Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Elstow Abbey

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-3 Elstow Abbey
Date Saturday 20 October 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy were looking to bounce back from a tough mid week defeat despite an excellent performance. However they were always going to face a uphill task with only 11 players available for selection. Midweek casualties JJ, Baker, Ryan Grant, and Nathan Morris joined the injury list alongside Mark Jennings, where as Dave Lenton and Sandy number 1 Mark Pallister were both at a wedding. Without those 7 senior players the side was still strong but had no reinforcements and Wrenny was forced to play in goal with Banners slotting in at centre back alongside Beally. Chris Nicholls was also potentially playing his last game for the club as he plans to move back home to the midlands next friday.

The game started evenly with the home side working well all over the pitch, but just five minutes in disaster struck as Gilly tried to cover a break from midfield and although he saw the danger away for a corner he pulled his hamstring in the process. This was just what Sandy didn't need with no sub to replace him, despite his best efforts he bacame a passenger for 85 minutes. This caused a shift in formation with Sandy going 4-4-1 and Gilly doing what he could.

The home side weren't helping themselves though and they couldn't seem to find any sort of flowing football and struggled to find any sort of rhythm. They gave the ball regularly and the visitors prospered by pushing forwards and enjoying the time that they had on the ball. Testing Wrenny with several long shots that the part time keeper was equal too, tipping them away for corners on holding them well. He made one great save from Elstow forward Dave McCarthy who had pulled off Banfield and headed the ball towards the bottom corner, but Wrenny was equal to it palming it away. He was then called into action again to stop a dipping shot with his body before reacting to hold onto the rebound.

Sandy were under plenty of pressure but once again Beally and Pope were solid and cut everything out. Banfield did well in his new role for the side, and Seldon was solid on the right as they all worked together to stop any threats, but Sandy's problem was they couldn't play out from the back. There seemed to be a distinct lack of options and then play broke down in midfield. With a man light it was always going to prove hard though against Elstow's three man centre midfield. The task was made more difficult when Elstow took the lead in controversial circumstances. The visitors won a freekick on the edge of the box, and for once Wrenny couldn't quite keep it out as he fumbled it against the bar. However the ball didn't go and just as Banners was going to hook it clear, and Elstow player palmed it across goal with a blatant handball. The ref didn't blow and just as Beally was about to react he was hauled back by another player, again the ref didn't blow and Elstow finally bundled the ball home.

This did spur Sandy into life as they started to find a little bit of flow. Hammett picked up the ball from Wrenny after dropping off and beat three players before slipping Burgess in down the right. Burgess got the right side of the defender but couldn't quite get there and Elstow cleared. Another good move the saw Chris Nicholls have a shot that flew wide. The home side were also starting to get more joy down the flanks as Pope and Burgess were proving effective. The final ball did let them down on occasions though and Sandy didn't trouble the visiting keeper.

The first half was scrappy with Elstow failing to take advantage of the extra man so to speak and Sandy not fulfilling their potential. Sandy did have half a shout for a penalty which the ref waved away and Elstow wasted several chances to counter attack by being offside. Elstow complained often, but they were hardly in a position too, as their linesman gave a dubious couple of decisions saving their back four as Hammett appeared to be in his own half twice when the ball was played. However luck wasn't with the home side and the half finished with them trailling 1-0.

Despite their misfortune Sandy thought that they could get something from the game and they started the half with some vigour. They strung some nice play together and won a corner a couple of minutes into the period. Hammett delivered the ball which just missed Beally, however Burgess popped up at the back post and hammered the ball home with the help of the post and a couple of deflections. It was a goal his performance deserved as he really had an outstanding game on the right flank against a tough full back.

Elstow were shaken, and now Sandy began to establish themselves finally in the contest. Bailey and Nicholls were starting to find the ball in the middle and Burgess and Gregory looked more involved. Beally was also trying to step out and create as he and the rest of the back four won the ball regularly and played a good offside trap. The game was now so close as both teams looked for the lead. Sandy were the happier with the way the game was going and they very nearly took the lead when Dan Bailey threaded a lovely ball in behind the defnce and Hammett just got there before the keeper who rushed out. With no time though he could only poke it past the onrushing stopper and agonisingly the ball went just wide of the upright.

Hammett was again then found with a ball over the top and this time he won a corner, but with Sandy bringing the big guns up they couldn't bundle the ball home and Elstow cleared it. Then agonisingly an error and some bad luck cost the home side. Elstow won a corner, and Hammett was caught napping as the right back burst forward to recieve a short option. Hammett couldn't get back and Seldon rushed out to close the ball down however the shot hit him and deflected into the smallest gap between Wrenny and the near post agonisingly giving Elstow the lead against the run of play.

This was like a dagger to Sandy who were in the ascendancy. They never really recovered from it either despite their efforts. Bailey who had been struggling since being on the end of a bad tackle in the first half was getting less mobile so the home side were playing with nine and a half men effectively. Banners though was doing his best to make up for this and had a couple of driving runs through the heart of the Elstow which ended in him winning free kicks on the edge of the box. However neither Nicholls or Bailey could trouble the keeper from the promising set pieces.

Once again though as they threatened to grab a point they threw it away as a horrible rror from Nicholls played the Elstow forward straight in on goal as he latched onto a poor header. Beally tried his best to recover but somehow the player managed to fire shot between the Sandy defenders legs and Wrenny who saw it late had no chance. The scoreline did flatter the visitors but was also a reflection on a poor performance by Sandy who should of taken a lot more from this game. Undoubtedly if they hadn't of lost Gilly so early then the scoreline would have been different and with a full squad it would of been a different story. With a cup game next week and then a week off, Sandy have two weeks to get players back from injury and ready for action before they return to league action. They will be hoping to turn round this run of results and get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Final score 1-3 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

2. Richard Seldon (6)
3. Shane Pope (6)
3. Ryan Gregory (5)
5. Andrew Wren (6)
7. Ryan Burgess (7)
9. Ian Hammett (5)
13. Olly Banfield (6)
15. Daniel Bailey (5)
16. David Gill (5)
17. Phil Beall (6)
18. Chris Nicholls (5)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Ryan Burgess


1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

7. Ryan Burgess


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