Match Date: 17 April 2017
In a game that was a very close affair right up until the final whistle maybe it was Bearsted that might have felt slightly aggrieved not to have come away with all three points. From the start Sheppey looked the side who might take control but during this opening period they were still not able to produce too much of a threat to the away defence and gradually with the real energy and pace in front of them they began to produce some scintillating passing play which was to very much put their opponents on the back foot. So much so that after 12 minutes they were to go in front, when following a Reece Collins run and pass across the penalty area found Lucien Scarlat who was able to thrash the ball into the net past home keeper Danny Warford. Two minutes later it was two when a Michael Holliday cross ball found Scarlet to set up Peter Williams to send the ball high into the net. Immediately after this strike the Ites could well have gone another goal down when an instinctive shot from 20 yards by Constantine Scarlet zipped over a back-peddling Warford and passing narrowly over the bar. With the Bears now looking rampant, intercepting loose passing and running at their opponents so time after time they looked likely to score and on one occasion Shep’s midfielder Danny Walder almost had the indignation of hitting the inside of his own post in his effort to deal one such threat. However unfortunately for them, the visitors were not able to produce the all important third goal likely to seal the game at this point. Although the home side were finding it difficult to get their game together it was Walder who was the one who at least was able to produce the sort of play likely to make this happen. So much so that as the clock ran down towards half time, it was a free kick from the left by Walder which was not dealt with well enough which allowed Richard Atkins to seize upon the ball to score from close range after 44 minutes, sending his side in for the break with added confidence to take into the second half.
As expected after the break the game saw far more movement and threats as they went in search of an equaliser and the dangerous runs down the left of Joshua Froggatt being of particular note. Although Bearsted continued to build on their play their attacks were becoming less frequent and needing to maintain their shape and relying heavily on a defence that at times required some brave defending on several occasions, but generally they were able to still keep the scoreline intact. In addition to this they had to be grateful to their goalkeeper Scott Andrews, producing a great save diving low to his left to save a goal bound effort skimming the surface from 30 yards from Ian Batten. However after 78 minutes came the equaliser when Lee Friend picked up on a loose clearance to run on and fire the ball through a pack of defenders and into the net. With the momentum of the game now favouring the hosts so they were now intent on winning the game and they were rewarded for their efforts in the 84 minute, when a free kick from the right by Froggatt incited some desperate defending, including a goal line clearance which ultimately fell to Joseph Fornah to send the ball back over the line and signal which might have been one of the biggest travesties of the season? However the Bears far from being downtrodden reacted magnificently, when two minutes later, a ball fed forward found Williams who in turn found Sam Flasher to run down the right to cross into the middle allowing Williams to send the return high into the net from a yard out. Instead of settling for this though Bearsted now found themselves fully on the front foot, during which time left Sheppey having to thank their keeper Warford for blocking three point blank efforts in injury time by Williams and Scarlett which allowed his side to ultimately share the spoils. In conclusion this most entertaining game had something for all supporters, and was a credit to both teams who have more than just survived and on this particular occasion were a credit to the higher league in which they have found themselves this season.
Team: S.Andrews, S.Flisher, A.Foster,G.Andrews, C.Croucher, M.Garner M.Holliday(C.Carcary) R.Collins (R.Golding) P.Williams, C.Scarlat L.Scarlat
Subs: J.Coppins, L.Hughes S.Sage