Royal Tunbridge Wells 1 Council Estate Sheppey 5

Tunbridge Wells 1-5 Sheppey United (Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round 2)

I have to admit that as I missed Saturday’s game I was quite pleased it was a draw as I wanted to go there in what has become a great little derby game, so with this in mind I borrowed what I thought was going to be a nice spacious luxury Mercedes bus bus to take the lads down in. The reality was a lot different, spacious yes, luxury ? Not so, it turned out to be as old and in as bad a condition as me with more rust than Peter Sutcliffe’s hammer. Anyway, unperturbed we set off for the epic journey, despite more pauses than a Gareth Gates sentence we got there in good time. Now, parking looked a bit tricky so we turned right into a cul de sac that looked straight out of Dynasty, all gated drives and balconies. After turning the sunshine bus round we parked on the pavement no doubt outside Hesketh and Gemima’s house who could clearly be seen gathering up all their valuables as we pulled up.

After walking through the forest we got into the ground, first impressions, I liked the ground, like Botany Rd used to be minus the vagrants. As the team came out, what I thought was fog turned out to be a massive bonfire which I at first thought was a nice touch by our hosts to make us feel at home by burning some cars out but turned out to be Infact a massive bonfire.

So Sheppey line up with our 17th keeper of the season, Robert Budd, he certainly looked the part but we’ve had more people watching the net than operation Yewtree so far so I wasn’t getting too excited. The rest of the team lined up as usual, no colonel or Tom Brunt but with Coops and Remmell coming in we still looked strong. The mutants from Nuclear Island all huddled together in the Fortnum and Mason stand looking like the assembled cast of Oliver Twist or the land that time forgot, while it was good to see the Wells numbers considerably swelled by their Men servants and chauffeurs.

The game kicked off, the atmosphere crackling from both sets of fans, the first goal was going to be all important, luckily it went to us and in the first minute, the Wells players had barely had time to finish waxing their moustaches when Batten found Bradshaw out wide, Bradshaw played the ball inside to Remmell who had more space than papa’s hunting lodge, steadied himself and stroked it in the far corner. 1-0 to the Urchins. Sheppey continued pushing forward, Trey going through his repertoire of flicks and stepovers, it looked like we would score every time we had the audacity to enter their half. Meanwhile at the back our own middle class defender Ralphy commanded his defence against any attack the hosts could muster ably assisted by the again excellent Girty who seems to be getting better by the week. It was at this time one of our esteemed members told us that he was the victim of some “banter” regarding his somewhat high forehead from their number 7, armed with that there were plenty of songs about his own bald patch ( which he took in good spirits) until the original victim suddenly recognised the number 8 as the real assailant. Sorry number 7 but if it helps you had a good game.

Anyway, another attack, the ball breaks loose from 25 yards out, Harvey with his back to goal swivels on a Kings Guinea and hits the ball so hard I’m surprised it regained consciousness straight into the top corner past the helpless keeper, 2-0 to the ruffians, this really wasn’t cricket. Ten minutes later from almost the same position the ball falls to LHO again, again he shoots on sight, equally as hard but this time the bar saves the hosts, this was great football. Wells tried to get back into it, their fans still singing and urging them on but in truth there was only one team in it. Just before half time, Remmell is fouled on the edge of the box, he stays down, on “sprints” George the physio to the tune of Laurel and Hardy, followed by the stretcher bearers, this looked bad, it was but not for Remmell, he got up it was George that had to be carried off due to his exertions. From the resulting free kick Girty curled it round the wall but the keeper got down for an excellent save. As the ref checked his fob watch and blew for half time tucker, Bob Budd our keeper seemed to be in some distress and was even overtaken by George walking off, rumour was it was pins and needles due to standing still but this looked like our goalkeeping curse coming back.

Second half Budd looks better, game kicks off but as a cross comes over, he looks to catch it but struggles under no pressure, shades of Jordan again. The posh lads sensed this was their chance, they rolled up their metaphorical sleeves and started getting crosses in, despite heroic defending the writing was on the wall, once such cross came in, the forward didn’t connect right, knocking his monocle out but it was enough to bounce past the keeper who by this time was less mobile than Dawn French on a unicycle 1-2, the home crowd started singing ” rah rah rah we’re going to smash the Oiks” and it looked possible, this was pure Sheppey drama.

Off comes the keeper, who by now was walking like Ian Dury to be replaced by our intrepid hero Luke Harvey Oswald, The new right back replaces the injured Coops who was struggling with crupe, this was crunch time, Wells still pushing on looking for the equaliser, the 60 or so scruffs from Sheppey tried their best to spur their heroes on, it was backs to the wall, similar to the public schoolboy hosts, did we have the moral fibre to hold on ?

Yes we did, Bradshaw, goes on one of his runs, gets brought down, captain Batten rolls it into Hicchams feet, Hiccham returns it to Ian who looks up and curls it past the keeper, 3-1 to the scum, the Ites fans were in raptures, we didn’t need a keeper. Five minutes later, wells attack breaks down, Batten finds Remmell who plays a superb reverse pass to the overlapping Hiccham who slides the ball into the net, another great team goal, 4-1 to the Oiks.

On comes Timmy for Remmell, Wells still pushing on, leaving more empty spaces than David Beckhams exam sheet, Timmy takes advantage, shoots, the goalkeeper can only parry to the Shrewsbury shifter who sweeps it home, sadly just prior to this we had engaged in some light hearted discussion with the Lino who took this opportunity to show us who was boss, offside.

Timmy then gets down the left, cuts in and unleashes a rocket that again hits the bar, this was too much, then with two minutes left, the Wells defence doing their best Lord Lucan impression, Bradshaw nods it down for Timmy who is now more alone than a nun on a hen night sweeps home, 5-1 to the tramps. Wells fans to their credit cheered their team on until the final chukka but it was all over, Fisher in the next round whilst our gracious hosts stayed to clap both teams off.

 

Summary.

