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.
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.
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.