Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Biggleswade United Reserves

Competition Cup - Biggleswade Knock Out Cup Round 1
Result Biggleswade United Reserves 3-1 Sandy 1st Team
Date Wednesday 17 October 2012
Kick Off 7.45pm

Match Report

After a Saturday afternoon off, Sandy returned to action in the local Biggleswade Knock Out Cup Competition against hosts Biggleswade United Res. The Spartan South Midlands Res side were always going to prove to be tough opposition for the visiting side, but it was a good chance for manager Ian Hammett to rotate the team and give players some valuable time on the pitch to stake claims for future starting spots.

David Gill, Craig Baker, Olly Banfield, and Nathan Morris were all handed starts, John Joe Pekszyc returned from long term injury to take his place at the back and new summer signing Ryan Grant was given the number one shirt for the night making his debut for the club. This meant that regulars Chris Nicholls, Richard Seldon, Ryan Burgess and Mark Pallister had to be content with places on the bench.

Sandy also experimented with their formation with the new personnel and right from the outset it seemed to work very well. JJ, Beally and Wrenny formed a formidable triumvate at the back with Banfield and Pope given the unenviable role of wing backs for the evening against possibly the two quickest players in the world. The back five though were repelling every attack and winning a majority of the headers as Utd were forced to pump the ball long from the back.

Nathan Morris and Ian Hammett worked hard to stop the home side playing the ball out from the back into midfield and when they did, Baker, Gilly and Bailey mopped up well. Bailey was managing to find space to start counter attacks and Gilly was always on offer as the holding midfielder to break up play. Baker seemed to be relishing his role back in the middle of the park as he won vital flicks and took up some good positions off the front men to create problems.

The game was tight though through the opening exchanges with neither keeper tested although some nice football was being played. But on the 19th minute it was Sandy that found a breakthrough. Gilly won a free kick in the middle of the Utd half, giving Hammett the opportunity to deliver a dangerous ball. Wrenny won the header, guiding the ball back across goal to where Nathan Morris had pulled off his marker well to steer the ball home from close range. This was no more than Sandy deserved and it really rattled their hosts who came out firing.

A long range effort had Grant in the Sandy goal a little concerned as it swerved around horribly but a strong right paw, pushed the ball away from danger, and then he was equally relieved to see a couple of powerful close range efforts from set pieces fail to trouble the target. Beally made two fantastic last ditch challenges to stop breakaways and was horribly robbed of goalkicks but poor ref decisions. Utd could of had a pen as well after one such decision. Beally was adjudged to have fouled the player on the edge of the box when he clearly won the ball, but the ref gave a freekick, which was cleverly chipped into the box. JJ appeared to barge the player in the back and he fell theatrically to the floor but the ref waved play on much to Sandy's relief.

Pope and Banfield were playing out of their skins on the flanks trying to get up and down regularly in heavy conditions. Banfield had a little more success than Pope, but his final ball was lacking a little. Pope was making great tackles on his flying winger keeping him quiet for the most part in a performance that earned him man of the match. Finally though the home side did find an equaliser as they broke down the left and delivered a ball into the box. Wrenny just got caught unawares and Utd's giant forward leapt well, stealing a march on the Sandy defender to glance a header home off the post giving Grant no chance in the Sandy goal. It was the first header that Sandy had lost all game at the back. 1-1.

Sandy then suffered another blow as Nathan Morris had to be replaced after pulling his thigh muscle, It was disappointing or Yossi who had shown glimpses of getting back to his best. Ryan Burgess slotted in for him and worked hard from the off. It could of got worse before half time as Banfield was just caught on napping and his winger burst through outside him, but he dragged his shot wide just clipping the far upright. That being said the home side had only got in once down each flank and Sandy had defended very well. Half time of an even contest 1-1.

After a very positive display Sandy came out for the second half in a positive mood despite the rain beating down and the playing conditions becoming difficult for both sides. The half started very much in the same pattern as the 1st with both sides playing some nice football, but both defences on top and stopping the threat before it reached either goal.

Sandy were growing in confidence as well, with Gilly patrolling the middle of the park enabling Bailey and Baker to get up and support Hammett and Burgess. Burgess was growing more into the game as he got settled into an unfamiliar role and Banfield was finding energy down his flank to get forward.  

Biggleswade though were looking more threatening as their athleticism and mobility was starting to tell. They were winning possession and breaking well, and it was one such break that caught Sandy out on the 59th minute. The visitors gave the ball away in utd's half and the home aside broke with speed. moving the ball out to the right JJ tried to cover the cross, pulling his thigh in the process but could only deflect the cross, which just took it out of the reach of Beally and the Utd winger was on hand to bundle the ball home and give the home side the lead.

JJ immediately had to be replaced with Sandy switching to a 4-3-3 formation and Seldon slotted in at right back with Banfield pushing forwards and Burgess taking up a more familiar left wing position. Despite the switch Sandy settled quickly with Banfield looking dangerous and it was an exchange between him, Hammett and Seldon that created the next chance. Banners played the ball into Hammett who played a nice one two with Seldon who overlapped. Seldon then pulled the ball back across to Hammett, but in the wet conditions he could only guide his shot wide of the far post.

Sandy then made their final change as Gilly was replaced with Chris Nicholls to get fresh legs in the centre of the park. Banners was involved again shortly after as Hammett delivered a free kick into the box that was marginally too high for the Sandy winger, so although he had a free header he couldn't direct it goalwards.

Ryan Grant then made a good one on one save from utd's winger after for only the second time in the game he escaped Pope on the left, and then he was called into action again shortly after to deflect a spinning ball away for a corner. Sandy were a little more open as they switched to a 4-4-2 formation but were also looking like they may find an equaliser. Chris Nicholls was busy and Burgess was coming in off the flank starting some moves forward. Sandy just couldn't get in behind though. Bailey had a chance from the edge of the box but couldn't trouble the keeper and then Nicholls almost got on the end of a Hammett cross that was scuffed clear by Utd.

With the game ticking down an error at the back gave Utd a third goal as Seldon tried a dangerous cross pitch throw that was intercepted and Beally or Wrenny couldn't catch up leaving a one on one chance that the forward took well. The scoreline flattered Utd, as a close exciting game of football had been apparent throughout, however Sandy can be pleased with the performance and will hope to take this into their next tough league fixture at home to Elstow Abbey on Saturday. Final score 1-3 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

3. Shane Pope (9)
5. Andrew Wren (8)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
11. Craig Baker (8)
13. Nathan Morris (8)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
15. Daniel Bailey (8)
16. David Gill (8)
17. Phil Beall (9)


2. Richard Seldon (8)
7. Ryan Burgess (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Nathan Morris


1 x Andrew Wren

Man of the Match:

3. Shane Pope


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