For the third game we’ve hit the ground running, some of the early football was the best I’d seen for a while and the speed of passing would have made our sponsors proud.

The goalkeeping situation is still a tricky one but in truth the way we played we could have had Jeremy Beadle in goal.

MOM.

Luke Harvey, his goal was just brutal, had the ” minerals” to go in goal and even got away with a complete air shot after charging out the area.

Ites 2, T Wells 2

Dan ‘the original’ Weller deputising for Rob Wilson #prayforrobbo

Sheppey United -v- Tunbridge Wells (Buildbase FA Vase – Second Round Qualifying)

The scene was set on a crisp, fresh Saturday afternoon, the mood was optimistic until everyone realised that the FA’s alcohol ban was in force, Ites supporters were scaling the walls to get to the Sheerness East club like Greenpeace protesters on a VW car boat.

The game started brightly, 11 red and white warriors ready to take the fight to the visitors from the Kent/Sussex borders.

All the hard work and drills in training paid off around the 10 minute mark when after the ball broke free from hitting the post after a well worked corner Luke Girt fired a 30 yard screamer into the top corner. 1-0 Sheppey, Huzzah!

The match was a free flowing affair after the goal but Sheppey failed to capitalise on the 95% possession (stats not by opta), the twells started to take the game to us in the last 5 or 10 minutes of the first half but a superbly organised and disciplined Sheppey defence snuffed out any threat quicker than Donald Trumps finger at Kim Jong Un’s fireworks party.

Half Time

The Ites returned to the field getting a warmer welcome than Willmot Browns reappearance in Albert Square.

1 minute into the restart and the visitors equalised. Luck, no skill involved, pure luck. Lucky shot, lucky parry and lucky well taken shot into the luckily placed net. How he could celebrate that goal like someone who’s just received a negative paternity test on the Jeremy Kyle show is beyond me.

The Wells were having it now, the equaliser increasing their confidence more than Wayne Rooney spotting holiday brochures in Coleen’s handbag.

It was all Tunbridge Wells with half an hour to go but the Ites seemed to steel themselves into action like when the A-Team had got themselves locked in a barn by rednecks with nothing more than welding plant and farm machinery.

Penalty to Sheppey!!! Anticipation high, Dan Bradshaw steps up calmer than Whispering Bob Harris on morphine and wrongfoots the keeper to slot one in. Rapturous applause, the sun broke through the clouds and angels seemed to sing his name. 20 minutes to go.

Open ended with ten minutes to go, flashbacks of Barrymore’s pool party

87 minutes and they have the audacity to go and equalise again, offside I reckon. Didn’t see it but it must have been mustn’t it, there’s no way in the world it could have been through skill and/or determination

Heading to extra time – not that you’re interested you probably stopped reading this tosh ages ago, I might start writing about something else completely like a story about some kids that got shipwrecked on an island and have been forced to play cricket against the natives to secure safe passage to the British consulate… “Timmy eyed up the bowler to try and ascertain how the coconut was going to drop, hopefully he’d topspin it on to the inside leg and then Timmy could smash the f00cker halfway to Cuba”. It’s a work in progress but you get the idea. 

Apparently it’s gone to extra time, couldn’t tell you if any changes have been made because I was too busy thinking of what would happen if you strapped a piece of buttered toast to a cat’s back and slung it out the window. Probably land on its side is the conclusion I’ve come to. 

Suppose I better get back to the football

Christ on a bike, how we haven’t scored is a bigger mystery than anything you’ve ever seen on scooby doo

Extra time, Half Time

Batten down the hatches (see what I did there). Tunbridge Wells are not letting this go. 

8 of the queen’s minutes left. Tense. Hope we win it soon, strictly is on tonight. I reckon Aston Merrygold will go far, he’s had a lot of dance training stretching back to his JLS days, should hold him in good stead.

Extra time, full time

No penalties. Bizarre decision, replay on a Tuesday night, just like the last time me and the missus… Well never mind.

Man of the match Luke Girt for that goal in the first half, class

Ites 4 Rochester 0

Sheppey United -v- Rochester United (SCEFL Prem)

Bottom of the table Rochester visit the embalming stadium for what you would think would be pretty much a forgone conclusion with the Ites hitting the top of the table and that’s exactly what happened.

A few changes to the team from Wednesday, Ralphy returning at centre half pushing Girty back into midfield, Remmell returning from suspension, Hicham and Kwasi and Ian Batten also returning, young Cooper picked up an injury at school,  Jack Mahoney was rested as was Furious George and when I interviewed LHO in the toilet he told me he’d picked up a knock so started on the bench.

First thing I noticed was the officials, most games we are blessed with officials that aren’t old enough to drink, these 3 certainly didn’t come into that category, as it turned out the ref didn’t look like he could keep up with play, but I bet he’s no slouch round a buffet table, the Lino’s glasses were so thick when the sun shone through them it burnt a patch of grass by the Botany end, and the other Lino looked like an unhealthier version of Bob Hoskins.

Anyway there I was expecting the usual slow start, Rochester had 3 or 4 big blokes in their team but also what looked like Tom Thumbs little brother in the midfield so I assumed they would bombard us with long balls, absolutely nothing like Whitstable who I’d like to add play fantastic football on the floor like Barcelona, but yet again I was wrong. Within a couple of minutes a sweet passing move comes out to the right, Trey beats his man and plays a perfect cross for Bradshaw to nonchalantly sweep home, everybody marvelled at the timing of the Shrew except Helen Keller on the line ( google it kids) who somehow managed to get the message to the ref at the other end of the pitch who when he got his breath back disallowed the goal. Five minutes later Remmell (I think) had a shot that was deflected onto the bar, corner surely, nope the three blind mice rule it a goal kick, bizarre. Then disaster happened, the Colonel goes in for a challenge, falls awkwardly and doesn’t get up, George the physio “sprints” on but the Colonel has to go off holding one of his wings, we later learn his shoulder is dislocated, on comes Mahoney with Girty replacing the colonel. It got me wondering, we never see the Colonel and Ralphy on the pitch together, are they the same person? Is it identity theft ? Who knows.  From then on Sheppey had chance after chance, to me it seemed that everybody wanted to get on the score sheet, Rochester to their credit still looked neat and tidy without posing much of a threat but Sheppey looked profligate in front of goal, such was the dominance that Remmell and the visiting keeper had a discussion about it at a corner, Remmell who was fairly insistent on making his point ended up with another yellow card for his collection. Just as it was beginning to look like we might never score Ian played a ball out wide to Hicham who controlled and beat his man in one move and slid the ball in the bottom of the net 1-0.  The half time bell sounds, just time for the officials to get off the pitch before coming back again.

