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