Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Caldecote Reserves

Competition League - Division One
Result Caldecote Reserves 0-2 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 07 April 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Having been on a bad run of form in the league of late and with a mid week cup Semi Final to consider, Manager Ian Hammett rung the changes for this local derby clash against Caldecote Reserves. Regular starter Matt Evans was given the weekend off, and Chris Nicholls, Olly Banfield and Dan Stafford were rested to the bench alongside Nathan 'Yossi' Morris. Luke Morgan was handed a start at centre back with Charlie Seward partnering Hammett up front, and Craig Baker and JJ Peckszyc returned to the starting line up.

Leaving the leading scorer in the league on the bench was always a risk, but with Caldecote struggling for a side Hammett felt that the fringe players needed a start and some valuable pitch time. It was a gamble that was to pay off as the visitors stopped the rot of seven league games without a win to take all three points and buld some momentum going into the game with Ampthill Town Reserves on wednesday.

It was always going to be a tough afternoon for both sides as the pitch was rock solid and the ball was bobbling all over the place. Sandy though started the better as they looked to put their recent form behind them and they sprayed the ball out around the pitch well. Rob Tapley and Mark Jennings were getting on the ball and making things tick whilst Hammett and Seward struck up a good partnership as Hammett ran the channels and Seward dropped deep to link the play. Baker and JJ had all sorts of space down the flanks as well as the beating of both full backs and lazy wingers.

Before and real goal action could take place the first action of note was Phil Beall almost having a confrontation with on of the Caldecote players who after being robbed of the ball by Beally lashed out and scythed him down. Beally responded in his manliest voice ' with what's the point'. Fuming that he had been booked the previous week for an accidently late challenge and this guy wasn't booked. Phil your challenge from last week was horriffic!! The depleted Caldecote team were no real threat going forwards throughout the first half and there only chance of note came when a cross field ball caught out Shane Pope and their fling winger just got to it before him, but fired wide with a wild shot as Pope recovered. Morgan slotted in well alongside Beally and worked well to outmuscle the stocky (fat) Caldecote forward, on most occassions. Seldon and Pope were operating well down the flanks as well, cutting out through balls and the getting forwards as and when they could.

On this solid platform of hardwork Sandy were looking the most likely to score and were creating several chances. They were trying to play football and get in behind the backline of Caldecote and they were getting all sorts of joy. The best of the early chances came as Tappers released Hammet down the inside left, Hammett controlled the ball and then cut inside the defender but unfortunatley fired his shot straight at the Caldecote keeper. Hammett was then in again as Beally found him with a diagonal through ball that just forced him a little wide and the defender recovered to block the cross. Sandy were certainly on top and it was only going to be a matter of time.  

Baker and Tappers combined to find Shane Pope on the left who swund in an early cross and find Jennings who had ghosted in between two defenders but his header sailed over the bar. Seward then had a great chance to open the scoring as Jennings turned provider and delivered the ball into the box, Baker stepped over it and then Seward took a touch to shift the ball out of his feet but curled his shot over the bar. Then the Caldecote keeper made a fine save from Morgan, who Hammett found with a freekick and the big mans header looked destined for the bottom corner until the big Caldecote keeper tipped it away for another corner. From the set piece Jennings then fired over as Hammet found him on the edge of the box.

Finally Sandy did break the deadlock as Seward picked the ball up on the left he cut inside and launched a crossfield ball to Hammett. The defender looked like he should of cut the ball out, but he missed it and Hammett duely obliged by dinking the ball over the last defender and into the advanced midfield dynamo that is Jennings. Jennings then pulled out a moment of Messi like magic as he brought the ball down, turned on a six pence and fired a shot low into the bottom corner. A magestic finish. Sandy 1-0. Typically though after the goal Sandy took their foot off the pedal a little and Caldecote started to come back into the match. Although they failed to really create anything the visiting side had to dig deep to try and retain possession and keep their hosts under control, several key headers from Morgan and Beally cut out attacks and Seldon and Pope were pushed back. Pally though again was a virtual spectator as he only really had one shot on target from range that he held easily.

With the half running down Sandy could and maybe should have extended their lead. A long ball over the top seemed hopeful until Hammett put the defender under pressure and robbed him of the ball on the byline, Hammett then toe poked the ball goalwards but the keeper coverde his near post well and saved. From the corner the keeper again denied Sandy and this time Morgan with his second finger tip save as again the big man rose above the defenders and headed the ball towards the bottom corner. Identically though the keeper was equal to it and tipped it round the post. Despite a couple more speculative efforts the half ticked down and Sandy went in at the break with a 1-0 lead.