1-0 HT

The second half was pretty much like the first half, Rochester struggling to contain Sheppey as the chances carried on, Bradshaw, doing what he does best but getting no luck in front of goal, Trey as tricky as ever carving out chances but again nothing was sticking, although Rochester looked less likely to score than Stephen Hawking we learnt last year than not killing off games cost us dearly, luckily we had Hiccham to the rescue as the ball broke in the box he was on hand to stab it home, we were safe now and surely going top. Furious George replaces Ian, Luke Harvey Oswald comes on for Remmell we were going for the throat, Bradshaw breaks free in the box, surely he wouldn’t miss this, he didn’t, thus ending his one game goal drought, 3-0. Madly Rochester who by now had started looking a bit disinterested woke up, the forward got away from Girty hit a decent shot , Adam the keeper who up to now had done about as much work as the assembled guests in the D.S.S stand pulled off a decent save to dent them any consolation .

Right near the death, the again excellent Trey scores to make it a nice even 4-0 and a rare clean sheet.

4-0 FT

Great start and tempo to the game, the first half in our last game was that bad we could have been beaten by the other Holland and Blair, namely Jools and Lionel, the loss of Rob Saunders will be difficult,  I’m told by my sources (Twitter) could be 6 weeks, after again only having 4 subs another injury won’t help although I did possibly see a centre half looking bloke enter the board room after the game so hopefully might be cover. Yet again we prove lethal in front of goal, on another day it could have been 10-0. The great John Smiths saga rolls on, my unbeaten run has now stretched to 4 games, sadly won’t be there next week as West Ham are at home but I’ll carry on with tradition just from another stadium.

M.O.M

Hiccham, two goals, a great all round performance, Sittingbournes loss is our gain.

Hollands & Blair 1 Ites 3

Hollands & Blair -v- Sheppey United (SCEFL Prem)

Well this was the game that went through every emotion in 90 minutes, misery, despair, relief, joy then the sheer joy of a hard earned the away win.

The four of us made the trek over to be greeted by big Dave, an exiled Ite who lives a spit away from H & B’s ground. The weather caught a few out the balmy Autumn weather replaced by the barmy winter weather but for once I was adequately attired. My new found religious beliefs have stopped me drinking the Devils brew in the week and as some may be aware our winning streak is entirely down to me partaking John Smiths instead of my usual tipple of ( let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what you order at the bar it always ends up as Carlsberg) lager so I was fearful to say the least.

The only team change being Furious George coming in for Hiccham who I’m told is happy playing once a week. I had been warned by a work colleague that the pitch had quite a bad slope on it but I must admit it suprised me that it was steeper than the prices at the Halfway House, that said he assured me they liked to play football on the ground so it didn’t really suit them.

The game started, I might as well cut and paste this from pretty much every game this half, with Sheppey on the back foot, a very youthful H & B team seemed to run us ragged early on playing down the hill with their big centre forward holding it up well, all the early chances went to the home team with us mustering a solitary shot from Bradshaw which would probably have run out of steam before it hit the net.  The hosts then had the best chance, Adam picked up a Brunt back pass, the ref gave an indirect free kick from about the penalty spot, the whole team assembled on the line and somehow charged down the kick, close but no cigar. The assembled wise old owls predicted their goalkeeper would have the game of his life as seems to happen and to be fair to him  Forde was Focused when called upon but nobody expected him to influence the game like he did, from the edge of the area, young Forde launched the ball straight past everyone on the field who stared at it open mouthed like when us Islanders see a plane, Adam the keeper came to collect, the ball bounced once, as did Adam and the ball sailed straight over his head into the empty net, their keeper then celebrated wildly leading to a Forde Fiesta at what was no doubt his first goal at this level.

No problem the assembled Ites thought, this would wake us up, it always does except this time it didn’t, the Hosts created more chances and started to pepper the goal from long range, then came our slice of luck, their striker got free of our defence, Adam came out to meet him, the forward went round Adam who promptly took him out quicker than an Alabahma policeman at a civil rights meeting, Penalty, but luckily opinion was divided, the whole ground thought it was a penalty, the ref didn’t. Surely this lucky break would spur the Ites on, nope, still the hosts pushed us back creating chances, Furious George lost the ball in the midfield then took one for the team by pulling his opponent back for his customary yellow card then out of the blue Jack Mahoney smacked one from 30 yards, Forde leapt like the proverbial salmon saving superbly. Just time for the hosts to hit the post from a header before half time, surely this was the worst 45 minutes of the season, they were so bullied out of it I expected the Sheppey team to hand over their collective dinner money, what could and should have been 4-0 to H & B was luckily only 1-0.

