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Sheppey United take on Crowborough Athletic at Chatham Town in the final of the Challenge Cup

Sheppey have already completed a league double over Challenge Cup final opponents Crowborough but they won’t be complacent.

The Ites won 2-1 in East Sussex the last time the sides met in the league and that followed a 6-0 rout at Sheppey’s Holm Park. Assistant manager Marcel Nimani won’t be reading anything into either scoreline, however, ahead of the Challenge Cup final at Chatham’s Maidstone Road tomorrow (Monday, kick-off 1pm).

Sheppey management team Ernie Batten and assistant Marcel Nimani Picture: Paul Owen Richards
Sheppey management team Ernie Batten and assistant Marcel Nimani Picture: Paul Owen Richards

Nimani said: “If you look at it result-wise you would think that we are quite confident with the nature we beat them at home and we managed to beat them at their ground, but then you look at the detail of the game.

“At home they were quite unfortunate to go down to 10 men on our big pitch, that was always going to be tough for them and a big reason we won so comfortably at home.

“When you look at the game at their ground it was a very tight affair and we scored towards the end to get the winner.

“They are probably one of the better sides in the league. The second game we found it really difficult to play against them because they are a really good footballing side and we were very impressed with them. They have some very good young players, some good patterns of play and we will have to be in top form to get something out of it.”

It’s already been an historic campaign for The Ites, following up two Kent Senior Trophy final wins and a league title with another final. Completing a quadruple would be some achievement but Nimani insists they will be looking at it as just one more game.

He said: “The management team and the players are all driven just to win a game of football, that has been our drive throughout the season.

“For us, we turn up and win a game of football, that is what we are motivated by, to win a game of football. We have had a fantastic season together, we are looking to stretch the season for as long as possible and here we are with one more game to go.”

Sheppey will be followed in good numbers again on Monday as they look to claim more silverware. Nimani is glad they are giving such joy to those on the island.

“It was a team that was built to represent the island,” he said. “It matched my philosophy from my teaching background, I always want a project that has a meaning and Sheppey United Football Club has a meaning, it represents an island and everything was built around that identity.

“The way we have been welcomed, the third year for me here, it is incredible. The amount of support I receive, I have constant social media by the fans, they constantly send me messages. All the youth coaches messaged me Sunday and Monday, they tell me about their young players and who is ready to move on to the next level and most of the youth coaches are from the island so that is encouraging.

“I have had an incredible three years at Sheppey. Monday will be the icing on the cake if we get that fourth cup.”

It’s pay on the gate on Monday, adults £8, concessions £5 and £1 for under-11s.

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