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Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v AFC Kempston Town and BC Reserves

Competition League - Division One
Result AFC Kempston Town and BC Reserves 1-3 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 26 November 2011
Kick Off 2.00pm
Attendance14

Match Report

Sandy travelled to Hillgrounds to take on the improving and hard to beat AFC Kempston Town and BC Reserves. With the pitch usually a tricky surface at the best of times, the weeks rainfall hadn't helped and it was still far from the best surface. The windy afternoon was always going to add some spice to the occassion as well and Sandy knew that they would have to work hard to cope with it.

Chris Nicholls returned to the starting line up ater his serious bout of Man Flu, and he replaced Rob Tapley (Hamstring) at the heart of the midfield with Craig Baker moving out to the right. Nathan Morris also returned to the 1st team squad.

Sandy started the contest well immediately pressuring the Home side into errors and Staf managed to rob the centre back of the ball on the edge of the box, however before he could get the ball out from under his feet the defender recovered to get a tackle in and retrieve the situation. This was to be a sign of things to come though as the visitors started the quicker and were on the Kempston players in a flash with Jennings, Baker and Nicholls winning the ball high up the pitch and then trying to slot Staf or Hammett through on goal.

Kempston were struggling to get out of their half as Sandy's defence covered the midfield well and mopped up anything that came their way. Richard Seldon was his usual marauding self and JJ and Beally formed a composed partnership at the heart of the defence heading everything away and not giving the strikers a sniff. Covered well by Shane Pope, Matt Evans was also able to influence the play up the field and was a constant source of torment for the home side. However it was Chris Nicholls who created the next best chance for Sandy as he found Hammett with a ball over the top, Hammett cut inside the defender onto his right foot, but scuffed the shot horribly and it rolled to the keeper. Sandy were playing nice football and the keeper was called into action shortly after as Seldon and Baker combined well down the right, for Baker to drill a cross in. Staf met the ball with a looping header, but the keeper tipped the ball over the bar when it would of dropped in.

It was only going to be a matter of time before Sandy scored and mid way thorugh the half they took the lead. Chris Nicholls found space in the middle of the park and played a cross field ball to Evans who nodded the ball down. Hammett gambled on the knock and took advantage of miscommunication between centre back and goalie to nip in and knock the ball past both players before tapping into the empty net. This goal bouyed the visitors and they poured forwards looking to try and create more chances. Staf managed to break away from the back line a couple of times, but either had his shot blocked or couldn't find the square pass to Hammett. Baker had a long range effort that sailed well over and then Chris Nicholls finished off a nice move with a rasping drive that just flew over.

Sandy were working hard and Kempston had failed to trouble Pally for the whole half but with 35 minutes gone an error by the visitors saw the home side draw level with a great goal. Kempston played a diagonal ball missing out the Sandy back line. Baker had two chances to clear the ball, but failed each time and the left winger capitalised to fire a speculative looping shot from 20 yards out that flew over Pally and dropped into the far corner leaving him with no chance. For a few moment this knocked the stuffing out of Sandy and Kempston enjoyed their best spell of the game. However Sandy stayed firm and the back line worked well marshalled by JJ as they again ensured that Pally was untroubled.

Then with seconds to go in the half Sandy thought they had the lead as Baker found Staf in the box. Staf turned well holding off his defender and then fired a shot towards the far corner. It took a slight deflection and Hammett moved in at the back post to ensure the ball went in, tapping it home. To the amazement of everyone though the linesman put his flag up for an apparent offside and subsequently the ref had to rule the perfectly good goal out, and Hammett picked up a yellow card for his protestations. The term blatant cheating sprung to mind, but Sandy were determined not to let this impact on their game. Half time 1-1.

Sandy knew that the next goal was going to be all important as they had the wind against them, and they again started the half well. Pressing the ball high up the pitch Staf again almost got in straight away but the ball just ran through to the keeper. However the visitors didn't have to wait long to take the lead as Hammett and Evans exchanged passes before Matt dinked a beautifull ball over the top, into Staf who fired his shot low and hard into the far corner to settle the visitors down.

