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.
Summary.
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.
M.O.M
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.

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

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.

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.

Summary.

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

Ites 6 Glebe 2

 

Sheppey United -v- Glebe (SCEFL Prem)

So, what do I know about Glebe, hmmmmm not very much, hanging around the middle of the table whilst our own heroes were in the midst of an incredible run, flirting with the top of the table like John Terry at the Christmas party. On paper Glebe would go one up kicking Sheppey up the proverbial backside who then storm back and win easily.

Big news was that Sheppey had lost another keeper, Stephen Lawrence returning to Rusthall after his prolific run of two games so in comes local lad Tom Benham to become Sheppeys 17th keeper of the season, surely some kind of record having used more keepers than outfield players. Hiccham again drops to the bench with Timmy and our friend from the North being restored to the starting line up.

The game started and just to throw my expectations Sheppey were at Glebe’s throats like a Staffordshire bull terrier with an elastic band round his testicles, Tom Bradshaw who seemingly wanted to make up for the lost time he’d spent on the bench looking like he’d overdosed on E numbers meaning that the visitors had less time to settle than a Gypsy family at the local park.

Ten minutes in the relentless pressure paid off, a silky move finds Trey in the box, as he shapes to shoot a tackle comes in upending our little bag of tricks, penalty. Up steps Bradshaw in confident mood and strikes it past the keeper into the net 1-0. Obviously now our intrepid heroes would put Glebe to the sword showing no mercy, but then again this is Sheppey, we like the drama, we weren’t to be disappointed.

15 minutes later Glebe had the audacity to equalise, a smart shot from Dan Gunner who rifled it in the net. A minor setback we all said and indeed it was for a whole minute when uncharacteristically bad defending let in Max Fitzgerald to score with ease 1-2. At this point I was starting to doubt the John Smiths I was drinking that had courageously carried the Ites on this run but I took one for the team and carried on drinking it with gusto.

Sheppey, somewhat stunned by this again took the game to the visitors with all the tenacity of a Glasweigan at opening time, Remell testing the keeper, Trey performing more tricks than Cynthia Payne and the midfield of Puppet master, Timmy And Jack well on top.  Just at this time their centre forward Zepo, the missing Marx brother started giving the paddock end a bit of good natured ” banter” holding three fingers up telling us the score safe in the knowledge his team would hold out for the victory so imagine how clever he looked when his mates gave away a free kick 25 yards out just before HT, up steps the captain, curled it round the wall that Donald Trump would be proud of and into the bottom corner, the keeper given less chance than a successful application form from the D.S.S stand clearly rueing his mates comedy banter with the crowd.

HT 2-2, a good game for the neutral if only there were any there but we’ve been here before many times this season and as I’ve previously stated these were the type of games we threw away last season and ended up with more drawers than Victoria’s secrets.

Second half underway, like the team I was feeling refreshed having visited the “gents” telephone box and managing to hold my breath for the entire performance I now had a spring in my step and noticeably less John Smiths in my body. 3 minutes in to the second half Trey again finds himself with more alone than a 16 year old Emo and places the ball wide of the keeper 3-2.

“Zepo Zepo what’s the score” rang out from the Paddock, made all the sweeter by his sheepish grin and the promise he’d score ” in a couple of minutes”. 4 minutes later another sweeping move ended up with the Shrewsbury shifter having a chance that was easier than an Island girl on alcopops, 4-2 and Dans second of the night. By now Glebe were starting to look more vulnerable than a Cub Scout on Jim’ll Fix it and we’re putting up about as much fight, on 68 minutes another penalty to the hosts, up steps Tom Bradshaw again who again found the net with ease 5-2 and a hat trick for our dashing forward, Glebe looked more beaten than Geoff Boycotts wife so surely they there could be no complaints if Sheppey got a sixth which they duly did again through Bradshaw who as the song says wax truly on fire. Meanwhile while this was going on the keeper and his defence had been more unused than Jurgen Klopps toothbrush but in truth were never under threat the second half.

