Today’s choice was a no brainer, for any non league football fan in Kent! The 1st v 2nd clash from the top of the Southern Counties East Football League, Premier Division looked likely to be a high energy, goal rich, end to end battle.
Chatham Town close behind Sheppey and Glebe, in third place, but with two games in hand on Glebe, were away at bottom placed Tower Hamlets and would be waiting eagerly to see the result and hoping to close the gap. Glebe lost to Welling Town in a shock result in the week and came into this game really needing to win.
There was a decent non league crowd of 454 in for this huge game. Sheppey United had collected for a community food bank, and there was a real pre Christmas atmosphere. The facilities at Sheppey are really impressive and the bar and refreshment stands were doing a good trade.
Sheppey United’s team showed that top scorer and captain, Jack Midson was in the starting team, with eleven goals from eleven league games. More surprising was the dropping of, the recent high goal scoring, Taurean Roberts.
Glebe had their top scorer Jamie Philpott, in the starting line up, with a record of 22 goals from 16 games. Glebe took to the pitch in their all sky blue strip, while Sheppey United wore red and white striped shirts with black shorts.
As the teams came out to FatBoy Slim’s “Right Here Right Now” the importance of the game was not lost on anyone.
As early as seven minutes a cross from the left for Glebe was headed home by their talisman, Jamie Philpott, to stun the home fans and put Glebe 0-1 up.
On 26 minutes Glebe made it 0-2 when Ryan King-Elliot was set up on the edge of the area and drilled it home. Sheppey United heads really fell and you could sense Glebe were moving the game up a gear.
In the 45th minute the game looked to be finished before the break had even happened, as Philpott scored his second of the game and24th of the season, as well as Glebe’s third of the game, to make it 0-3.
After the break Sheppey seemed to emerge with increased confidence. While Glebe still looked sharp on the break, Sheppey began to dominate possession. On 53 minutes Liam Gillies ran in from the right to side foot the ball past Billy Johnson, in the Glebe goal, pulling a goal back for Sheppey, to create a faint glimmer of hope.
In the 61st minute Sheppey won a corner which led to Ashley Sains jabbing the ball home to put Sheppey just a goal behind, going into the final third.
In the 79th minute Jefferson Aibangbee levelled for Sheppey United at 3-3 with a fine header. The crow erupted and the contrast between both halves seemed complete with Sheppey’s second half performance matching Glebe’s three goal mauling, from the first half.
Despite both sides having chances to win the game it ended with scores level. At the final whistle, the fans knew they had seen a courageous battle, which was fully deserving of the top two match rating.