Struggling with a hip injury Hammett then replaced himself with Charlie, as Sandy looked to kill the game off. The home side were always going to be a threat now that they had the wind behind them and were finding it easier to get the ball into the Sandy half. However they were again met with stoic resistance from the back four, and from Mark Jennings who was covering well in midfield. Baker was no having his best game on the right of midfield as he struggled to get involved, but early in th half he beat a couple of players to burst through. He tucked the ball off to Staf whose shot was blocked. However the ball almost broke to Baker for a tap in, but the defender recovered to clear the ball off the line.

This was to be Bakers last contribution as he was replaced by Olly Banfield on the right of the midfield. Matt Evans and Charlie were linking well down the left hand side and also Beally was deciding that it was time to make some Lucio like runs as well. He burst forwards playing the ball wide and then continued his run into the box. Matt Evans found him six yards out but instead of laying the ball back to Charlie who was screaming at him, he tried an audacious back heel that is usually only seen on FIFA 12 and the keeper saved easily. Sandy were still creating chances though and Charlie almost turned provider for a third as a lovely through ball found Staf, but he couldn't quite get away from the back four and a super last ditch tackle by the left back, denied the leagues top goalscorer the chance to add to his tally.

Charlie then had a free kick punched away by the keeper after it was won by Banfield who went on a mazy run and then Seward fired a powerful shot just wide from the edge of the box and having the ball teed up by Matt Evans. Sandy were the dominant force but they still needed that third goal to effectively kill off the tie. Chris Nicholls was working hard trying to pull the strings in midfield and although Sandy played some nice stuff it was difficult on the bobbly pitch.

As was to be expected the home side did put a small period of sustained pressure together and had a few throws near Sandy's box, however each one was cleared well and each subsequent cross was agin well defended. Anytime they did get near one of the defenders blocked the ball away or they fired a shot high and wide under pressure. Again it was a quality defensive perfomance from the whole Sandy team. Still though they needed that third goal and with 15 minutes to go Saf duely obliged. Charlie again released him down the left with a lovely through ball and Staf got away from the back four, cutting inside the last defender and then firing his shot powerfully past the Kempston keeper who was rooted to the spot such was the power behind it. It was no more than Sandy deserved and Staf then who had earned his rest was replaced by Nathan Morris who made his up front debut for the first team, having usually been in goal.

Sandy had chances to add a fourth as Olly Banfield escaped down the right using his pace to get past the defender he then crossed only to see the defender nip in fronnt of Matt Evans to then clear the danger. Banfield then had another chance to create as Seward released him again, but his pace took him into the box and his shot was blocked as it looked destined to be opening the Krackens account for the season. Morris also had the chance to make an instant impact, and his eyes lit up when the square ball found him, but he snatched at the shot which he said bobbled and it slice away from goal.

Morris was making a nuisance of himself though and he did almost pressure the back line into an error late on, but they recovered to clear. Richard Seldon was again enjoying the space and he continued to push forward and play crosses into the box. None of which could be converted. Sandy managed to calmly and composedly see the game out though to pick up their sixth league win on the bounce and cement their place as one of the promotion contenders this season before facing a tough run of fixtures in December. Man of the match was awarded to JJ who went about his work marshalling the back four splendidly and quietly going about his business, Beally even let him go up for a corner when Sandy were winning 3-1 who says miracles dont happen!. Final score 3-1.   

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
1. Daniel Stafford (7)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Matt Evans (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (8)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
11. Craig Baker (7)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)

Subs:

4. Charlie Seward (7)
13. Nathan Morris (7)
13. Olly Banfield (7)

Goal Scorers:

2 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Ian Hammett

Assists:

2 x Matt Evans
1 x Charlie Seward

Man of the Match:

8. John-Joe Pekszyc

Booked:

9. Ian Hammett

 

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