The Ites moved back into the play-off zone on Saturday, having beaten Three Bridges courtesy of a Jacob Lambert winner which saw the Ites leap over them in the league table.
An injury to goalkeeper Aiden Prall on Friday evening meant the Ites were all the sudden without one of their top performers – but step in Director of Football Matt Longhurst and the signing of former WBA keeper Beau Hudd was made minutes before the deadline to enable him the make his debut. There was also a start for James Bessey-Saldanha at right back, with Joe Ganiwa struck down by illness.
Naythan Bryson was the first keeper to be called into action, parrying a Dainkeh shot that Splatt couldnt get too quickly enough to convert home. Splatt then fired over on 16 mins after Hamill found him to the left of the 25 yard box.
A dissent booking on 22 minutes for Three Bridges’ Noel Leighton would then later cost him in the second half. Before that though, Morgan drilled wide on 25 minutes and a few minutes later the away side were shouting for a penalty – which was waved away by referee Steve Goldup, with protests from the dugout continuing, which had them warned.
On 42 minutes Connor Wilkins was booked for a foul just inside the Ites half – this again led to protests from Three Bridges, calling for a red card. Just before half-time, full-back Dan Ferreria was through one-on-one facing Hudd, but couldn’t convert, with his fall to the ground again raising claims for a penalty from the opposition. As tempers rose, Three Bridges Manager Jamie Crellin was shown a yellow card for dissent, and within seconds got a second yellow and his marching orders for speaking out of turn.
Half-time: Sheppey United 0 Three Bridges 0
The Ites continued to try and breakdown the resilience of the away sides backline, with Bessey-Saldanha firing over on 51 minutes, and the on 58 minutes Zach Dainkeh aimed wide from 30 yards.
Kicking the ball away on 60 minutes resulted in a second yellow card for Noel Leighton and an early shower. Against ten men the Ites pressed further up field with Richie Hamill unlucky not to score on 61 minutes – a rocket of a left footed shot from 25 yards striking the cross bar.
Hudd made a save on 65 minutes before the Ites finally broke the deadlock – Substitute Danny Léonard crossing for Jacob Lambert to nod home his 10th goal of the season.
The away side almost drew level from a comer on 85 minutes which then saw the Ites miss three good chances through Danny Leonard and D’Jean Spencer to increase the lead.
Full-time: Sheppey United 1 Three Bridges 0
ITES Line-up: Hudd, Bessey-Sa;danha, Morgan, Majoyegbe, Wilkins, Hamill, Taylor (Leonard 64′), Dainkeh, Lambert (Durowoju 89′), Bradshaw, Splatt (Spencer 77′)
Unused subs:, Tenyue, McCall
Goal: Lambert (Assisted by Leonard)
Supporters Man of the Match: Jacob Lambert
Report Lee Allen
Match Highlights (Filmed by RYG Sports Filming):