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Sheppey United scheduled to play Horndean on Thursday in Isthmian South East after two previous postponements

Sheppey United will be hoping it’s third time lucky as they prepare for another trip to Horndean.

The match at the Hampshire club’s Five Heads Park ground has twice been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch, the second of which was called off less than an hour until kick-off.

Sheppey’s Jerson Dos Santos celebrates the first of his two goals against Hythe on Monday Picture: Marc Richards
Sheppey’s Jerson Dos Santos celebrates the first of his two goals against Hythe on Monday Picture: Marc Richards

With rain forecast again leading up to Thursday night’s rearranged fixture, Sheppey have written to the league requesting an early decision if the pitch isn’t likely to be playable, after a wasted journey last time out.

Assistant boss Geoff Record said: “We felt very strongly about the last one as we felt that was playable - only just - but it was playable and we had a young referee who unfortunately wouldn’t listen to our opinion.

“We wanted it on, they wanted it on, we tried to talk him into giving it a go but he wouldn’t have it, that was very disappointing.

“The first time it got called off on a Saturday we were all on the coach and had just got to the other side of Maidstone at a pick-up point and had a call to say it was off and then the second one (on a Tuesday night) we were all at the ground and it was gone seven o’clock when it was called off.

“There must have been over 200 years of non-league semi-pro football experience among about eight people standing around the ref and if he had five years’ experience in football I would be shocked and he ignored all of us!

“It had rained hard as we got there, I am not saying it wasn’t wet, but it was no worse than when we played at Hythe in January. We felt strongly we could have started and finished that game but we got nowhere with that.

“We know the era is different and rules have changed and the referee was quoting health and safety to us, explaining some technical aspects, but I shudder to think of the individual costs to a lot of the lads on the day.

“Myself and Ernie left before 4pm and other lads had to make arrangements to get out of work, scattered around the place, it took us two hours and 40 minutes to get there. We have written to the league to ask for an early decision taken to stop everyone leaving work, then that would be fine, as it’s scheduled to rain. As a club we’ve asked the league and Horndean to get on it as early as they can.”

Sheppey on the ball during their 3-0 Easter Monday victory over Hythe Picture: Marc Richards
Sheppey on the ball during their 3-0 Easter Monday victory over Hythe Picture: Marc Richards

Isthmian South East table

Despite losing 3-1 at Phoenix Sports last Saturday, Sheppey will head into that game buoyed by Easter Monday’s 3-0 home win over Hythe Town in front of 916.

Jerson Dos Santos scored the opener on 29 minutes, with a fine turn and finish from the edge of the box, and added another later in the game after Connor Wilkins had doubled their advantage.

That win ended a five-game losing streak that had seen Sheppey fall out of the play-off hunt in Isthmian South East.

Record said: “We hadn’t been happy and to be fair, that was a brilliant performance, and anyone watching that would have enjoyed it.

“We played some good football, moved the ball around really well, created chances, got three goals and it was as good as we have been probably for a couple of months.”

It was a well-taken opener from Dos Santos to open the scoring - his first for the club.

Record said: “It was a good build-up that involved three or four passes prior to Connor getting hold of it in midfield, drove forward and found Jerson’s feet. There wasn’t a chance on the edge of the box, but Jers came up with a great turn and a slotted finish. I always like those with the side foot, a bit of pace, a lovely goal.”

Sheppey are due to host Ashford United on Saturday and hope their Easter Monday form can continue in their remaining fixtures.

“That is going to be our aim,” Record said. “We are a long way off fifth spot in the play-offs, but we will tick these games off and do our best to put on some good performances.

“Ashford will be a good game and they beat a good Herne Bay side on Monday.

“Alan Walker and Darren Hare have gone in there (as interim management) until the end of the season. They are both from mine and Ernie’s playing era, Alan Walker was a pro and managed top non-league clubs, and they have got lots of contacts. I am sure it won’t take them long to turn things around there.”

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