Just time for Ernie to rotate the Battens and give Hiccham a run for LHO, a few more chances came and went but the game was won.

Summary.

Again Sheppeys fitness tells its own story, with the Colonel on the mend and young Coops and Kwasi still to come the squad has plenty of depth and with the wealth of talent upfront it’s no suprise we’ve scored 50 odd goals. Young Benham in goal looks decent enough, I’ve said this several times this season, so hopefully he will stick around for a bit.

Again a decent crowd of 277 but with the style of football on offer and the genuine chance of us pushing for promotion I’d  like to see the crowds topping 300.

MOM – Tom/Dan Bradshaw, work rate and the potency in front of goal mean there won’t be many people who score more than him in this league.

Ites 3 West Wickham 1

Sheppey United -v- West Wickham (Kent Senior Trophy 1st Round)
 
Daltons Weekly annual bicentennial shield
 
Dan Weller standing in for Rob Wilson #freethesheppeyone
 
Sheppey welcomed the visitors from the Southern amateur league who were fresh from playing the likes of Old Wilsonians, Old Parkonians, Old Mother Hubbard and Old El Paso to Holm Park for another scintillating cup match, our 15th of the season so far by my reckoning.
 
Straight from kick off The Ites were all over West Wickham like Harvey Weinstein on an aspiring actress (allegedly). The evergreen Timmy Babington and Dan ‘better than Tom’ Bradshaw came close to putting us in the lead within the first six minutes but were denied by quite frankly amazing work from the visiting goalkeeper.
 
After 15 minutes of relentless Sheppey attacks being thwarted the ball broke free for West Wickham and they went on their first foray into the Sheppey half. Never mind, we all thought, there’s no way this will come to anything, we all stopped watching and started discussing which way we thought the next round of Brexit talks should go and the North Korea situation when we heard the ref blow the whistle, must be offside we assumed, imagine our horror when we looked to see the ref pointing at the spot, didn’t see the alleged offence occur but it must have been just so we could give them a chance, no other explanation for it. 0-1 West Wickham, goalkeeper very nearly got a hand on it. 
 
The rest of the first half was a cagey affair, West Wickham defending their lead with eleven men behind the ball, Sheppey being kept out by the superb goalkeeper. Thoughts turn at times like these to Strictly come dancing. Aston’s in the final all day long mate, but that Alexandra Burke has been improving week on week and I hope she does well because the singing never worked out for her. In my opinion nobody can come close to Pixie Lott. I’d love to have another look at her Charleston.
 
Half time 0-1
 
Sheppey emerged from the changing rooms at half time with the realisation that in order to win football matches you have to score more goals than the opposition and who better than to convey the manifestation of managers instructions than Furious George Batten with a well taken shot from inside/outside (delete as applicable) the area to equalise on the 47 minute mark.
 
We could smell blood now, circling our prey like a bogus tradesman in an area of sheltered accomodation
 
55 minutes, free kick to Sheppey outside the area. Obviously, otherwise it would be a penalty wouldn’t it. Ian ‘captain fantastic’ Batten steps up to curl it straight in the top corner to make it 2-1 to Sheppey and put both Batten brothers on the score sheet for the first time since the last time it happened. Massive headache for Ernie as he now has to pay both of them double pocket money this week.
 
Two minutes later we’d barely stopped doing the conga round the Ites bar and Tim Babingtons hard work all through the game paid off by smashing another one home to make it 3-1 with just over half an hour to go. Sit back, don’t strain yourselves, goal difference don’t count for owt in these cup matches. One touch, tiki taka, total football were all present as we just sat back and kept possession like it was our ball and we picked the teams.
 
Well done to our goalkeeper, confident and can actually catch the ball. 
 
Man of the match – Andy Constable

Sheppey 3 Canterbury City 1

Sheppey United -v- Canterbury City (SCEFL Prem)

What an enjoyable night that was, got there a bit early, I assumed judging by the big queue they were giving away free Methadone but no it was the lure of a Nuclear Island select 11 versus Gods own team which he clearly created in his own image and for a bit of extra spice the return of one of our favourite sons the Loyal Marsden.

