Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Brickhill Tigers

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 2-2 Brickhill Tigers
Date Saturday 06 October 2012
Kick Off 4.45pm

Match Report

As part of Bedfordshire football leagues 'Hop', Sandy had an early evening kick off against Brickhill Tigers, formerly FC Meppershall in front of a record home crowd of 101 people. There had been the hope of over 150 spectators but this didn't quite materialise. However it was still a big occassion for the club as they looked to raise some much needed funds to put towards their development project.

Manager Ian Hammett had some tough decisions to make as he had 18 players available to use and so four were not included in the squad. Luke Morgan, Ryan Grant, Nathan Morris and Craig Baker were those to miss out and each will be looking to stake a claim for a place in the next game. Olly Banfield returned after a two week absence and Ryan Burgess and Daniel Bailey were handed starts after impressing off the bench against Henlow in the clubs last fixture. Hammett also kept faith with Chris Nicholls who didn't have the best of games last week but within a minute of the start he had paid his manager back in full.

Sandy started at a pace looking to impress the large crowd and show their visitors that they were in for a very tough afternoon. After playing the ball around at the back a long ball was played forwards and Dave Lenton won the intial header, before Daniel Bailey hassled the back four into a mistake, with the ball bouncing around on the edge Chris Nicholls let fly from twenty yards and the ball flew into the top corner leaving the Tigers keeper with no chance. 1-0 Sandy after just a minute of play and Brickhill were stunned. The hosts now bouyed by the early success now had their tails up and they pressed forwards forcing errors all over the park. Lenton, Jennings and Bailey were dominating the middle of the park and Burgess and Nicholls were excelling on the flanks. Burgess relished his chance from the start and ran hard at the Tigers full back causing him all sorts of problems, but it was a late move into the box rather than a run down the wing that gave Burgess Sandy's second goal on 14 minutes.

Mark Jennings played the ball forwards and strangely under pressure from Hammett and Lenton the centre back tried to head the ball back to his keeper. The effort was woefully short though and Lenton latched on and rounded the keeper, listening to the shout to square it he kept his composure and rolled the ball across the face of goal where Burgess popped up to tap the ball home for the hosts to double their lead. Sandy were rampant and so was Burgess as moments later he picked the ball up on the right and drove at the full back, beating him all ends up but just as he was about to deliver a great tackle came in and Sandy had their first corner. Hammett drilled the ball in and Beally rose highest although not getting a perfect connection he thought he had scored for the second week running only to see the Tigers keeper make a wonderful flying save to claw the ball out of being a certain goal. The tigers were lucky it wasn't 3-0. 

The visitors were offering little attacking threat from open play however they were looking dangerous from set pieces. Shane Pope was having a torrid time at left back against a tricky winger, but he was coping well. The winger was the same player who got Richard Seldon sent off last season and Pope seemed to be taking a liking to marking him tightly, leaving him on his backside on several occassions but this did mean that the Tigers could put the ball in the box regularly and ease their way into the contest. For the most part these were defended well as Beally and Wrenny dominated in the air. Pally had little to do except take goalkicks, although he did come and claim the odd cross under pressure. Defending stoically was giving Sandy the chance to break and they looked dangerous on the counter. Jennings found Hammett who was plowing a lone furrow up front and he flicked the ball on to Lenton who had overlapped. Lenton rounded the keeper, and he was forced a touch wide. This time he chose not to square the ball and tried to curl it into the back post, but just overhit it. Jennings then had a shot from range after some good play down the right, but he couldn't find the target and Daniel Bailey also tried his luck but didn't trouble the keeper.

Despite the dominance though Brickhill were trying to force their way into the game and when Pope conceeded another free kick, the home side could only clear it for a corner. This time they were made to pay though as three people missed the ball in the six yard box and it fell to the back post, Gillespie brought the ball down and then rifled it into the net to pull a goal back and leave Pally no chance. 2-1 with five minutes to go until half time. There had been warnings before this as both Jennings and Beally had made last ditch blocks when the Tigers threatened to breakthrough. This goal lifted the visitors and with seconds to go before half time they were given a golden opportunity as Pope brought down the winger inside the box and a Penalty was given by the ref without hesitation and Pope picked up a yellow.  Joe Price stepped up and sent Pally the wrong way bringing the scores all square. Thankfully for Sandy the half time whistle went straight away and they were given time to regroup after losing a two goal lead. Half time 2-2.

