Sheppard’s flock lead the Jacksons Premiership title race over holders JTC Jersey Wanderers by three points having only dropped two points all season, in a 2-2 home draw against rivals St Ouen.
Their cause has undoubtedly been assisted by the current dormant state of Jersey Bulls, many of whose players are dual-registered with St Paul’s, including goalkeeper Euan van der Vliet who has helped the club to go five games in a row without conceding a goal.
Meanwhile, Kieran Lester has been in prolific form up front in recent games, with Jay Giles, Jonny Le Quesne, Adam Trotter and Ruben Mendes also starring at one point or another.
This season has also seen the emergence of some talented teenagers in the first team who have come through the junior ranks. These include Sammy Sutcliffe, Daniel Burton and Olly Rivers. However, Sheppard has reserved his most praise for forward Luca Margaroli.
‘[Assistant manager] Mark [Freeman] and I have been delighted with how the season has gone,’ said Sheppard. ‘The attitude from all the players has been excellent and we’re delighted with how consistent everyone has been. We’ve rotated the team a lot and everyone has contributed.
‘Going forward we have played some great stuff and, for me, Luca Margaroli has been the player of the year so far. We’re half-way through the season and have a lot of difficult away games to come in the second half but everyone is up for it and looking forward to it. There’s a bit of an edge and all the players feel they have a point to prove after how last season ended.’
Rather strangely, St Paul’s now have only two more home league games out of their nine remaining fixtures, with the next four matches all on the road including tough assignments at Grouville and St Ouen. They then take on Wanderers at their home ground at Poor Close on 23 January, after which the destination of the title may well be decided already.