Match Date: 07 March 2017
As has been the case after recent seasons, this game started and continued throughout to be a very skilful and well contested affair. However it took Sheppey only 3 minutes to open the scoring, when a well struck free kick from the right, found its’ way through the home defence for Timmy Babbington to volley the ball home from close range. This particular event signalled the potential threat to Bearsted of being overrun by their opponent’s crisp play as they looked to settle and create chances of their own. This they eventually did when a Michael Holliday free kick from the edge of the box onto the head of Rob Lyall at the far post for him to see his effort pass narrowly wide. Very soon after, a left wing corner was not dealt with very well, the outcome seeing a goalmouth scramble which somehow prevented both Peter Williams and Reece Collins from toeing the ball over the line. With play now being in the balance so came further opportunities, one of which falling to Shep’s Arlie Desanges, in on goal only to be denied by home goalkeeper Scott Andrews just before half time.
Following the break, not long after, saw another great Andrews save this time denying the influential Babbington from adding his second of the evening. However Bearsted, now looking more dangerous with their wing raids down both flanks. They did then get an equaliser after 56 minutes when a Collins run and cross from the right, eluded away keeper Dean Warford, allowing Andy Irvine to force the ball over the line. At this point so play swung from end to end, seeing the visitors going close, testing the resolve of the home defence, notably when having to deal with several dangerous free kicks and yet again facing their nemesis goalkeeper Andrews. However responding in the other direction, Bearsted were able to inflict similar worries for their opponents, with the runs of Sam Flisher down the right causing particular concern for the back peddling Sheppey defenders, the result of which seeing a fierce goalbound drive by Irvine being blocked by Rob Saunders and some desperate goal mouth scrambles in keeping their goal intact. The real heartbreak though for Bearsted came a minute from time, when another Flisher cross found its’ way through a pack of defenders, which presented a golden opportunity to win the game for the arriving Irvine, only for him to send the ball onto the bar instead of finding the net. Although this was particularly disappointing for the Bears, who this season have suffered losing games in the last minute l, they can still find certain consolation from the fact that the final result was possibly the right one for this closely contested game.
Team: S.Andrews, S.Flisher, Foster, R.Lyall, S.Sage (R.Golding) M.Holliday, G.Andrews (C.Carcary) M.Garner, A.Irvine, R.Collins (O.Wells) P.Williams
Subs: L.Hughes, B.Donnelly