Caldecote tried to start the second half a little brighter and for the first few minutes they did look dangerous as Sandy had to defend a succession of corners. The visitors though always had the height advantage and defended stoically. Pally did well to claim a couple of crosses under pressure, but he also punched well when needed to ensure that Sandy cleared their lines. As the half settled down Sandy established the same pattern of play as the first half and began to dominate possesion and also the game. A lovely flowing move down the right hand side from Seldon, JJ, and Hammett culminated in JJ releasing Tappers into the box, but under pressure he could only fire his shot wide of the far post.

Charlie then got in on the act as he picked teh ball up on the edge of the box and fired a shot just wide. He then turned provider as he croseed to find Hammett at the back post, but Hammett couldn't steer his header back across goal where Jennings waited to tap in. Jennings then was looking for his second as he burst through the defence almost beating the keeper to the ball. The ball rebounded to Hammett show tried to direct the ball goalwards but it went wide. JJ kept the ball in play and found Seldon but his cross was cleared by the Caldecote back line. Sandy's rampaging right back then went looking for his first goal of the season as he burst forward. Seward found Hammett on the right and Hammett flicked it into Seldons path. He headed the ball down and then just as he was about to pull the trigger and blast the ball home the defender recovered and blocked the ball away for a corner although he got hurt in the challenge.

Sandy just couldn't seem to find that second goal that they knew they would need to make the game safe and Beally was the next to try and extend the lead as he burst forwards from the back in one of his trademark runs. He got round the Caldceote right back and then blasted the ball at the crowd of players in front of the goal, maybe looking for Hammett at the back post but more likely just shooting and the keeper saved well with his legs. Being the only defender now that hadn't tried to score Shane Pope wanted to get in on the act and he had a wild shot from 20 yards that flew high wide and handsome in his excitement.

Hammett decided to freshen things up and brought on Stafford and Yossi to play up front with JJ and Charlie making way. Hammett moved out on to the right flank and the change pretty much made immediate dividends as the two fresh forwards caused Havoc and leading scorer Staf found his goalscorng touch. The ball broke to Hammett on the right and he cut inside before slotting the ball through to Staf, a kind bounce off the defender feell straight back to Staf and he poked the ball past the keeper from close range to give the visitors that all important second goal. Almost straight away Jennings then had the chance to make it 3-0 as from a corner the ball broke to him and he fired a powerful shot towards goal only to see the keeper tip it onto the bar with the rebound falling in between several Sandy players.

Both sides where now starting to get tired and the hosts were just leaving people up the pitch and as Sandy gave the ball away they would break with numbers. This did cause a few problems but once again solid defending protected the goal for the most part. Caldecote did win a succession of corners though and Pally made an instinctual save as one was directed goalwards. Totally unsighted he just stuck out a hand and caught the ball one handed. the ball then fell to the ground and Beally in his excitement to save the day punted Pallys arm instead of the ball. Luckily Hammett was on the post to stab the ball clear. Shwoing no ill effects though Pally then claimed the next two corners well.

The last sub of the day saw Banfield replace Baker on the left wing, with Chris Nicholls totally rested for the game. Banfield made an immediate impact as well and at one point thought he should of had a penalty as he was brought down in the box only for the ref to say that he had committed the first foul. Unbelievable. Banfield wasn't the only victim of such a decision. Yossi who was working hard up top, looked to have beaten the centre back all ends up and got round him only to be hauled back, however the ref adjudged Yossi to have fouled. We will have to wait for the photographic evidence before further comment though as the players could hear on Kirsty Fylling on the sideline saying 'oi ref look at this i've got it on camera!!'.

Yossi did have a chance to creat a couple of goals and extend Sandy's lead firstly he found Staf after some good work, but Stafs effort was blocked and then with the match winding down he burst down the left beat two players and then squared it to Tappers whose shot was blocked on the line by a covering defender. Yossi almost got himself as well with a ball over the top but the defender recovered well to just get to the ball and stab it away from the young Sandy forward. Sandy had worked hard and although the football being played in those closing minutes wasn't the prettiest they did hold on for a 2-0 win and pick up their first three points in 7 league games. 

Eyes now turn to the Biggleswade cup semi final on wednesday evening at Ampthill Town where Sandy will hope to take this win and build on it by getting to their second cup final. Final score Sandy 2, Caldecote 0. 




Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Charlie Seward (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
7. Rob Tapley (8)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
11. Craig Baker (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)


1. Daniel Stafford (8)
13. Nathan Morris (8)
13. Olly Banfield (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Mark Jennings
1 x Daniel Stafford


2 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

4. Mark Jennings

Match Photos - Match Action vs Caldecote Reserves 7/4/2012

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