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Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten pleased to see his side beat Bearsted after defeat to Southern Counties East Premier Division title rivals Chatham Town


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Ernie Batten says it was vital Sheppey got back to winning ways on Saturday to keep the pressure on Southern Counties East leaders Chatham.

The promotion-chasing Ites had started the year with a 2-0 defeat to rivals Chats but they responded well, beating Bearsted 3-0.

Sheppey celebrate Billy Bennett's goal during their 3-0 win at Holm Park over Bearsted on Saturday. Picture: Marc Richards
Sheppey celebrate Billy Bennett's goal during their 3-0 win at Holm Park over Bearsted on Saturday. Picture: Marc Richards

Player-of-the-match Billy Bennett led the way with a goal and two assists during their first competitive match at Holm Park in 2022, while Liam Gillies and Warren Mfula were also on target in the Premier Division contest.

Manager Batten said: “It was very important for us to bounce back quickly after the defeat at Chatham.

“If you have aspirations of being near the top, you need to bounce back quickly from any disappointments - and we did that. I think you are at your most vulnerable when you suffer a defeat.

“Although we had been on a great run, of course, it was always going to come to an end at some point.

“It was always going to be a test of character and it was very pleasing (to come through it).”

Sheppey's Renford Tenyue on the ball. Picture: Marc Richards
Sheppey's Renford Tenyue on the ball. Picture: Marc Richards

On midfielder Bennett’s display, Batten added: “Bill is a super player.

“I would say, last season, that he was exceptional in most games. This season, by his own standards, he has probably not reached those standards consistently.

“But with the way the lad works and trains, he is one of those players you need to hold back sometimes! At training, he is the first one out and the last one in.

“On the GPS statistics, he is generally first or second in terms of distance covered during most games.

“He has been great at Sheppey - long may it continue.”

A Bearsted defender can only watch on as the Ites score one of their three goals. Picture: Marc Richards
A Bearsted defender can only watch on as the Ites score one of their three goals. Picture: Marc Richards

The second-placed Ites face a big period in their campaign, hosting seventh-placed Crowborough this Saturday before they visit third-placed Glebe on Tuesday.

Sheppey and Glebe met at Holm Park only last month - drawing 3-3 in a thrilling encounter.

With Chatham’s match against Tower Hamlets last weekend postponed, Sheppey are four points behind the leaders with a game in hand.

Batten is looking forward to the challenge the next couple of matches will bring.

“It’s going to be a testing time for the squad but that’s why we have invested in a real squad,” he said.

Sean Muggeridge’s Crowborough have played more league fixtures than most this season and started the year with a 2-0 defeat at Fisher.

But Batten, who watched Crowborough’s Challenge Cup second-round tie against Greenways on Monday which they won 3-2 after extra-time, warned: “I know Sean Muggeridge quite well, he is a good manager.

“He has had a lot of money for squads and no money for squads but, each time, he has managed to develop them into a good team and I’m expecting an incredibly difficult game on Saturday.”

Ex-Leatherhead and Cray Valley defender David Ompreon came off the bench to make his Ites debut in the first period against Bearsted.

Batten, who is open to bringing in more players to bolster his squad, said: “Dave is a left-back who had been at Cray Valley.

“He has not had the minutes he would have expected this season but we are hoping he will be a big player with us.”

But leaving the club is Taurean Roberts, with Sheppey’s boss explaining: “He started the season well and then, unfortunately, he got Covid.

“I think he lost a little bit of fitness because of that. Taurean didn’t get back into the side and decided, due to that, he wanted to seek a different club.

“We wish him all the best.

"Hopefully he sorts a good move out.”

Michael Hagan has been struggling with a back problem but may train this week, while winger Malachi Hudson is suffering with a knee problem.

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