1-0 HT

Second half, kicking down the slope and with the wind up buoyed by the fact we couldn’t get any worse, out the boys came and promptly took the game to the hosts, Luke Harvey Oswald who up to now had seen less ball than a blind lesbian began to get involved, Trey, our best player  ( assuming there was one) in the first half was starting to light up the game with more little dribbles than my dad without his teeth in, the Shrewsbury shifter who had been more of a bit part actor than the dog in Eastenders now looked like he had a new ” leash” of life, scampering, harrying the before untroubled defence, Oswald had the first chance, pushing his way through the defence like a fat kid at a chip shop, scuffing his shot, then minutes later a better effort that Forde parried into the path of Bradshaw but somehow he grabbed it off Dans foot. The hosts were still playing the ball round well but it was now like the Indians circling the wagon train and they couldn’t get up the hill, Timmy had a shot that went just over with the keeper for once beat,  Harvey Oswald adopted a shoot on sight policy the same as his namesake, this was so much better but equally frustrating, the curse of the John Smiths was coming true, then came the big chance, old dependable Bradshaw beats two and gets in the box with only the keeper to beat, that’s it, he never misses, well he did tonight screwing it agonisingly past the post, this was starting to get annoying. Ernie then rolls the dice and replaces one Batten for another and then Golden boy Ralphy for Mahoney with Girty going back to his usual midfield berth, then just as we needed a Hero, up steps Trey, 25 yards out he looked up the keeper was off his line so Trey chipped the ball over the keepers head like a joke at a hairdressers convention, 1-1, deserved on the second half performance surely. In view of H & B’s first half dominance I’d have settled for a draw but they looked out on their feet, their attack breaks down, Harvey breaks clear, Timmy is in more space than an Ibizan clubber, Luke picks him out, Timmy cuts inside onto his left and from the edge of the area hits a super Timmy Mallet past Forde 2-1, cue Timmys somersault celebration, if the hosts hadn’t looked knackered before, they did now. By way of congratulating Timmy Ernie brings him off, a nice gesture but back to the game, on come Hiccham to shore it up, would we rest on our laurels, would we hell, another Harvey shot gets deflected for a corner, young Cooper takes, Trey gets on up like James Brown and powers his header past Forde, 3-1.

1-3 FT

The proverbial game of two halves was over, could have been 4-4 but we rode our luck much to the delight of the 60-70 Hobo’s who had made the trip, a standing ovation for both teams, especially Forde who was given an Escort and it was all over.

Not much to say about the first half, Highstead was apparently chucking up all day but given our goalkeeping back up chose to play, a freak goal maybe, he lost his footing but still kept us in it with a great save in the first half. Second half we turned on the bullies and became the aggressors, the slope and wind played a big part but I think the fitness levels shown by the lads was key, no pun intended Ralphy, to our win .For once our prolific front two had a bad day at the office, hopefully in Dans case this wasn’t anything sinister .

MOM Either Trey for his superb double or me for recognising the lack of John Smiths made the brave decision to switch to Bovril which carried us home.

Ites 5 Loxwood 1

Sheppey United -v- Loxwood (Buildbase FA Vase – First Round Qualifying)

Well it was a beautiful day, so I wore shorts and flip flops, what could possibly go wrong.

So we entertained Loxwood at the embalming stadium, don’t know a lot about them but I’m led to believe they were a step higher than the Ites and hailed from Guildford. They were well  supported having brought a coach load down which was nice to see. Also nice to see Dennis who was our 75th guest DJ and announcer for the day who kindly decided to do his announcements in the vane of Whispering Bob Harris.

Sheppey, much to the delight of some were like a poor relay team, Batten less and with Ralphy and Kwasi still injured in came Timmy and Trey.

The game started much the same as most games seem to start this season with Sheppey slower out the blocks than Oscar Pistorius minus his blades, Loxwood taking the game to Sheppey with a team that noticeably had no Giants in their midst similar to ourselves. The visitors carved out a few openings but the Colonel, after his off game last week was back to his majestic best it would take something pretty special to score, which is exactly what happened, the forward broke free, got his shot away which was parried by the keeper straight into the path of the blonde bombshell who rammed it back into the net after hitting the bar harder than Tony Adams stag night, 1-0 to Loxwood, deservedly so. As per normal this jolted the Ites into waking up, Timmy having his best game for a while started to get past his marker and to the byline, and the tricky Trey, also having his best game for a while making a nuisance of himself , it was from this source that Trey got on the end of a cross, directed it towards goal from probably ten yards only for their keeper to somehow parry it over the bar, we were now building up a head of steam, enter Luke Harvey Oswald who up until now had been involved as much as a married mans opinion, he found himself on the right of the box, looked up and slotted it into the bottom corner, 1-1, from then on Sheppey just pushed Loxwood back, the Shrewsbury shifter chasing down everything as always, Brunt and Cooper pushing on and the excellent Hiccham driving the Ites on, then came the second, LHO again finding himself in more space, the keeper raced out but to no avail as Luke calmly lobbed him from the edge of the box. 2-1, this was starting to look like Lordswood all over again, the rest of the half was played out with Sheppey pressing, Loxwood looked like they’d had the stuffing knocked out of them.

2-1 HT

The second half started and the dark clouds that had been gathering were looking more menacing than Michael Barrymore at a pool party, the rain was coming, I was the only clown in flip flops. Sheppey continued as they left off, attacking, crisp passing, a succession of corners all put in superbly by Mahoney created chances, their keeper pulling off a couple of good saves but it was now becoming more one sided than Heather Mills roller skates, one such corner from Mahoney curled into the near post, the Colonel stuck out a wing, the ball seemed to come off his captains armband and into the net, the Loxwood team didn’t complain, maybe I’d imagined it but it looked like handball, still that’s football and we were 3-1 up. It was about this time the heavens opened, you could almost see the chairmans eyes light up as much of the 272 crowd crammed into the downstairs bar, it was dry but the downside being for 10-15 minutes we could only see one goal which luckily was at the Botany end we were attacking, the D.S.S stand was now emptier than the inhabitants c.v’s and the pitch was now wetter than Harry Kane’s bib which ultimately led to the Ites 4th goal, Mahoney got down the right, crossed into the box, the keeper looked to have it covered but the ball sped off the wet surface hitting the keeper in the chest and fell to Dan Bradshaw who like a tramp on chips swallowed up the chance 4-1, tough on the visiting keeper really but it was clearly a victory for the tropical weather we get here on nuclear Island, and then out came the sun and as our own Dan Bradshaw would say, ” turned out nice again” and by way of celebration of the Northern weather Dan rounded off the scoring as it looked like Loxwood had given up 5-1, which possibly flattered Sheppey a bit but in truth after the visitors goal there was only one team in it.