Easy E again rung the changes, T’whippet given a well earned rest, Ian took up the Batten from Furious and the introduction of our 17th goalkeeper this season, Steven Lawrence, a big bugger who looked like he knew what he was doing. Canterbury had a couple of big lumps in their side so I was fearful we might fall pray to the old long ball tactic, thank the Lord I was wrong, there was nun of that.

The game started, a fairly healthy crowd buoyed by the 2 for 1 offer on beer that only seems to happen when I’m not drinking, Sheppey attacking the D.S.S stand on a blustery night seemed to struggle to get into their pattern, the approach play was decent but the final ball never quite came off, it mitre been a bit easier with less wind but Canterbury dealt with it and we’re playing the better football arguably. To add to their decent football Canterbury showed they also had a more agricultural side with a few  “industrial” tackles going in notably on the puppet master Ian. So it was Canterbury who carved out the first chance, a sweeping move came to the forward on the edge of the box, hit it well but Keeper number 49 was equal to it smothering it like 35 year old single child’s mother, so far so good, next chance came from a corner, a header came in straight at Lawrence, no problem. Sheppey meanwhile were still trying, LHO doing what he does best holding the ball up, Remmell and Trey again showing more flare than an Ashford home crowd but still the spark wasn’t quite there but as we’ve learned Ites have got a resilience they didn’t have last year and like a nagging wife never give up so when their forward again broke free with just the keeper to beat there was no need to panic, Infact there wasn’t as again Lawrence pulled off a top drawer save to keep parity. The big Canterbury centre forward seemed to be causing a few problems and had he have got on the end of a few crosses similar to his “Big Bosses” it might have been a different story. Another Canterbury attack, the midfielder made a pilgrimage into the box, cut the ball back only for Batten to intercept, look up and curl a great ball into the channel for Remmell who at this stage had more defenders than the Pope himself, somehow Rem managed to dispossess the defender cut inside and I’d like to say place the ball but more scuffed it past the wrong footed custodian, 1-0 to the Islanders, the D.S.S stand celebrated like the heating grant had been paid early maybe against the run of play but who cares. Cue a few more industrial tackles, the odd booking and it was starting to liven up, only 5 minutes until half time, the lads can get in have a fag and a quick beer and relax safe in the knowledge we always play better in the second half, unfortunately it didn’t quite work like that, the last attack of the half, the balls played up to the big striker who beats his marker the ball drops to their midfielder who hit it first time sweetly into the bottom corner for a deserved equaliser, just time for him to abuse the botany end then the ref blew for half time crumpets 1-1, it was then I was disappointed to find the 2 for 1 offer didn’t extend to tea, take note Matt, we are not all beer swilling cavemen, some of us are the more sensitive type.

