Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Bedford Sports Athletic

Competition Cup - Centenary Cup 1st Round
Result Bedford Sports Athletic 2-1 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 02 January 2010
Kick Off 1.45pm

Match Report

On a wintery afternoon Sandy's 1st round Centenary cup tie managed to beat the frost that put pay to several other fixtures so that they could make the short journey to Cople to take on a Bedford SA side that they had beaten on home soil in their last league fixture. Unfortunately for Sandy it was an afternoon that they would like to forget as despite dominating possession and territory for large periods of the game they failed to take advantage of their chance to progress in the cup.

Sandy started the game well, and were quick to settle into some neat passing football. Chris Baines and Mark Jennings once again dominated the middle of the park much like they had against the same opposition before Christmas, and it was Baines who fired the first warning shot, but his long range effort went wide.

Phil Beall and Andrew Wren were working well together to try and snuff out the Beds SA attacks and they were called into action ten minutes in when the Beds SA right winger escaped down the flank and cut inside, Wren closed him down and then Beall cut out the dangerous cross field ball with two players behind him waiting to pounce on any error.

Sandy enjoyed large spells of possesion throughout the first half, but real chances were few and far between as they failed to find the killer ball. Sam James had a long range effort well saved by the Beds SA Keeper, and drilled another effort just wide after a good run into the opposition box. Alex Baker and Ian Hammett also had long range efforts comfortably saved by the keeper. Hammett also had a half chance as he latched onto a through ball from Chris Baines, unfortunately the pass dragged him wide and his cross/shot was parried by the keeper, but luckily for Beds SA it failed to fall to Sam James who would have had the simplest of tap ins and the defence cleared.

Beds SA were looking dangerous on the counter attack and Mark Pallister was called into action to save well at his near post thirty minutes in. It was shortly after this save that Sandy took the lead in controversial style. after some neat play between Shane Pope, Ian Hammett and Sam James Alex Baker was released down the inside left channel, he turned his defender well on the edge of the box and was brought down, earning what Sandy thought was a free kick in an excellent position. To everyones surprise the Referee awarded a penalty to Sandy, which Andrew Wren took and scored, only for the ref to order a retake due to players encroaching into the box. Wren scored again with the second attempt and Sandy led 1 - 0. Straight from the kick off though it all went wrong, as Beds Sa ran straight through the middle of the Sandy side, without challenge and three passes later there right winger rifled an unstoppable shot past Pallister in the Sandy goal.

Sandy struggled to recover from this blow, and some last ditch defending by Phil Beall kept Sandy in it. That being said Hammett should have given Sandy the lead on 45minutes when Brad Smith floated a lovely cross to the back post, and Hammett found all the space he needed but somehow headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Half time 1 - 1.

Sandy felt that they had every chance of winning the tie, but Bedford started the second half strongly. They won a succession of corners early in the half, and it was only goal line clearances from Shane Pope, Andrew Wren, and Alex Baker that kept the scores level. Mark Pallister also made a fantastic one handed save 10 minutes into the half, to tip over a thuderous effort from the Beds SA forward.  Sandy were under immense pressure as they failed to hold onto the ball and Beds SA grew in confidence.

Twenty minutes into the half Beds SA looked the most likely to take the tie, as Sandy were reduced to nothing more than long range efforts from Sam James, and Chris Baines to try and test the keeper. Ian Hammett did mange to break the offside trap on one occasion as he latched onto a ball from Brad Smith, but he shot tamely straight at the keeper when he should have done better. Mark Jennings then headed wide from a Baines corner that was quickly taken and well worked.

Finally with 15 minutes left, Beds SA got the goal that they had threatened as surprise, surprise it came from a corner. the ball was only half cleared, and fell to a player at he back post, his tame shot looked to be going wide, and was left by both Sandy players on the post, but to their horror the ball hit the inside of the post and spun across the line. Sandy tried to clear the ball off the line by to no avail as the referee awarded the goal. 

This did seem to spark Sandy back into life, and they did have the ball in the net with 10 minutes to go. Iain Alderson slid to try and get to a through ball before keeper and defender, and the ball rebounded to Hammett who slotted the ball into the empty net only for the goal to be disallowed as Alderson was adjudged to have fouled he keeper in the process. Ian Hammett then had another chance to level the tie with 5 minutes to go as Chris Baines found him free in the box, but his curling right foot shot sailed just over the bar.

Sandy were making the pressure tell and were awarded a succession of corners as they searched for the equaliser. They had a decent penalty shout turned down as Ian Hammett was sandwiched between two players when going for a header and then from the resulting corner the ball fell to Hammett's feet with his back to goal he tried to tee up Andrew Wren from 5 yards out, but Wren's effort was blocked as was the rebound.

Phil Beall then headed wide from another attack as Sandy threw everything at Bedford. However Sandy were left to rue missed chances and defensive errors yet again as they failed to find the goal they needed to take the tie into extra time. Manage Daniel Bailey will hope that his team quickly rediscover their form for the rest of the league campaign otherwise it could be a tough start to 2010. Full time Sandy 1, Beds SA 2.

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (7)
2. Richard Seldon (7)
3. Shane Pope (7)
4. Mark Jennings (7)
5. Andrew Wren (7)
5. Brad Smith (6)
8. Sam James (6)
9. Ian Hammett (6)
15. Chris Baines (7)
17. Phil Beall (8)
38. Alex Baker (7)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Andrew Wren


1 x Alex Baker

Man of the Match:

17. Phil Beall


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