5-1 FT

A lot of decent performances, Timmy for one who at one stage beat the defender once then completely bamboozled him with a magical back heel. The level of consistency from the likes of Brunt, Hiccham, Girty and Mahoney has been a massive plus, the two upfront will score goals everywhere and the keeper who in this game commanded his box much better all looks good for the future. The downside, only 3 on the bench again, the crowd which has grown every week seemed strangely quiet. However my John Smiths related winning streak Carries on.

MOM: Luke Harvey who every game is more of a handful than John Holmes, his two goals were vital and his link up play and pure power makes him harder to mark than a dyslexics homework.

Ites 3 Lordswood 3

Sheppey United -v- Lordswood (SCEFL Prem)

Well what can you say, watching Sheppey this season has proved to be the roller coaster ride of the century with more ups and downs than Wayne  Rooneys back seat.

Got there early as the 10 minute mono syllabic conversation I’d had with my daughter rendered me a little senseless and in need of oxygen. Now as some may know I don’t really drink alcohol in the week so my lucky streak of John Smiths wins was about to be tested as I opted for the tea on offer.

Quick look at the team Kwasi is back in at the expense of the young protégée Darren Cooper, Timmy,   back in the starting eleven  replacing the skipper who was cruelly struck down by a holiday and Remmell who was banned for attempting to cruelly strike down half of the Whitstable team being replaced by Luke Harvey Oswald. A quick look at their team saw two returning Ites in the form of Tommy Woodridge (Sheppey ruined his career you know) and big Grant Mcillheron. The biggest cheer of the warm up was reserved for when Wils the stadium announcer declared that Grant was available leading to a mass exodus from the D.S.S stand doing the Conga.

Anyway the game started much in the way of many of our games with Sheppey on the back foot, Lordswood relishing the new pitch stringing some nice passes together, Sheppey appearing to chase shadows much the same as a young Cliff Richard and with equal amounts of aggression, the first chance of the game comes via a big tackle from the Colonel on their forward who looked slightly stunned, right on the edge of the D, their fella lines it up, curls it round the wall low to the keepers left, Adam can only push it into the path of the Lordswood attacker who hits it only for Adam to save again, this led to a massive scramble ( not the last of the night) with the ball ending up in the net but adjudged to have gone out of play before much to the delight of the local folk. Sheppey were still mis-firing like a 14 year old on a first date, the Colonel in particular looking out of sorts for the first time this season and it only seemed at matter of time before Lordswood scored which with the benefit of hindsight is exactly what happened, Orome swivelled on the edge of the box, his shot was deflected, sat up nice for Healey to spectacularly volley home was how the Lordswood Twitter page described it, I remember it slightly more scrappy but either way we were losing.

The goal seemed to wake the boys up somewhat, slowly but surely they gathered a head of steam, the Shrewsbury shifter finally seeing the ball after chasing his tail for 30 minutes like a Jack Russell on speed, Hiccham started to get into the game but still we looked less likely to score than Susan Boyle with a cold sore, D.B did get away from the defence and met a cross from the right but with the ball heading for the top corner their keeper who throughout the night showed Jordan Carey tendencies dived high to push the ball over, great save, another cross from the right Bradshaw is free just the keeper to beat but for once his finishing let him down and over the bar it went. It seemed clear that Ites would only score by incredible good fortune or a hilarious mistake and so it was, the ever dependable Tom Brunt, clearly frustrated by the mid-firing forwards slung over a glorious 30 yarder from the byline which sailed over the keeper, hit the post and would have rebounded to safety had the keeper not got in the way, 1-1. The Ites then played out the half as the better team without making chances but having been second best for 35 mins it looked a decent score line.

1-1 HT

Half time, more tea, so far the John Smiths embargo looked fairly safe, again Eazy E must have whispered a few home truths as Sheppey came out strong, Timmy started to get involved on the right, the excellent Jack Mahoney flitting about like Larry Grayson and Hiccham starting to dictate the passes, the second goal came via the usual outlet Bradshaw chasing down the right back, winning a throw, an exchange of passes, Dan breaks free, looks up and plays a peach of a ball into Oswald but just before he could apply the finishing touch the defender gleefully smacked it into his own net with all the subtlety of shortsighted Gaenacologist 2-1. This is it Sheppey back to their best, the Colonel had rediscovered his form, tackles and subsequent bookings were flying about, the visitors didn’t seem to have an answer, Brunt and Kwase were getting forward getting crosses into the box, one sublime back heel from LHO was deflected past the post, nothing could stop us. Well I say nothing, it was actually a corner whipped in from the right, the defence was as good as Oscar Pistorious’s and their defender strolled in for a free header 2-2 with about ten mins left. This was dramatic, the ref who I thought had a superb game kept making it known he was adding on time for the various time wasting tactics by both teams and the 90 minutes passed, with an extra 5 added on, this was going the way of so many games last season where we snatched a draw from the jaws of victory, Kwasi got down the left, one man went to Amoah, Kwasi left him for dead, fired in a cross that alluded everyone. That was surely our last chance, nope wrong again, Mahoney got the ball 30 yards out, sidestepped his man like Fred Astaire and hit the sweetest left foot shot you’ll see this side of Queenbrough, cue mad celebrations from players and fans alike, Lordswood probably didn’t deserve to lose this but it was a goal fit to win any game. That was it, surely just a matter of time, Ernie sends on Tom Mont to run the clock down, their keeper gets the ball, moves to near the halfway line, their entire cast of big lumps lined up on the edge of our area, ball comes in ( look away Whitstable) one of the man mountains wins the header, keeper saves but only pushes it out, another scramble but this time the ball ends up in the net 3-3, they celebrated as you’d imagine, Woodrough especially (we ruined his career) with the Sheppey players that slack jawed they looked like the cast out of deliverance. Unbelievable, only at Sheppey.

