Saltdean United FA Cup tie brings a roller-coaster of excitement, says Sheppey United assistant Marcel Nimani

Thursday 19th August 2021

SHEPPEY UNITED assistant manager Marcel Nimani says he is expecting a roller-coaster FA Cup home tie against unbeaten Saltdean United on Saturday.

Ernie Batten’s side are in second-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table having collected three wins and a draw from their opening four games.

However, they are a couple of points behind surprise package Erith & Belvedere at this early stage into the season.

Attention now turns to The FA Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday when Saltdean United visit Holm Park.

The Sussex outfit sit proudly at the top of the Southern Combination Premier Division with four wins out of four.

They have beaten AFC Uckfield Town (3-0), Hassocks (6-0), East Preston (3-2) and Newhaven (3-1).

Saltdean United beat Frimley Green 4-0 at the first hurdle of The FA Cup, while Sheppey United came away from Barnehurst with a 4-1 win over their league rivals Tower Hamlets.

The Ites have beaten Tunbridge Wells (3-1), came away from Ashford-based side Kennington with a 3-3 draw, before coming away with maximum points by beating Fisher (1-0) and Punjab United (3-1).

“A credible congratulations to Saltdean United, who have made an incredible start to their season with an impressive 100% winning record,” said Nimani.

“This is clearly going to be a muscle-flex contest between the two rival Step Five leagues.

“We are expecting and prepared for an opponent who we predict will be organised defensively with free-flow scoring attributes going forward, their results demonstrate just that.

“To some extent, it is a shame that we have met so early in the competition, as it does mean that one of us will exit the competition at an early stage.

“From a coaching perspective, it’s always a nightmare trying to prepare against a side which you do not know much about.

“However, from a spectating point of view, that’s what brings the magic to the Cup.

“The unknown, the enigma often sparks adrenaline moments or even whole games into a roller-coaster of excitement.

“We go into this game modestly confident. We have a new side this year and game by game the new recruits are settling.  This has also become apparent in the performances, as we are noticing the application is becoming more and more efficient.

“We’ve had a challenging start to the season, with three out of four league games being played away, as well as the earlier round of the Cup being away to Tower Hamlets.

“It is great to get back to our own ground with a home draw. Having said that, we have a squad in which nearly half of the team have only played one home game for the club, so I am not sure how much of an advantage it will be to us on Saturday.”

Sheppey United reached The FA Cup Third Qualifying Round last season, losing 3-1 at Vanarama National League South side Eastbourne Borough last November.  Sadly, the game was played behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Sheppey United statement on Friday lunchtime:

"Due to a Covid case within the Saltdean United team, they cannot fulfil tomorrow's fixture and therefore we have to unfortunately cancel the fixture.

"By default, Sheppey United progress to the next round and details about refunds will be advised in due course."

Visit Sheppey United’s website:

Sheppey United  P-P  Saltdean United
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 21 August 2021
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Holm Park, Queenborough Road, Halfway, Sheerness, Kent ME12 3DB