A response was needed and Sandy obliged straight from the outset as they re-established themselves as the dominant force in the contest. Nicholls and Bailey pressed winning the ball high up the pitch and Hammett worked well across the line pressurising the Tigers backline into hurried clearances which were mopped up easily by Sandy.

Banfield replaced Burgess on 60 minutes as after another excellent performance fresh legs were needed. Banners retunred to the side after two weeks out and immediately got involved with a little run down the right wing, nutmegging the full back and then delivering the ball into the box that didn't quite fall for Hammett at the back post. The home side were looking dangerous but they were finding the Tigers keeper in fine shot stopping form as first he denied Chris Nicholls from range after the winger made a burst from the left flank, cutting inside and firing towards the bottom corner. From the corner Beally then headed over from six yards as he couldn't get over the ball. Then Lenton had his best chance as the ball was played over the top for Hammett. He flicked it over the defender and laid it back for Pope who delivered a high cross into the box. Lenton timed his run and had a free header, although he didn't catch it perfectly it looked to be destined for the net until the Brickhill keeper made another excellent save to deny the home side.

Hammett made more changes to freshen the side with Gilly replacing Bailey who had worked his socks off and Ryan Gregory replacing Chris Nicholls who had also worked hard on the flanks. The home side were looking fresh but Tigers were still dangerous and Sandy were saved by an Offside call from the linesman when it looked like the visitors had finally got through, but Sandy's high line worked well. Pally again was having little to do as the home sides back four were solid. Seldon and Pope were trying to push on and support. 

As the half progressed Beally was returning to his old self and began to push forwards regularly and he was causing havoc as he committed defenders. One such break almost resulted in Sandy taking the lead as he found Hammett in the box, spinning Hammett rolled the ball across the face of the goal to Wrenny who had stayed up from the corner, but the ball fell to his less favoured right foot and the effort was deflected over for a corner. Set pieces were looking like Sandy's best chance and this was no different as Hammett delivered the ball finding Jennings on the edge of the box. He controlled the ball and just as he was about to pull the trigger for what looked like a golden chance he was hauled to the ground, the referee amazingly didn't give a penalty for some reason. More worringly though Sandy suffered the double blow of Jennings laying prone on the floor having done the splits during the foul and that really isn't a move the big man should be trying and he seemed to tear a Hamstring. Sandy having made there last sub moments earlier were now to play the last 15 minutes with 10 men.

Everybody worked hard for the last fifteen and although there were periods when the home side didn't have the ball they defended well blocking shots and clearing well. Sandy almost scored a couple of times as well. Ryan Gregory was looking lively and he came in off the left, but could only drag his shot wide of the upright. He then had another chance as he cut in on a run and fired the ball across goal. It looked destined for the top corner, but flicked off Lentons head which just was too heavy and diverted it wide, much to the keepers relief. Gilly was trying to pull the strings and get the ball moving as Sandy searched for that one last chance. Banners almost got on the end of a corner, but took a knock that seemed to effect him slightly and Beally was starting to cramp as he had worked so hard (and is unfit)!!

Sandy couldn't find the breakthrough though and they saw out the threat from Brickhill as they finished with a flurry of set pieces. With ten men it was a solid performance and Sandy will look at this as a point gained rather than two lost, and they will hope to build on this in two weeks when they play Elstow Abbey. Final Score 2-2 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
5. Andrew Wren (8)
7. Ryan Burgess (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
15. Daniel Bailey (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)
24. Dave Lenton (8)


3. Ryan Gregory (8)
13. Olly Banfield (7)
16. David Gill (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Chris Nicholls
1 x Ryan Burgess


1 x Dave Lenton

Man of the Match:

17. Phil Beall


3. Shane Pope


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