Second half, now attacking the massed ranks of the great unwashed in the Botany end, Sheppey get into their strides easier than an anorexic pushing the visitors back, Mahoney tirelessly backtracking more than a priest after choir practice and Hiccham and Ian finding the passes that were missing from the first half, one such move the ball comes to Trey who looked like he needed to do 3 step overs and a drag back before hitting it got dispossessed, the ball fell to Remmell, a nice interchange of passes between Hiccham and Brunt, the latter playing the ball to LHO who deftly played it through to the run of Hiccham who slightly lost his footing but still hit it well bringing a great save from their keeper, there then followed a great 1970’s scramble, Remmell followed up, cleared off the line, Andy Constable then had a go followed by Roger Pullen, one of the girls in the bar next then the ball fell to Remmell who somehow managed to kick the ball into his own head, ran through the assorted bodies scattered like the aftermath of Glastonbury and somehow put the ball in the net, this led to a mass “pile on” as Remmell became the first player in history to score and have an assist in the same move. 2-1 to the Sheppey boys. Canterbury started to look more frustrated than a teenager with a Freemans catalogue and after one too many big tackles yet another one was booked. Furious Batten then came on for his brother who by now had taken more abuse than Jimmy Saviles fan club and was now walking like he’d been rohypnoled by the rugby club to add a fresh pair of legs with the Shrewsbury shifter coming on in the hope of stretching them more than Katie Price. Canterbury were now attacking, several corners came in, nervous times but all were dealt with by either the keeper or the excellent Gertrude. Canterbury were still in it, in days gone Sheppey would have buckled but this is the new breed, nothing showed this more than when their striker got through out defence, as he drew back to shoot Ralphy came from nowhere like the invisible man in the girls showers to slide in and put the ball out for a throw, had he mistimed it I’m sure the flaxon haired beauty would have given away a penalty and would have been taking an early bath, superb. By now Sheppey had come to the booking party, notably George who having watched enviously at the Visitors getting all the pretty cards felt it was time to join in lunging at his opponent on the edge of the area. This was more worrying than Donald Trumps hairstylist, the fella takes the kick, ably assisted by the wind it’s heading top corner for the equaliser, Lawrence rises quicker than me watching Friends to push it over the bar, what a save, he was already proving to be as big a hero as our last 14 keepers and had no doubt won it for us in the last 5 minutes, surely we could relax now, nope, another Canterbury corner, the balls cleared to Bradshaw who’s off like a scouser with his nans purse, the defender who obviously didn’t fancy chasing the fleet footed Northerner scythed him down from behind leaving the poor Chap-lain out flat, the red card followed, to be fair to the lad similar to your best mate on a blind date with a fat girl he took one for the team, with him went their chances. On came Timmy, more fresh legs, Canterbury push up leaving more gaps than Kate and Gerrys alibi, Timmy picks the ball up, runs at the defence a quick drop of the shoulder then POW curls it over the keeper head 3-1, Timmy then launches into his full repertoire of gymnastics and the games over.

Summary.

A great win against a decent side who I can’t help thinking might have got a pointif their finishing had been better in the first half. The game had everything, 4 goals, a red card and more bookings than the Chuckle brothers. Much better atmosphere tonight, hopefully now a few more that were there last year will come back with nothing to moan about as we’ve now got a physio and we attack the Botany end 2nd half.

MOM – It would be very hard not to pick Remmell for his two goals which is why I’m not, I’m going for Girty who has grown into such an important player for Sheppey in both positions.

Ites 3 Erith 1

Sheppey United -v- Erith Town (SCEFL Prem)

Well, the start of 5 home games on the spin, not sure what to expect from this one, Erith had beaten Sevenoaks in the cup in the week so clearly were nobodies fools but Sheppey are on a roll so it promised to be difficult.

It started badly for me, took me ages to go through my extensive coat collection, eventually settling on the least practicable one I could find for what was quite a breezy cold day. Haven spoken to Eazy E the day before I was prepared for a changed team, Luke Harvey Oswald, Kwasi  and the Ian version of the Battens starting on the bench. Time for the home crowd to greet our 27th goalkeeper of the season, the aptly named Josh Glover. Speaking of crowds, again yesterday it had grown from the previous home game but still down on last seasons gates so those of you reading this who haven’t attended, it’s time to stand up and see the Ite.

