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.
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.
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.