FT 3-3

A fair few players didn’t have the best games, we again got caught out on long balls, our lack of height really is our Achilles heel and maybe the keeper who similar to Pete Doherty refused to leave his line could have punched clear but in the harsh realities Lordswood deserved something, they aren’t a bad footballing team who reverted to different tactics when they had to.

Still there’s always the cup to concentrate on.

I think the lack of John Smiths had an affect on the game, if I was the chairman I wouldn’t risk it again, and I’d ensure I had free beer at all times.

The behaviour of some of the Feral youth behind the goal left a lot to be desired, don’t really want to see that sort of thing at Non league football.

MOM Tom Brunt, very rarely puts a foot wrong, calm and a good crosser of the ball.

Ites 3 Corinthian 0

In the light of criticism from the league regarding my previous report I’d like to add that the officials for this game and any other game were fantastic, got every decision spot on, were all perfectly formed and I even washed your cars at half time.

Sheppey United -v- Corinthian (SCEFL Prem)

So, to the game, and what a fantastic game it was, the day was hotter than Jennifer Aniston in a coal mine, I’d decided after my lucky switch of beer last week to John Smiths I’d stick with that and boy did it pay off. The visitors, Corinthians sat proudly at the top of the table and were I was informed a good footballing team, very much like Whitstable who I allegedly and mistakenly accused of being a dour long ball team, much like the Ites and with our playing surface made for passing this looked a gem in the making.

Sheppey still minus its favourite son Ralphy and the excellent Kwasi which initially set the alarm bells ringing but the young Darren Cooper again stepped into the breach. Skipper Ian was back although noticeably the skipper duties went to the Colonel, Hiccham back in the middle and the rest  the same that started against the fantastic Whitstable.

The ref seemed quite young but as Graham Rix used to say if your good enough you’re old enough,  started the game in bright sunshine, at first I thought the crowd was a lot down on last week until I looked into the dark corners and found loads of Gingers hiding from the sun covered head to toe in factor 350. Corinthians came out all guns blazing, looking every inch a top of the table team, slick passing on this marvellous surface and similar to monday not a hint of long ball to be seen, Ites defence was steadfast, the Colonel relishing his new role tidying up more than a mother of twins ably assisted by Girty who seemed to enjoy what looked to me almost a sweepers role, showing a level of maturity much beyond his years. For all Corinthians build up play aside a few half chances Adam the keeper wasn’t troubled and Sheppeys confidence grew, first the puppet master started pulling the strings, always looking to find the tireless Bradshaw who really is like a whippet on steroids making runs and chasing down the ball with all the determination of a tramp on chips, Remmell alongside Dan showing what an intelligent footballer he is holding the ball up bringing in others, Mahoney in particular and the overlapping Brunt who despite his claims to his previous team Sittingbourne still gets about more than a ten dollar hooker. Just time for our keeper to tease their centre forward with some ball wizardry in his own area much to the delight of the twenty or so strawberry blondes hiding in the bar. Similar to Corinthians, the half passed with barely a clear cut chance to either side but some very decent football from both sides.

0-0 HT

At half time, Ernie who during the first half was sporting a flip chart which must have used it to good effect as the Ites came out fired up, the Pantomime villain, winning a few big tackles in the middle, Mahoney getting past his man down the line several times creating opportunities for the forwards that were either snuffed out by the decent defence or claimed by the keeper who protected his territory like a fat kid with a bag of sweets.

It was about this time our keeper thought he’d spice the game up by slicing a few clearances but to be fair to him it would have to take something pretty impressive to breach the Ites defence.

Ten minutes into the second half Eazy E decides on a change, bearded Batten making way for our new signing Luke Harvey Oswald, who’s thighs alone would fill a stadium, Remmell moves back ” into the hole” in a 4-3-1-2 formation, within minutes Remmell plays Bradshaw in, it’s a straight chase between the fleet heeled Northerner and their keeper but sadly the keeper had the audacity to win that one, he’d live to regret that, five minutes later a sweeping move, a deft flick from Lee Harvey Oswald sets Bradshaw free, no offside, another straight race with the keeper this time Dan gets there first, knocks the ball past the keeper who in his haste to get there wiped Dan clean out in the area, the Botany end smelt blood, which in this heat is considerably better than they normally smell and started chanting “off, off ,off” surely it had to be a red card and then a few assembled smartar**s ruined it by pointing out the rule change and the keeper got yellow. Our dashing hero peels himself up off the pitch puts the ball on the spot and duly buries it in the corner like Fred West, 1-0. The crowd go mad, even the blotchy red people came out in the sun briefly to celebrate, this was good.

Sheppey were now in the ascendancy, free flowing football led the paddock to chants of ” it’s just like watching Brazil” which brought a tear to the eye of the South American looking linesman, another flowing move from Braz……sorry Sheppey Bradshaw again springs the offside trap, this time his first touch goes further than I could kick it, but he clicks into overdrive, second touch, smack he finds the bottom corner with a drive that left the keeper with no chance 2-0, Bradshaw then ran full pelt towards the paddock , initially seeing a Northerner run at us our first instincts were to hold onto our wallets and phones, but it was all good as he dived into the great unwashed followed closely by Remmell,  the boys were on fire. Corinthians tried battling back but in truth Ites were far superior now and like half the crowd were reaping the benefits.

Then it happened, ironically like a Kennedy moment, the move of the match, so good it even involved players that left weeks ago, 242 passes later Hiccham flicks it to Lee Harvey Oswald with his back to goal and seemingly no danger to the defence he turns on a sixpence, that’s about £1 in today’s transfer market, beats his man with brute strength, side foots another then batters his way past a third and with the outside of his right foot curls it into the corner past the stranded keeper…….what a goal from a player who looks the real deal for us after several real deals have flattered to deceive and then left, 3-0.

By this time the lucky John Smiths had started to take affect and I must admit the rest of the game was played out in a haze of happiness. The fans, all stayed the give the lads a deserved ovation off the pitch, even waiting for the opponents to finish their warm down  so they too were clapped off the pitch having fully played their part in a great game, where on another day they could well have taken something away with them.

