The Hoops became the latest team to suffer at the hands of Sheppey’s free-scoring attack on Saturday.
The Ites took their goal tally to 29 in the last six matches and they would have exceeded the 30-plus mark but for Deal’s man-of-the-match, goalkeeper James Tonkin, who produced a string of top-class saves.
But “Tonks” couldn’t prevent Danny Leonard from giving Sheppey the lead with just 16 minutes gone and Harrison Carnegie then doubled their lead on 38 minutes before Billy Munday raised the Hoops’ spirits with a great strike from outside the box little more than 60 seconds later.
Ben Chapman also went close as Deal looked poised to restrict the home side to a one-goal advantage at half-time but Dan Bradshaw, the league’s leading scorer, had other ideas. A Sheppey counter-attack ended with Bradshaw bagging his 23rd goal of the campaign just before the break, and within eight minutes of the restart Bradshaw struck again to leave the Hoops with a mountain to climb.
They did manage to find the Sheppey net once more on the hour mark through substitute Josh Maughan, but the Ites always looked capable of adding to their tally as well and it was Leonard who then grabbed centre stage with two more goals to complete his hat-trick.
Hoops’ head coach Steve King “tweeted” afterwards: “Beaten by the better side today, no complaints, onto Wednesday now.” That’s when Deal travel to play Snodland in the League Challenge Cup and they can perhaps draw some encouragement from the fact Sheppey put seven past Snodland in the Kent Senior Trophy last month.
Deal: Tonkin, Reeves, Penny, Scott (Maughan), Foster (Treadwell), Munday, Chapman, Murray, Coyne, Walsh, Robinson (Hark).