Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Bedford Hatters

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 2-2 Bedford Hatters
Date Saturday 15 January 2011
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Sandy produced a fantastic display of football at Bedford Road to stun their visitors the high flying Bedford Hatters and become only the second team all season to take points off of them. Coming into the game full of confidence and looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games Sandy gave undoubtedly their perfomance of the season so far and they earned a 2-2 draw which could have been so much better.

Ian Hammett made the bold move of sticking with the 4-4-2 formation that had served Sandy so well in recent weeks, and it was a decision he didn't regret. The home side took the game to the Hatters immediately from kick off, hustling and hurrying them into uncharacteristic mistakes and producing a disciplined display that had been asked of them. Dan Stafford and Ian Hammett pressed from the front giving the defence little time on the ball, thus allowing the midfield quartet of Baker, Jennings, Tapley and Pekszyc to win the ball readily on the first pass.

It was this pressure that gave Sandy the early lead. Stafford won the ball in the left channel, his pass found Hammett on the edge of the box, who layed the ball into the path of Tapley whose first time effort flew straight into the bottom corner leaving the Hatters keeper with no chance. The visitors were stunned and surprised and Sandy used this to their advantage tackling strongly all over the park and dominating play. It didn't take the Hatters long to equalise though as a following a corner Sandy failed to stay with their men and a cross from the right was headed home by their left back, leaving Pally in the Sandy goal with no chance.

Thanks to their new found confidence though Sandy didn't let this rattle them and for the remainder of the half were arguably the best side. They pressed on allowed to attack at will as their defence repelled every single attack that came their way. Seldon, Beall, Evans and Pope have grown in stature every week and this game proved who far they have come as a defensive unit as all four of them excelled. Ian Hammett should have given the home side the lead again on twenty five minutes as Dan Stafford found him on the edge of the box, but with the keeper advancing Hammett shot clipping the top of the bar. He then had another chance to make amends as he was released by Mark Jennings, but his shot was straight at the keeper who stood up well to narrow the angle. It was proving to not be his day as with the half drawing to a close his third effort beat the keeper only to be cleared by a defender.

Rob Tapley was giving a splendid performance at centre midfield in only his second game for the club, and alongside the ever present Mark Jennings they formed a formidable partnership. It was Tapley who released Stafford towards goal, only to see him brought down on the edge of the area. Hammett stepped up and curled the free kick just over the bar. Sandy were in the ascendency and it seemed it would only be a matter of time before they scored, but another chance didn't come before half time.

Phil Beall who had been outstanding the whole half was harshly adjudged to have fouled a Hatters player in the left back position and picked up a booking for petulance as he booted the ball away in frustration. Sandy defended the free kick well though as Mark Pallister caught the kick safely to ensure the dies went in level at half time 1-1.

Sandy knew that they mustn't throw away all of their hard work in the first half as they have done previously this season, but now this is a very different side with a very diffferent mentality. Starting the half Sandy again looked robust as they kept their shape well, Hatters had a couple of early chances, on from a corner that was defended well and the other from a free kick that Pally held well. With the wind against them, Sandy were aware of the threat of the all over the top and Matt Evans and Phil Beall were superb at heading everything away as was Mark Jennings when called upon. Hatters though did dominate the early exchanges and took the lead ten minutes into the half as a bal over the top in behind Shane Pope caught Sandy on the back foot and their forward finished well.

Sandy then lost Ian Hammett to injury, as Ben Wilks was handed his debut after signing in mid week. Sandy strated to get a foothold in the half and it wasn't long before they were level. Phil Beall threaded a through ball to Rob Tapley who ran at the Hatters defence, he then found Dan Stafford in the box who managed to squeeze the ball across the box to Ben Wilks who tapped into the empty net for his debut goal. Stafford was having another afternoon of being on the wrong end of goal line clearances. First he was released by Tapley down the inside left and he cut inside to see his shot blocked off the line, then with the game ticking down he rounded the keeper who forced him wide, but with his shot trickling towards goal the centre back recovered to slide the ball clear just in time. Stafford also had a long range effort from the edge of the box that flew over.

For the most part Sandy worked hard and didn't look like they would be beaten, however their were a few close moments. A last ditch tackle from Craig Baker in the box blocked one effort that then looped into the waiting arms of Pallister who was sitting on the floor at the time. Mark Jennings then cleared a goal bound effort ater Pally had come to punch the ball and miscued it slightly. Other than this though Sandy defended well and ended the game with a very creditable two all draw.

Manager Ian Hammett was exceedingly happy with the result, although slightly disappointed they didn't get the win they deserved. However Sandy finally proved that they are one of the better teams in this league, and with performances like this they shoudl be extending their unbeaten run for many more games. Final Score 2-2.

Subs not used: Luke Morgan and Tommy Simpson. 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

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

Goal Scorers:

1 x Rob Tapley


1 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

3. Matt Evans


17. Phil Beall


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