Sheppard Leads the Way Forward

by John Fotinos

One noteworthy factor In Heidelberg United’s solid early season run has been the form of skipper Kaine Sheppard. The prolific goal scorer has enjoyed the captaincy during Adrian Zahra’s injury interrupted absence.

Sheppard has led the front line along with Josh Pin with renewed zest in 2024, with the high intensity game plan bringing out a strong desire to run, harass & chase down every ball. Along with his ability to drop into a deeper zone to pick up & distribute the ball forward with depth and precision, it has been a key factor in the team’s good fortunes so far.

Sheppard’s ability to close down was a key turning point in the 3-0 victory against a dangerous Green Gully at the Olympic Village on Friday night. Forcing a turn over through great pressure, Sheppard’s run in on goal was thwarted by a cynical challenge resulting in the send off of Green Gully’s Schrijver.

Despite the resultant free kick being blocked, it seemed just a matter of time before the waves of Heidelberg attacks would pay off, with the one man advantage beginning to overwhelm the visitors. Aidara the provider & Josh Pin on hand to power home a header from close range – the Bergers a goal and a man to the good.

Ben Collins, up from his defensive duties to supplement the attack from a corner kick, and the tall centre back bundles home a goal from an initial blocked attempt, and with a 2-0 lead shortly before the main break effectively took the game away from Gully. The Bergers wrapped it all up with a third goal midway through the second half – Pin pouncing on an errant back pass, feeding Sean Ellis a slide pass. Ellis, on as a second half substitute, coolly, calmly & with sublime finishing, took himself to second on the all time goals scorer tally for Heidelberg with his 65th goal – overtaking Jimmy Campbell, and with Gary Cole the only one ahead of him.


Ellis, along with Zahra, are the two sole wily veterans from the treble winners of 2017-2019 team, both still driving the squad through the next wave to succeed. And, what lies ahead after such a methodical win? A massive derby at Lakeside Stadium, taking on a high flying South Melbourne. No place for feint hearts in a top of the table encounter next Friday at 7:30pm.

Match Details: Round 4, Men’s NPL Heidelberg United 3 (Pin 25’, Collins37’, Ellis 69’) – 0 Green Gully