Tuesday 8th June
Sheppey United 1-1 Chatham Town
The Bauvill Stadium
Match Report from Simon Baker & Jack Hayman for Non League Chronicles.
Technically this was a Sheppey home game, although it was taking place in the now extremely familiar surroundings of the Bauvill, with the Ites currently in the process of laying a 4g pitch which will connect them even more strongly with the local community, as it has done with the Chats.
Tonight, both teams had to settle for a point a piece in a hotly contested game played out on a balmy summers evening in front a bumper crowd of 675.
The utter madness of this Cup was beautifully summed us as these sides met 10 days ago and played out a 4-4 draw in a cardiac arrest inducing game.
After an entertaining but goal shy opening 20 minutes former Dartford winger Ryan Hayes gave the ‘away’ side the lead squeezing the ball inside the near post with a composed finish after cutting in and beating his man.
Sheppey nearly mustered an immediate riposte with Warren Mfula volleying a cross from the right hand side over the bar from close range and into the top of the terrace behind the goal where friend of The Chronicles Jim McLean was delighted to get a touch and not spill his pint.
Jordan Robins was busy in the middle of the park throughout for the ‘visitors’ and he flashed a drive at goal from 20 yards that required the keepers fingertips to help it on its way.
Chatham were really turning the screw as time ticked on and Dan Bradshaw headed just wide of the mark after an excellent cross from the left wing found him 6 yards out a rare miss from the usually deadly marksman.
Talismanic Chats skipper Jack Evans (The foreman of the team if you like) nearly added a second on the stroke of half time with the last attempt of the half – his angled shot across the face goal just one step beyond the forward line who needed to get a touch to sneak it in.
The Chats picked up very much where they left off after the break and Dan Bradshaw found himself one on one after a great lofted through ball found him, unfortunately he then repeated Mfula’s trick from the first half and lashed the ball into the crowded terrace behind the goal.
It was at this point that Sheppey punished Chatham for their lack of a second goal. A clever corner routine was worked into Warren Mfula and the former Cray Valley Paper Mills frontman levelled the scores with a superb acrobatic effort to send the ‘Home’ fans into a frenzy. 1-1 with 52 minutes on the clock.
The game was certainly entertaining but neither side could break each other down. It was like the unstoppable force meets the immovable object with both sides playing some good football amongst a flurry of second half changes (Brown, Orji, Deja Vu etc).
The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was 4 minutes from time when Mfula got away from The Chats back line but could only flash an effort across the face of goal and agonisingly wide of the far post. Not a finish he’ll look back on with pride but his overall performance won’t cause him embarrassment as he played very well.
A score draw and probably a fair result played against a back drop of a crowd that hustled and bustled. A good evenings entertainment with some top players on show, not bad for a fiver – you don’t need to be a baggy-trousersed philanthropist to afford a good night out in the Medway!
Main Photo Credit: Marc Richards – Gallery
Match Highlights – RYG