It’s our first year at this level so to finish sixth and get to the Challenge Cup Final, I think we’re more than satisfied. says Sheppey United boss Ernie Batten

Friday 05th May 2017

SHEPPEY UNITED manager Ernie Batten says foundations have to be put in place to bring league success to the club.

The club finished in sixth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after bagging 69 points from their 38 games after winning promotion from the Kent Invicta League as runners-up to Bearsted last season.

Ashford United claimed the league title with 92 points, where striker Shaun Welford claimed a club record 48 goals with a hat-trick in their 7-0 home thrashing of Rochester United on the final day.

Crowborough Athletic finished in second-place on 90 points, completing their campaign with a goal-less draw at Hollands & Blair.

“I think it’s been a very good season,” said Batten.

“We finished sixth and the chairman said to me at the start of the season, ‘avoid relegation!’

“It’s our first year at this level so to finish sixth and get to the Challenge Cup Final, I think we’re more than satisfied.”

Sheppey United won the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy last season after beating Ashford United on penalties after the game finished goal-less after 90 minutes.

Batten takes his side to Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead Stadium tomorrow to contest the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final.

Micky Collins has guided Sevenoaks Town to their highest ever finish of third-place and also enjoyed their longest ever run in The FA Cup, beating the likes of Horsham and Lewes before taking Chesham United all the way in the Second Qualifying Round, losing in a Replay.

“Really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a great game,” said Batten.

“Finals are one-off games and a great opportunity for us to win another trophy.

“I’m expecting it to be a real tough game. Sevenoaks are a good side.  You know that they’ve done extremely well this season. 

“I think that Micky Collins has done a good job there.  He has taken time to build that team over a few season’s and I think they play attractive football.   I think it will be a good footballing game tomorrow. We don’t know of any other way than to try to play and they with wingers so I think it could be a very entertaining game.”

Big things are expected of Sheppey United next season.

“I started next season about six weeks ago, so we’re planning for next year, of course, as most clubs are,” said Batten.

“We’re a progressive club. We want to improve next season but football’s a tough game.  It doesn’t mean to say you’ve done well one year that you’re going to repeat that.

“You have to start again and work hard and try to achieve your aims.

“Well I think expectations about the club and what we’re doing here are quite high.

“I think because of what’s been done at the club and the attendances averaging between 300-400 for home games, I think that draws a lot of attention to the club.

“We should be pushing on but if you’re going to do things right this has to be done over a period of time.  A lot of clubs have tried and it’s been proven this season by throwing a lot of money by trying to buy a title.

“Of course only one can be successful so I’d like to think that we’re building a club here and the playing side will follow but it’s a slow burner to do it right and to do it the right way, build foundations and get the right players, it takes time.”

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Sevenoaks Town  v  Sheppey United
Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final
Saturday 6th May 2017
Kick Off 2:00pm
at Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF