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Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Elstow Abbey FC

Competition Friendly - Pre Season Friendly
Result Sandy 1st Team 0-0 Elstow Abbey FC
Date Saturday 06 August 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm
Attendance34

Match Report

Sandy entertained Division Two favourites Elstow Abbey FC for their first home pre season freindly, and it would prove to be evry bit as tough a workout as manager Ian Hammett could of hoped for his side. After beeing on cloud 9 after a good pre season win over Ampthill Reserves Hammett was forced to shuffle his pack iin the absence of some regular starters.

Both Mark Jennings and Rob (not Ron) Tapley both failed late fitness tests after sustaining ankle injuries and Charlie Seward was ruled out due to a thigh strain. Shane Pope was also missing as he felt a weekend in Essex boozing it up was more important than pre season training. Luke Morgan was handed a start at centre back after impressing mid week and Matt Gedney replaced the AWOL Pope at left back. JJ and Chris Nicholls formed a new centre mid partnership.

Sandy knew it was to be a tough afternoon as really Elstow should be competing in Div 1 this year other than for a mishap involving an ineligible player and the small matter of an 18 point deduction last year. From the off the visitors reinforced this view and played some good football, holding onto the ball well and utilising the space at the bedford road pitch.

Sandy took longer to settle as the reshuffle in team selection slowly began to sink in though they did try to establish their passing game, however today was to be one of those days where they couldn't find much fluency or creativity. Elstow should of taken the lead early on as Dave McCarthy escaped down the right hand side and squared the ball on a plate for his strike partner sho under pressure from Morgan fired over from five yards out with the goal at his mercy. This was a real let off for the home side and it spurred them into action.

Some neat football between Richard Seldon and Ian Hammett almost created a goal chance for Staf, but Hammetts cross was a little overhit, staf though recovered the ball with some help from Olly Banfield, but fired his shot from an angle over the bar. Staf was involved in the creation of the closest efforts of the half as a long ball form Luke Morgan found him down the left channel. He held the ball up well and then played a good cross field ball to Matt Evans. Evans teed up JJ on the edge of the box and his first time curling effort just clipped the top of the bar. Hammett then released Staf with a diagonal through ball, and Stafs touch took him through but the keeper smothered his shot and the rebound didn't fall kindly.

Elstow were enjoying a lions share of the possession, but solid defending from the whole back four was ensuring that there were few clear cut attempts on Pally's goal. Pally was again marshalling the back four well, whilst Phil Beall was forming a good partnership with Morgan. Richard Seldon was once again outstanding at right back, ensuring that the visitors never got a sniff down that flank and Matt Gedney settled well to the pace of the game in the absence of Shane Pope.

Both teams seemed to nulify each other very well and apart form a succession on set pieces around the box Elstow couldn't find a way throuhg Sandys stoic defending. Phil Beall and Richard Seldon were trying to step out of defence and add some impetus to the attack, but Sandy's final ball was letting them down as they failed to make a composed pass. Staf had one more effort from long range when he could of slipped Hammett or Banfield through on goal, but other than this the Elstow keeper remained untroubled. Half Time 0-0

Sandy enjoyed their best spell of the game straight from the kick off of the second half, dominating the early possession and gettting Chris Nicholls on the ball. Nicholls exchanged passes with JJ before playing a lovely diagonal ball in behind the full back for Matt Evans in an identical move from wednesdays game. However today Matt Evans could only lift the ball over the keeper and just wide from a much tighter angle. Sandy then won a throw in close to the byline and Evans used his trademark long throw to cause confusion. Banfield headed the ball down to Staf who controlled it but then hurried his shot and fired over from 3 yards out.

Sandy felt that a goal would come but gradually Elstow managed to gather themselves and get back into the game and although they again had good possession it was once again all in front of the two banks of four that Sandy had set up. Elstow did break through a couple of times, but on the first occassion Pally made an outstanding one on one save and then Phil Beall cleared the rebound and secondly Richard Seldon made a goal saving tackle on Elstow marksman Dave McCarthy just as he was about to shoot.

Elstow had a plethera of corners but each one Sandy defended well and looked solid throughout as the big presence of Luke Morgan helped. Sandy did create a couple of opportunities from set pieces. Hammett delivered a ball into the box that Matt Evans got on the end of but his header was cleared to substitute Ryan Gregory at the back post, whose first time effort looped over the keeper and bounced off the top of the bar, the second time that Sandy had hit the woodwork. Then in the dying minutes of the game, Phil Beal just mistimed his jump slightly and failed to get on the end of a Hammett corner.

As an attacking force Sandy struggled throughout the afternoon, but defensively in their own third of the pitch they were solid and robust. Each player worked their socks off to defend as a team but they appeared to need a little more composure whilst in possession of the ball. Manager Ian Hammett was happy with the performance and took many positives from the game stating ' that each game brings greater match fitness and sharpness and gives players valuable pitch time and it is good to keep two clean sheets in a row against tough opposition.'

Sandy continue their pre season at home to AFC Turvey on Wedsnesday who are managed by ex Sandy player/manager Dan Bailey, and everyone at the club will be hping for a strong performance. Final score 0-0.

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
1. Daniel Stafford (7)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Matt Evans (7)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (7)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
13. Olly Banfield (7)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (7)

Subs:

3. Ryan Gregory (7)
20. Darren Gipson (7)

Man of the Match:

2. Richard Seldon

 

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