Post Lockdown Tournament Final
Chatham Town 2-2 Sheppey United
(Chatham win 8-7 on pens)
24th June 2021
Match Report from Charlie Bradford for ‘Non League Chronicles’
There is no denying it – The Post Lockdown Medway Cup has been a fabulous success with plenty of goals to keep the football enthusiasts entertained, with fans flocking to Lordswood, Chatham, Punjab and Rochester in their hundreds to get their football fix in a stop-start season.
Last night was no different as a magnificent crowd of 1,087 ascended on The Bavuill for the final of the tournament between two of the biggest hitters in the SCEFL in Chatham Town and Sheppey United. A crowd so big that kick off had to be delayed from 7:45 PM to 8 PM to get everyone in the ground for kick off.
As the home team it was Chatham who took the game to their visitors and they could have taken the lead in the ninth minute when Harvey Brown curled a shot towards the top left-hand corner to which Sheppey’s goalkeeper saved over the top of the bar. The resulting corner eventually fell at the feet of Luke Rooney but his fierce shot ended up over the crossbar.
Sheppey went close themselves with two good chances in response. The first of these was a header by Billy Bennett from a corner which had to be scrambled away from Chatham’s goalmouth, with the second chance falling the way of Jack Midson who brought down a cross but Chats’ goalkeeper Henry Newcombe stood tall and firm to block his shot from close range.
Similar to Jack Midson’s chance for Sheppey, Chatham had an opportunity on the half hour mark when Dan Bradshaw got played through one on one but saw Sheppey’s goalkeeper close him down to block his shot.
The best chance of the first half came the way of Sheppey in the 40th minute when their Sami Meziane hit the crossbar following a cross from the left, to which Chatham responded to two minutes later when Luke Rooney bent an effort towards goal from the edge of the box which Sheppey’s custodian did well to tip wide.
The 55th minute saw the deadlock broken in the game when a low Chatham cross from the right was mis-kicked by Sheppey’s Corey Holder who sliced the ball into his own net in an unfortunate own goal to send the Chatham faithful on the terrace behind the goal into raptures!
In a second half which rather saw both teams cancel each other out and struggle to create opportunities, Sheppey got an equaliser in the 79th minute when they were awarded a penalty when Renford Tenyue got tripped in the box. Jack Midson stepped up and made no mistake, coolly tucking away the spot kick.
Sheppey could have perhaps won the tournament in the sixth minute of second half stoppage time when their Lex Allan flicked a free kick towards goal to which Henry Newcombe did magnificently well to tip the ball over his crossbar.
Seven minutes into extra time and Chatham re-took the lead when a low delivery from the right found Dan Bradshaw six yards out and ‘Mr Tap In’ bagged himself another goal with a neat finish at the front post which received a big roar of approval from the Chats faithful.
HT in ET: 2-1.
With Chatham looking like they were going to hold on and win the tournament, Sheppey had other ideas as they got an equaliser in the 117th minute when a corner from the right caused havoc and Warren Mfula poked an effort towards goal which rattled the underside of the bar before crossing the line meaning the tournament would be decided by the lottery that is penalties.
FT in ET: 2-2.
With Chatham going first and with both teams scoring their first two penalties, Chatham missed their third when Reece Butler skied his effort off target. However, he was given a reprieve when Henry Newcombe saved Sheppey’s fourth penalty, from Michael Hagan, down to his right, meaning the scores were locked at 3-3 after four penalties each, making for sudden death.
With both teams continuing to hit the back of the net, Chatham scored their ninth penalty to make the score 8-7, meaning the pressure was on Warren Mfula to keep Sheppey’s hopes alive but he saw his penalty well saved by Henry Newcombe to send the Chats fans behind the goal home happy.
Pens: 8-7 and a cracking final for a fiver.
MOTM: Henry Newcombe (Chatham Town) for making some key saves in the game including two penalties in the shootout. A shout out also to Jordy Robins who played well for Chatham in midfield.
Main Photo: Kent Non League Podcast