3-0 FT

For the second week on the trot the boys have played above and beyond expectation, I wasn’t sure how good we were or how bad Chatham were last week but this win against a very good footballing side will send out a great message to the rest of the teams in the league.

A better team performance you won’t find, with Bradshaw and LHO taking the plaudits rightly but not one Ites player put a foot wrong, Lordswood on Tuesday for our 15th consecutive home game, where sadly I’m told man of the match Jim Huggins will not be playing due to an injury possibly sustained by me dragging on his leg trying to stop him leaving.

MOM Dan Bradshaw, not only for the fact he works harder than a teenagers elbow, but also his mum is lovely on Twitter

Whitstable 1 Ites 0

Whitstable Town -v- Sheppey United (SCEFL Prem)

So a trip to one of my favourite towns Whitstable on a bank holiday, well the traffic put up the first obstacle, taking 90 mins to get there which resulted in the game being delayed by 30 mins to accommodate the travelling Ites.

A much changed team due to Saturday’s injuries to Ralphy, Kwasi and Luke Harvey meant Girty stepping back into the centre half position next to the colonel, the young loanee from Maidstone Cooper coming in at left back and Trey being recalled up front.

The first thing I saw was the terrible state of the pitch, which looked more uneven than Heather Macartneys sock draw, surely this wouldn’t lend itself to an attractive game from both teams I thought, well I didn’t have to worry about that as it became clear that Whitstable  had no intention of being dragged into any of that nice flowing football stuff when a good plain hoof was good enough, this would go some way to explaining the lack of seagulls in the area and also the lack of urgency to make the pitch  more hospitable.

So the aerial bombardment started, nothing to much to worry the defence marshalled superbly by the Colonel, their right back who put the ball in the box from every area of the pitch for the big lumps up front proving to be their only early threat and indeed it was Sheppey who created the best early chances, Remmell twisting and turning in the box leaving their defence more static than our sponsors clients and drew a tremendous save from their keeper. A couple of other half chances one to the lively Trey and it all looked rosy in the garden.

Cue the ref, a Polish national named Pieter xkjllitgmdski who clearly had been bullied as a kid, saw his chance  to stamp his mark on the  game and took it perfectly,  Remmell went for a challenge that looked innocuous only for the ref to stop play and give the dashing forward a straight red, Remmell understandably upset had to be “encouraged” to leave the field we were down to 10.

As the saying goes, sometimes it’s harder to beat 10 men than 11 and this looked like a wise old adage as the Ites dug in as the Oyster men  launched their versions of the scud missiles into the area, when they did manage to breach the defence they found Adam Highsted in formidable form and more vocal than our previous goalkeepers girlfriend.

0-0 HT

The second half continued as the first ended, Ites soaking up the pressure, Bradshaw and Trey busy trying to shut down the Howlitzer supply line from the back. The full backs, Brunt and Cooper both having superb games both of whom will probably need neck braces after today’s games, Cooper in particular who at 16 years old looks to have a wise head on such young beat his man , the only thing he did wrong all day was his choice of hairdresser. Still Sheppey tried to play their football, several times the pitch proving their undoing and if it wasn’t the pitch the refs increasingly erratic decisions threw another spanner in the works. Bradshaw did get the ball in the net but unfortunately it was via a punch that young Jordan would have been proud of, earning him a yellow.

As the pressure mounted the big lump up front got through one on one with the keeper who pulled off a point blank save that defied logic keeping us in the running. With that their somewhat vocal manager replaced the forward with new signing Wellford from Ashford who suprisingly is also a big old lump similar to the rest of their team, Wellfords first contribution was another one on one with Highsted who again pulled another blinding save out of the bag, it really bagan to look like nothing would beat him all day.

Cue the referee part 2, as the left back punted another hopeful ball up the park, the ref happened to be the only one who saw what we assume was a push by Hiccham ten yards outside the box with about two mins left, Whitstable loaded the box, for once the ball in was good and in the melee the ball sailed through the defence, and sat the keeper into the net much to the obvious delight of the team, their excitable manager and no doubt the ref. Ites looking dead n their feet still had time to try and get the equaliser, the impressive Mahoney whipping in a cross that eluded everyone, then Cooper, finding Furious, who flicked on to Trey who’s acrobatic effort went harmlessly past the post, all that remained was for the star of the show to draw an end to the show and we had lost 1-0.

0-1 FT

All the time we had 11 on the pitch we looked comfortable and for large parts of the game with 10 still held out, the spirit the lads showed was first class throughout, the keeper looks to be exactly what we need, vocal commanding and a great shot stopper who along with Jim Huggins was man of the match, Trey had what I thought was his best game, Brunt and Mahoney were also impressive, but it all comes down to the two decisions, which in my opinion were both wrong. That’s football but it still hurts but what was noticeable was the ovation the boys received after the game from the numerous travelling fans.

Ites 7, yes 7, Chatham 1

Sheppey United -v- Chatham Town (SCEFL Prem)

So I had my hotel booked and match ticket for Newcastle away but when the Chatham fixture came along I cancelled, wise move as it proved, shows I’ve got a touch of Doris Stokes about me, although that’s the nearest I’ll ever get to a medium.

So the return of Mr Hake the former Ites manager to the embalming stadium would certainly liven up the plaice and so it proved. The day started strangely when I walked in the pub to be greeted by the skipper, luckily he was injured rather than on the pre match razzle.

The guest DJ professional Northerner Martin Eaves was certainly banging out the tunes as the teams came out on a blisteringly hot day in front of a fairly sparse crowd of 223, Chatham suprised me by not playing in Vests and 3/4 length trousers would present a fair challenge to the Ites which just proves what I know about football.

Remmell and Luke Harvey Oswald were both restored to the starting eleven at the expense of the skipper and Trey, with Jack Mahoney replacing Timmy.

