Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Baldock Town Reserves

Competition Friendly - Pre Season Friendly
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-2 Baldock Town Reserves
Date Saturday 13 August 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy stepped up their pre season preparation by entertaining Baldock Town Reserves at Bedford Road and certainly showed a much improved performance than they did at the same stage last year. Certainly based on the second half performance of the home side there are not many people who would argue that Sandy were more than unlucky to come away having registered a loss.

The home sides injury problems increased as Mark Pallister was missing due to a shoulder injury he sustained against Turvey, however Mark Jennings and Rob Tapley both came through 90 minutes and Charlie Seward also returned from a thigh injury for a 10 minute cameo at the end of the game. JJ was also absent as he was making himself look presentable for his 30th birthday party this evening and didn't have time to play (later it was discovered he had been busy paperclipping a pink sash in position for most of the day so it didn't look silly!). This however made Morgan very happy as it meant he got the nod to start at centre back. Matt Balls was called up for his first full senior game to replace the injured Pally.

Sandy knew that the visitors would try to dominate possession and straight from the off Baldock looked settled as they moved the ball around well and forced Sandy to chase. Initially Sandy coped well, but then Bladock took a very early lead after the home side were caught napping at the first corner of the game. Having won the first header the home side should of cleared, but the ball was headed home past Balls and Tappers on the line by a Baldock player who rose unchallenged. This wasn't exactly the start that the home side had hoped for, but they responded well and began to pick themselves up.

Worryingly Phil Beall landed awkwardly on his heel, and the struggled through the rest of the first half. However he was at his usual defensive best, making last ditch tackles and playing the ball out calmly under pressure. Shane Pope had to be replaced after ten minutes as he caught the ball straight in the family jewels at point blank range which took the wind out of his sails somewhat. Olly Banfield replaced him and put in a very solid performance.

Baldock certainly had the better of the first twenty minutes though and Matt Balls was required to make good saves on a couple of occassions. When a Baldock player was through one on one he stood tall and collected the lobbed effort and he also saved well from a tight angle tipping the ball away for a corner, which Sandy defended much better. As the game wore on Sandy established themselves more in the contest and started the flowing football that we have started to become accustomed with. Rob Tapley and Chris Nicholls were starting to find space and thread through balls through to Hammett and Stafford.  Staf almost broke free when put through by Tappers but the defender just blocked his shot as Staf appealled for a handball.

Mark Jennings then came close as he cut inside from a Matt Evans throw in held off thee people and then bent a left foot shot just wide of the post. Rob Tapley as well tried to equalise as he went on a mazy run going past four players before pulling his shot just wide. Sandy were now starting to compete with their high flying visitors and could well have been mistaken for the better side. some nice interplay between Ian Hammett and Matt Evans won a corner for the home side, that Beally could only just head wide under strong pressure. Another corner form Hammett in the box caused trouble but the Baldock keeper was strong and punched the ball away well when being challenged. Set pieces seemed to be when the home side where at their most dangerous, but they couldn't quite test the keeper.

As the half went on the back four looked more and more solid, as Luke Morgan had a strong performance at centre back, winning most balls in the air and clearing the ball well. Phil Beall struggled on through the half and Olly Banfield certainly kept the right winger quiet, Seldon was having his usual solid game at right back despite having been up for work at 3am... a true professional. Sandy stayed strong until the half and kept the scoreline at 1-0.

The visitors made some changes at half time apparently to man mark Rob Tapley, not sure that this worked too well as it was Sandy that dominated the second half throughout. Straight from the off Sandy pressured Baldock, keen to give them very little time on the ball and to win it back as soon as possible, this was causing Sandy to have much more of the ball in the Baldock half and was forcing them into several mistakes. Phil Beall had to come off at half time though as he was suffering from a condition called recruits heel??? an exciting demonstration was given at JJ's 30th birthday as to why its called that!! Beally was replaced by Matt Evans at the back with Olly moving to right midfield and Shane Pope coming back on at left back.

Sandy were playing some nice flowing football and it wasn't long before they started creating chances. Chris Nicholls cut inside and slotted a lovely through ball into Stafs path. Staf held off the defender and with the goal at his mercy he passed the ball round the keeper but just wide of the upright when he really should of scored. Staf was enjoying plenty of the ball in the second half as he dominated the Baldock full backs, and again he broke free afetr a lovely passing move from back to front. Mark Jennings played the ball in behind the full back and Staf bore down on the penalty area, however instead of squaring the ball to Hammett who would of had a tap in, he decided to shoot with the outside of his boot and the ball sailed wide.

Staf finally did draw the home side level after being released down the right hand side by Ian Hammett. Staf bore down on goal and with Tappers and Oly square he decided to slot the ball between the keepers legs and into the far corner. This was no less than the home side deserved as they had looked the stronger side for most of the half. Baldock were still playing some nice football with Sandy old boy Ben Wilks looking sharp up front, but he was well marshalled by Matt Evans and Luke Morgan.

Balls was having a solid second half in the Sandy goal too as he tipped another shot round the post and looked a bit more sure of himself coming out to sweep up through balls. Matt Evans had a chance to give Sandy the lead from a Hammett free kick, but he headed the ball over when unmarked. As Sandy were pressing for a goal it was them that conceeded as a couple of errors cost them. The ball was lost on the halfway line by Hammett and poked forwards to the Baldocks right winger. He found himself in acres of space as Shane Pope had been clearing the ball centrally. The winger attempted a cross but totally mishit it and the ball looped up and caught Balls out of position and he couldn't recover, being only able to palm the ball into the roof of the net.

Sandy responded well though and pressured the visitors. Ryan Gregory came on at right midfield and caused some problems delivering a couple of excellent crosses into the box that nobody attacked. Charlie Seward also came on for the last ten minutes and looked strong. The home side thought they should of had a penalty as Chris Nicholls was pulled down in the box after a nice exchange with Rob Tapley but the ref waved play on. Nicholls then created a chance for Staf but again he pulled his shot just wide. Seward then also fired an effort over the bar from th edge of the box.

The football in the second half had been much improved from Sandy, but they just couldn't find the break through that was needed to get the equaliser that they richly deserved. The defence looked solid with even Morgan stepping forward at times to try and influence the attack in Lucio style leading the crowd to even start chanting 'Beally who!!' as he watched on in frustration. Richard Seldon was also pushing forward but Baldock managed to hold on for a win, that wasn't reflective of the match. Manager Ian Hammett was disappointed that mistakes had cost the side, but compared to the result against the same opposition last season Sandy were much improved. Sandy will continue their pre season preparations on Weds with a home tie against Blunham. Final score 1-2. 


Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
3. Matt Evans (9)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
7. Rob Tapley (9)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


3. Ryan Gregory (8)
4. Charlie Seward (7)
13. Olly Banfield (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Daniel Stafford


1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

7. Rob Tapley


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