Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Blunham Reserves

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-1 Blunham Reserves
Date Saturday 12 February 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy looked to extend their unbeaten league run to 8 games in a local derby against visitors Blunham Reserves. Blunham 1st team had no game, so it was no surprise to see a much changed side from their last encounter. Sandy knew it would be tough to maintain their record but also had no fear of the opposition due to to the strong performances that they had been putting in over recent weeks.

The match was very much a game of attrition as both teams battled to impose themselves on the other, and each experiencing periods of dominance throughout the first half. Sandy's settled defence coped really well with everything that Blunham threw at it with all five players looking assured. Matt Evans and Phil Beall made crucial blocks and tackles when the forwards threatened to break free, as well as heading every long ball away with authority. Richard Seldon and Shane Pope were also excelling in the full back positions, snuffing out any threat from the wingers and cutting out the long diagonal balls that Blunham looked to play.

Vallom and Nick Jones were pulling the strings in the Blunham midfield, but Mark Jennings and Rob Tapley were coping well with both JJ and Baker working well on the flanks, however when Sandy did get the ball they were struggling to do anything positive with it and at times their play broke down. Ian Hammett and Dan Stafford were battling hard with little joy up front, feeding on scraps for the most part although a couple of chances were created.

Baker had a shot from 20 yards that reached a top speed of 4 mph on the speed gun and trickled into the hands of Blunham keeper Ryan Lenihan when he should of slotted the ball through to Hammett on the right side. Phil Beall then had a couple of storming runs from the back that committed defenders, on both occassions he tried to release Staf, but the first pass was too hard and the second forcde Staf wide. Staf managed to keep the ball in play, but Beally failed to connect with his pull back and Blunham cleared. Baker and Hammett then combined down the left, allowing Hammett to whip in a cross into the box. Staf did his best to get on the end of the cross but he looped his header over under pressure from the defender. Hammett then had his only chance of the half when Rob Tapley cleverly slotted him through with a cheeky back heel, but Hammetts first time shot from 18 yards flew over the bar. Baker had a chance to make up for his tame shot earlier as he latched onto a through ball but because the ball was on his left peg, he opted to try a cross rather than a lob and Lenihan snaffled the ball up.

Mark Pallister was relatively untroubled in the Sandy goal as Blunham were reduced to longf range efforts for the most part, but he dealt with the corners and crosses well. Vallom rifled a few shots wide for the visitors, but both sides were to go in at the break even at 0-0.

The game was there for the taking from either side, and it looked like one of them could sneak it at anytime. Sandy started the half well pushing Blunham back into there own half and impsoing themselves on the visitors, but again failing to create any clear cut chances as the Blunham back line worked well to keep Staf and Hammett under control. Staf did threaten to break free a couple of times down the right flank, but both times his cross let him down wehn both Hammett and Baker were in the box.

Blunham then managed to win a succession of corners, one of which Valom whipped in dangerously to the back post but Pallister was aware to claw the ball away. Richard Seldon was also called into action at the back post as he headed a cross away and off the line to keep the scores level. Everybody on the Sandy team was working hard, but it was to be the visitors that took the lead against the run of play. Andrew Smith was released down the right hand side and he managed to escape for the first time in the game from Phil Beall. He turned and whipped in a dangerous cross that Pallister could only deflect away, unfortunately the ball feel to Vallom at the back post who slotted the ball home from a tight angle.

In previous games this goal would have destroyed Sandy's spirit but they responded well and immediately began to fight their way back into the game. Staf won a free kick on the edge of the box after being brought down, Stan Hobbs was booked but it wouldn't of been surprising if he had been shown red. Staf crashed the free kick against the wall, but Hammett retrieved the ball and whipped in a left foot cross that was just behind the forwards and cleared for a corner.

Rob Tapley then released Hammett down the right flank but again Hammets cross was cleared from a corner. Hammett swung in the corner which Staf met at the back post, but his header was cleared off the line at the back post. The Ref then awarded a goal kick much to the bemusement of the Sandy side. Sandy were pressing and Ryan Lenihan almost let them back into the game as he fumbled a ball on the edge of the area although Hammett couldn't quite capitilise and toe poke the ball to Staf. Sandy were again looking the better side but with Rob struggling in centre midfield because of flu they were forced into a change. Luke Morgan came on at the back and Matt Evans who was having a stormer pushed into midfield.

Blunham reminded Sandy how dangerous they were as Smith fired a shot just wide from 20 yards and Mark Pallister was forced into two smart saves from Vallom as well. With ten minutes to go it was Ian Hammett who equalised for the home side. Baker flicked the ball to Staf who played the ball through to Hammett who miraculously had stayed onside. Hammett then slotted the ball calmly past Lenihan to equalise. This started a frantic last ten minutes as the home side stormed forwards looking for the winner. Staf had two goal bound shots blocked and Hammett won a succession of corners as they bombarded the visitors box. The ball just wouldn't fall to a Sandy player though and Blunham managed somehow to survive the onslaught to hang on for a point.

Sandy kept their unbeaten run in tact extending it to eight games without defeat in the league, and they kept up their record of win, draw, win, draw. Final Score 1-1.



Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

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


2. Luke Morgan (7)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Ian Hammett


1 x Daniel Stafford

Man of the Match:

3. Matt Evans


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