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Manager Ernie Batten refusing to get carried away as Sheppey move up to second in the Southern Counties East Premier Division table

Ernie Batten predicts Sheppey may need to wait another two months to find out exactly where they lie in the Southern Counties East title shake-up.

The Ites moved up to second in the table and to within four points of leaders Beckenham after a 7-1 victory against 14th-placed K Sports. Top scorer Dan Bradshaw helped to steer his side to success with a four-goal haul.

Sheppey manager Ernie Batten. Picture: Andy Jones
Sheppey manager Ernie Batten. Picture: Andy Jones

Saturday’s game in Cobdown was the only fixture in the Premier Division to survive the wet weather due to the 3G pitch at K Sports.

“I’m not a big fan of 3G pitches but they guarantee you a game and, of course, people can plan around that,” said Sheppey manager Batten.

“In that respect, they are good.

“It (Saturday’s match) did give us the chance to use one of our games in hand on the teams around us, as well, which allowed us to move up into second which is pleasing.

“But I have reminded the lads there is such a long way to go.”

Sheppey attack in their 7-1 success against K Sports on Saturday. Picture: Sean Aidan
Sheppey attack in their 7-1 success against K Sports on Saturday. Picture: Sean Aidan

With no Boxing Day fixtures being played in Southern Counties East, Sheppey will next be in action at fourth-placed Chatham this Saturday.

Batten added: “Saturday was our 18th (league) game and we have 38 to play, so we will reach the halfway point in the league season after the Chatham game.

“I think it will probably be mid-February before we get a feel for where we are at, that’s probably the case for most other teams, too.

“Beckenham were 12 or 14 points clear a few weeks ago, and now that gap is down to four, so that’s how quickly things can turn around.”

Having sat on the sidelines as Sheppey beat Erith & Belvedere 5-0 last time out, Bradshaw returned to the starting line-up in style, netting two goals in each half as he moved on to 24 league goals for the season.

Batten said: “Dan has been ill this week. He has had a sore chest, a bit of a chest infection.

“But he was fit enough to start which was pleasing for us because he is a major threat around the goal.”

Captain Harrison Carnegie, Danny Leonard and substitute Hicham Akhazzan were also on target for the Ites but Batten accepts the match was closer than the scoreline suggested.

He said: “It was 3-1 to us at half-time but I reminded the lads that, at 2-1, they had a one-on-one chance with our keeper Josh Pelling, and they had a little period in the game.

“It’s a difficult league and, on any given day, any side can beat any side in this league. I really believe that.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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