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Sheppey thunderbolt, manager and his hat, keeper impresses with 12 saves against Walsall

Sheppey United scored a thunderbolt, their manager and his hat went viral, and keeper Aiden Prall impresses with 12 saves against Walsall.

The League Two side came back from a goal behind to reach the FA Cup Second Round with a 4-1 victory at non league opponents Sheppey United on Friday night.

James Bessey-Saldanha produced a spectacular strike from distance put the hosts ahead, with it being their only attempt of the first half.

Walsall however got an equaliser against Sheppey, who play four tiers below the Saddlers in the Isthmian League South East Division, when Douglas James-Taylor went on a clever run and neatly finished as Walsall dominated.

Tom Knowles then curled his effort into the back of the net from distance to put Walsall ahead for the first time before on-loan Motherwell midfielder Ross Tierney made it 3-1 with his first-time finish from inside the penalty area.

Isaac Hutchinson made it 4-1 after a scramble in the box, with the game approaching an end, but despite the scoreline, you have to credit Sheppey goalkeeper Aiden Prall, who impressed, some feeling he had been challenged unfairly for Hutchinson’s goal.

Overall, Walsall proved too much for the non league side, producing 39 of the 42 efforts at goal.

Sheppey manager Ernie Batten said via BBC Radio Kent:

“I’m very proud – we acquitted ourselves very well. It’s always difficult against a full-time professional team because the fitness levels are much higher. They move the ball quickly, move you around, and we were working extremely hard to keep them at bay. We had to take a lot of pressure towards the end of the game.

“In the first half we matched them over the park. James has been hitting the cows at the back of the field for most of the season this year. He’s struggled to find the target but wow – he made up for it with that one. It was a great goal. I thought, ‘That could go in.’ It hit the back of the net and gave us a great platform for the first half.

“They were always going to have a lot of the ball. We kept our shape and made sure we nullified them as much as possible. We were very good when the ball came into our box. Our two centre-halves, in particular, were very good, and it limited their number of clear chances. Aiden [Prall] showed how good he is tonight. The reaction of the fans was as if we’d won the game. They came in numbers and it’s been fantastic.”

Walsall head coach Mat Sadler said to BBC Radio WM:

“The team did exactly what we asked them to – and got the shock of their lives as well. It would have been easy for that to have been a catalyst for something that it never, ever needed to be. We’ve got a great group who take stuff on and are desperate to do well. The quality and athleticism proved the difference.

“I was really pleased with everything they did. They were extremely professional. I don’t like playing on [artificial pitches] because there’s always a worry around injuries. It’s funny that in the EFL we’re not allowed to play on it and then you get a game in this competition.

“In one of their games I watched in the build-up, two of their players came off with knee injuries in the first 10 minutes, so you’re panicking about that before the game.

“We had to weather them going 1-0 up. Their keeper did really well and had a fantastic game – fair play to him. On another night, probably a few more of [our efforts] go in. In the end, we were clinical and we made it the night it needed to be and should be, in terms of the gap between the teams. We look forward to who we get in the next round.”

Twitter users reacted to the Sheppey thunderbolt, manager and his hat, and keeper who impresses with 12 saves against Walsall…

@Walsallfantasti: Cheers for the great hospitality all your staff were excellent all night long very friendly and welcoming. Nice setup 👌 Hopefully, you have a good run in the league, and you push for promotion at the end of the season. Thank you 👍

@BradyWFC93: All the best for the season lads! Well played

@themill72: Great effort Sheppy, best of luck for the rest of the season

@DavidWeatherhe1: Nothing wrong with that. Well done to you all.

@JordHunt98: Well played lads hopefully see you in the first round again in the future

@LukeSmithhh: Fair play to you lot, put up a fight and that goal will hopefully be remembered at the club for a long time. Best of luck for the future!

@philwalsall: Well done lads your keeper had a cracking game he deserved man of the match

@escrickite: Enjoyed the game immensely – unlucky Sheppey you can walk down the street with your heads held high, hope this experience gives you a right lift in your league endeavours 👍👍 Great to see a flag with The Yorkshire Ites on it!!! Regards Mark, Escrick which is just south of York

@justin_thyme4: Brilliant effort. Well done. Hope you legacy lives on. Great for isthmian and Kent football. Very humble too. Great to see!

@jakobnorris_: Unlucky, JBS goal was class as well

@BensonDiseworth: Score flattered Walsall, played a great game of football all the best for rest of season 😊⚽️

@joelisginger: Some questionable decisions from the referee but what a first half that was. The levels showed in the second but every player can hold their heads high tonight. Only way is up! 👏🏻

@Non_League_Talk: Brilliant effort guys and a pleasure to witness that cup tie. You did everyone proud. Best of luck for the rest of the season

@JC_WFC: Looked a good keeper tbf. I’d imagine a few scouts will be taking another look at him.

@Percival1st: Well played and what a run.

@robertyates11: Sat back a bit to much unfortunately and allowed Walsall plenty of long range shots, Walsall very professional in the end. Great goal though, credit for getting that far and credit to the goalie who was amazing keeping the score down. 4th shouldn’t of counted to be fair.

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