Ites came out of the blocks quicker than a robbers dog, first attack of the game up pops our own professional Northern Dan Bradshaw 1-0, by now the heat was getting to me having worn jeans a jumper and a snorkel Parker and I wondered if Sheppey could maintain this pace. They could and even increased the tempo, LHO who looked very strong all game then opening his Ites account 2-0 with barely ten minutes on the clock, surely we would settle for this, nope 5 minutes later, up pops the Shrewsbury shifter 3-0, the Paddock end were in raptures, well those that were suitably dressed were, I was still trying to prise my manhood off the inside of my leg where it had welded itself in sweat.

Not to be outdone, another great move, Girty threads the ball through the eye of a needle, LHO beats the rather poor offside trap and chips the keeper from the grassy knoll 4-0.

With the score at 4-0 I make the conscious decision to go home and get changed into my bikini, just as I turn round Luke Girt decides to pick his spot ( you know what youngsters are like) and side foot the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box 5-0.

5-0 HT

Second half could never quite live up to the first but Bradshaw was sure gong t give it a go, the pantomime villain George supplying the pass, Bradshaw legs it round the keeper slots into the empty net at the DSS end 6-0. By this time the Chatham defence were now bickering like an old married couple despite the fact they clearly hadn’t met each other before the game.

Another flowing move finds Bradshaw on the end of it 7-0, this couldn’t go on surely, it was time to ring the vets and have Chatham put out of their misery, and then came a show of benevolence, Chatham attempted their first attack, the ball fell between Tom Monty and the keeper, neither entirely committed themselves and the Chatham forward sneaked in for the consolation.

Still time after for the Shrewsbury shifter to miss his fourth, resulting in Ernie bringing him off, and Kawesi to pick up an injury but have to carry on due to our subs all being used.

7-1 FT

Despite the fact Bradshaw and LHO will get the plaudits, it was a great team performance, Tom Brunt deserving a mention for his intelligent distribution from right back.

The downside, injuries to LHO, Ralphy and Kawesi could prove costly in an already small squad.

Bank holiday Monday brings an away trip to Whitstable, surely we could carry on this form ?

Ites 0 Hastings 2 – FA Cup

Sheppey United -v- Hastings United (FA Cup Preliminary Round)

So the magic of the FA cup brought Hastings to the Embalming stadium, backed by a near 400 crowd including a fair few from Hastings, some looking like they’d actually fought in the original Battle of Hastings gave the day a nice spicy atmosphere.

With Luke Harvey Oswald unavailable it seemed logical that Remmell would just fit in up front in a 4-3-3, unfortunately it wasn’t that logical as Remmell missed his lift so we started with a 4-4-2 with the return of the colonel, Kwasi (I’ve got a hunch he’s going to do well for us) replacing man of the match Jim Huggins and Timmy back on the left.

The game started as a cagey affair, Hastings having the majority of the ball, they started carving a few half chances, the first of which saw or own playboy Ralphy pull off the biggest tackle I’ve seen since I found that old video under my mums bed to snuff out the threat, not to be outdone, the colonel then repeats the feat not once but twice which woke the Paddock up with cries of “You’ll never beat the Colonel” which not for the first time proved true.

At the other end Sheppey were trying to fashion their own chances, the Shrewsbury shifter chasing and harrying like a Jehovah’s witness, linking up well with Girty and the Pantomime villains pressing the midfield, it all looked promising, in fact Furious George was pressing the midfield that much the Ref showed his admiration by asking for Georges name after one such event.

Half time, honours even, the general consensus in the bar was that Hastings had been marginally better but both keepers were more unemployed than Stevie Wonders telescope.

0-0 HT

Ernie must have rustled his paper a bit loudly in the dressing room as the boys came out with more urgency, captain Batten driving the Ites on, and then came the ” Kennedy moment” Timmy found himself one on one with the centre half, his first touch was that bad it surprised the centre half who attempted to clear it but only succeeded in hitting it straight against Timmy who then reached the ball before the keeper giving him 3 choices

  1. A) Side foot it into the corner, giving the keeper no chance
  2. B) Round the keeper, making him look stupid and walk it into an empty net or
  3. C) None of the above

Well as you can guess Timmy chose C, the hero from the first round suddenly came back to earth quicker than Susan Boyle on a bungee rope was this our last chance gone ?

The wise old owls in the paddock were speculating that it would take something pretty special to win this game so as not to disappoint up popped their no.17 David Sonny who hit a peach of a shot that caught the wind and flew in the top corner of the net at the D.S.S stand end, a goal worthy enough to win any game to put Sonny’s side up.

To say the players looked gutted would be an understatement, the goal, against the run of play knocked the stuffing out of them but there’s a saying in football that you’re the most vulnerable straight after you have scored, this was proven to be absolute tripe as a few minutes after the first beauty up popped another one in the shape of no.10 Billy Medlock, who beat one, turned on his right and curled it round the keeper from 25 yards, 0-2.

Back came Sheppey on came Mahoney for Lyons, who had been quiet in the mane, the tireless Northerner not letting Hastings rest on their laurels disposing the left back, cut across the box with the shout of ” shoot” from the massed ranks of the great unwashed in the Botany end unselfishly squared the ball to Timmy who unselfishly blasted it so far over the bar the ball came down with snow on it. We’d run our race and the rest of the game was played out comfortably enough for Hastings.

0-2 FT

We played well, especially defensively, Girty is improving every week and aside the two great goals we looked comfortable against a team from a higher league with a bigger budget. If Timmy had brought his shooting boots we could be in the next round. To quote Ernie, after the game if we’d have won 2-1 they couldn’t have had any arguments.

So I’ve cancelled my holiday for May 19th (Sheppey had more chance of getting there than West Ham) and we can now concentrate on the league, local derby against Chatham next week just the game we need to get back to winning ways.

M.O.M Ralphy or the Colonel, there won’t be many better centre half pairings in this league.

 

I’d just like to wish Man of the match James Huggins all the best wherever he ends up, a great lad who will be sorely missed by the club and fans, hopefully we’ll see you back here soon