his forward mate both looked very decent up front, ironically the other Croydon had two great forwards, makes me wonder if they just swap attackers similar to Fred and Rose West. Both were proving as elusive as my willpower early on, making diagonal runs and at times the home defence were finding them harder to pick up than the Chairmans wallet, the young midfielder supplying the ammunition early on should have given the defence an early warning, well if it did no one took any notice as the young lad, fresh from his paper round found Ndlovu 25 yards out, the defence gave him more room than Abu Hamza at pass the parcel let fly with a shot that found the bottom corner 1-0. By this time Sheppey weren’t in the game and looked as potent as Pele after a couple of beers so it was no surprise when Croydon doubled their lead. This time a crisp move led to the other forward with enough time and space to slot the ball home with a finish Cynthia Payne would be proud of 2-0.
Finally Sheppey turned up to the party, a couple of tackles won, Bradshaw playing wide right started getting the ball and asking questions, our first chance fell to the Colonel who somehow found himself with only the keeper to beat, he didn’t. Remmell and LHO started to look threatening and the midfield, again missing Burke and Hare the comedy villains started to get a foothold. First Remmel flashed a chance wide, then the Shrewsbury shifter got behind the defence but drew a decent save, the pressure was mounting like a dog on heat, then Girt sends Clark away down the left, he delivers a superb cross that Bradshaw, who overtook Usain Bolt to get in the box and met the ball on the half volley giving the keeper less chance than Diane Abbott on countdown 1-2. As I’d earlier predicted to the other weirdo’s in the paddock at 2-0 down, there’s no better feeling than winning 3-2 after trailing, I know my stuff. The Visiting keeper who had looked more indecisive than a fat kid in Greggs then played his part, a cross came in, the keeper went for it, had a little juggle, dropped it at the colonels feet and for the second time he couldn’t miss, he didn’t 2-2. Sheppey now had their tails up, pushing on restricting the visitors chances and went in for their half time ovaltine level pegging.
The second half started, me again telling anyone that would listen ” we are a second half team”
Then out of the blue, the rock solid Jack Mahoney played a back pass that wrong footed the Colonel, Ndlovu’s mate pounced on it and beat the keeper with a low shot, 3-2, what a kick in the proverbials. Still plenty of time on the clock, the 274 crowd found its voices urging the team forward, a few half chances came and went, Croydon still looked dangerous on the break, a free kick from a fair way out was curled round the wall into the side netting, Sheppey were now going Gung Ho for the equaliser, Girt fizzed a long range effort wide, Hiccham went close. Time for a sub, on comes Timmy for LHO, I’d also predicted Timmy would score today, a few corners, one of which Ralphy got on the end of but suddenly their keeper looked like he knew what he was doing saved well, in a last ditch attempt, Easy E brings on young Coops for Mahoney and Froggatt for Brunt, the latter taking over step over duties from Trey but it was all to no avail, 3-2 to Croydon.
Another disappointing result, didn’t start playing until 2-0, however some decent football got them back in the game. Technically we are as good as anybody in this league and realistically with games in hand could still be pushing the top 6 but as I’ve said before when things aren’t going right we haven’t really got anyone to do the dirty work, a few crunching tackles to give the opponents something to remember, the dark arts. I’m lead to believe Ronnie and Reggie Batten are available next week , hopefully their absence will have made them hungrier and angrier than before. Glebe next week, it’ll be nice to see a few new faces at away games, give the boys some encouragement and get the revolution back on track.
Dan Bradshaw, started wide right but presses all over the pitch, he’s fitter than Jennifer Aniston, and his sheer work rate and will to win got us back in this game.

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.

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

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.


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.


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.


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.

Lordswood 1 Ites 0

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