Erith took to the pitch with remarkably a shorter team than Sheppey so at least we shouldn’t get bullied out of it. The game started at a decent pace, their keeper , dressed in pink top with matching flecks on his boots, was the busier of the two, but the deceptive wind seemed to help the visitors as we seemed to over hit any ball over the top. Trey and Remmell were up to their usual tricks, performing more step-overs than your average walk up dogsh*t alley. Both created chances for the normally prolific Shrewsbury shifter who similarly to the Erith keeper seemed to have the wrong boots on. Meanwhile the visitors took heart from the fact we were mis-firing more than Tuckers car at an away game and driven on by the excellent number 10 started carving out their own chances, as usual the defence of International playboy Ralphy, Gertrude, Brunt and young Coops were equal to everything thrown at them, and the times Erith got past the defence Glover seemed more dominant than Jordan Carey’s girlfriend and cleared up better than a mother of 5. It was about this time I turned to my mate saying ” I like the look of the keeper, he looks steady and reliable” so it seemed only right that he would prove me wrong, under no pressure he cleared the ball with all the power of a moth on sedatives straight to their midfielder who shaking off his surprise played the ball into the forward who surely couldn’t miss, he didn’t 0-1. Josh looked gutted, doubtless not the start he was looking for on his home debut, creating possibly the worst impression since Steve Maclaren turned Dutch but it was early days.

Sheppey improved, Hiccham going close with an Angeled drive, Trey who by now was performing more tricks than a £20 Hooker, got brought down on the edge of the box, a great opportunity, up steps Bradshaw at the D.S.S stand end and duly blasted the ball higher, wider and less handsome than the assorted clientele of the Botany end. HT 0-1. On the balance of chances probably a rightful result, their keeper had looked impressive so I was expecting us to sign him at half time,  but as we know Sheppey are proving to be a better second half team.

Second half, out come the Ites, looking more purposeful, this time against the wind, immediately making chances, Bradshaw, Trey and Hiccham all going close with their keeper again keeping us out, even at one stage  theatrically managing to go down like he’d been knocked out by Andy Constables lunch box to then get up in all his pinkness once the ref had mentioned he’d stopped the clock. 15 minutes in Hiccham picked the ball up out wide, beats one, dummies a second and hits a vicious swerving drive that struck the woodwork harder than a troop of deathwatch Beatles on a picnic, Erith were riding their fortune like Debbie McGhee before Paul Daniels demise, so Cometh the hour Cometh the man, Luke Harvey Oswald, our own electrician who has quickly become the darling of Ohm park comes on for Tom ” Dan” Bradshaw, on he strode like a gladiator, chest pumped up more than Dolly Parton with his new boots on straight into the fray, two minutes later, George picked up the ball rolled it into LHO’s feet, the electrical genius turned on a sixpence and “powered’ it past the keeper, 1-1, this was more like it. The ref then mysteriously sent off an Erith sub for questioning a decision, not sure how that works as surely that’s part of the game but as I tried to “interview” him as he walked into the changing rooms he completely blanked me so in hindsight the ref was right.

Sheppey had their tails up, Remmell and Trey running them ragged, George spraying more balls than a shortsighted vet it was only a matter of time, a succession of corners, Harvey again causing mayhem in the box, the ball is cleared, George picks it up, shapes to lay it to the overlapping Brunt, sells the defender completely, looks up and curls a beauty into the top corner, what a goal, he rarely scores easy goals, George runs to the Botany end and points straight at one of his many detractors, milking it, said detractor shuffling awkwardly. Sheppeys fitness was now beginning to tell, Erith who for the second half had been chasing shadows noticeably wilting like a pensioner in the sun, Ites pushed on, more chances came and went. On came Timmy and the Ian variety of Batten at the expense of George and Mahoney, the strength in depth evident. Just as we were taking it for granted Erith get a rare break, a shot from 25 years takes a deflection, Glover, wrong footed adjusts and pulls off a Gordon Banksesque save to palm it away,  tremendous save at an important time, back came Sheppey, Trey picks up the ball just inside the area, shoots, it deflects off the defender and past the keeper for the goal his performance deserved. 3-1. Erith were beaten by a great second half performance.

Summary.

Again we started slowly, playing catch up but the second half was every bit as good as anything I’ve seen this season, the newer players have bedded in and the strength and fitness of the squad is now paying dividends.

Canterbury on Tuesday sees us welcome back Darren Marsden, who had six spells for us amassing seven games between them, lets point out the mistake he made leaving us preferably in a good natured way.

MOM. Trey for his trickery, doesn’t always seem to make the right decisions but something always happens when he gets the ball.