Sharpham United, a friendly football team originally formed by those living and working on the Sharpham Estate and playing in only their third competitive 11 a side match, comprehensively beat a resolute and determined Ide Green Rovers on Friday, May 11.
Nicknamed the Yellowhammers due to their striking yellow and black kit and their love of the endangered bird of the same name, Sharpham United play a brand of football not much seen today; competitive yet proudly friendly.
And in this match both traits were on display. In an 8pm kick off on the Exwick 3G synthetic pitch, early nerves were evident from both teams.
The experience from Ide of playing 11 a side over the years shone through with them getting the better of the early encounters.
However, where Ide’s possession came to little, Sharpham United were able to use their benefit of youth and exuberance to their advantage, Gornall testing the ‘keeper early on with a dipping strike from outside the area.
The Yellow Hammers soon found their rhythm under the fledgling yet confident captaincy of Obe Jones, who set the tone with strong running and high passion, scoring the first with 15 minutes played.
That goal settled the nerves, allowing the midfield pairing of Caballero and Grimshaw to get their foot on the ball and find the gaps, Pollard especially exploiting space down the right flank with his pace and tenacity and culminating in a delightful half-volley from 30 yards, only to be denied by the crossbar.
A score of 2-0 was guaranteed via a penalty for handball, confidently finished by Gornall, scoring the first of his four from the spot in a man of the match display.
That goal did spark the home team to life, and for the remainder of the first half United were on the back foot, with a defensive line sitting deep, and allowing wave upon wave of Ide attack.
The central defensive pairing of Kingma and Anstey stood strong, with fair yet solid tackles breaking up attacks and allowing breathing space. In the end, however, Ide dominance told, with a corner from the left met with a powerful header on the edge of the D forcing a goalline save only to rebound into the face of Rayen and in; own goal and 2-1 half time.
The break allowed United to make the substitutions to ensure every player gets at least half a match. The substitutions took a while to embed, with Ide taking full advantage and starting the second half, now played under full floodlights, as they finished the first.
They could have drawn level had Skuse, playing his first match in goal, not pulled off a stunning save to deny their striker when one on one.
This moment changed the momentum, and allowed United to regroup and realise a better balance.
Pushing Caballero further forward and swapping the left and right back gave an outlet up field, coupled with endless running from Caballero, Pollard and Jones. A dubious penalty brought Ide back in contention, but the result was never in doubt.
Gornall’s superior finishing quality proved the difference, the pick a delightful volley, via a cross from the right, picking out the top corner.
With the score 5-2 with 10 minutes to go the long time injured pairing of Ali and Gosling were given a run out to a raucous ovation.
Team manager Skuse said afterwards: “We are delighted to win in only our third outing. We are proud to play a friendly style of football, which seems to attract likeminded players.
“And where some clubs are struggling, we seem to be an attractive option – training late on a Wednesday allows family time, but still is popular with younger players – we have a very well balanced youth/experience ratio, we play to win, yet always have a smile on our faces at the end. And these occasional matches give us something to work towards.”
Sharpham United’s next outing is against Cornworthy Rovers on Thursday, May 31, 6.30pm kick off.