Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v FC Meppershall

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 4-1 FC Meppershall
Date Saturday 10 December 2011
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Sandy were looking to bounce back from last weeks defeat to Marston by ending FC Meppershalls unbeaten away record and putting themselves right back in the promotion shake up. It was also the game before the big Christmas party and everyone knew that a victory would make the evening that bit sweeter. (note: this report if written after a large alcohol intake so some details maybe sketchy)

Going into the game the home side were a little short on players as the little and large combo of Morgan and Tappers were both absent with Hamstring injuries, JJ decided he'd rather earn a shed load of money and had to work, and Charlie was also required to work. Chairman Colin Osborne was also struck down with a bout of the flu so was to be absent from the game and the evenings festivities. 

To his delight Matt Evans was selected to play at CB as Sandy reverted to the same back four that they had for the whole of last season and Olly 'The Kracken' Banfield was handed his second start for the club after some good recent performances. This left Nathan to run the line as Sandy's only sub.

Meppershall were always going to be a tough side to play against, and although Sandy dominated the whole first half it was the visitors that had the first effort on goal early in the contest. They won a corner off Richard Seldon and as the ball was delivered the Meppershall player won the header glancing it towards goal. Like last week though Pally's one and only save came in that moment as he dropped down to save the ball low to his left for Phil Beall to then hoof the ball clear to safety. Sandy hoped that Pally's early save would be the only similarity that there was to last week. From that point on Pally became a spectator as the back four dominated the Meppershall front line not letting them get even close to the goal and reducing them to speculative long shots that caused no problems.  Phil Beall and Matt Evans were outstanding at centre back, although their cause was helped somewhat by Keiron Langley's departure halfway through the half after chucking his guts up. Langley being Meppershalls second highest scorer.

Although Sandy dominated possession and pushed Meppershall right back into their half it was a little while before they tested the keeper. Mark Jennings who is having a good scoring season was the first with a shot after recieving the ball from Hammett he broke into the space, rampaging forwards he played a one two with Staf and the tried to bend his shot into the bottom corner but the keeper saved easily. This effort was to open up the flood gates in terms of chances as Baker then launched a long throw into the box, Staf flicked it on, Hammett laid it back to Banfield who then controlled and tried a delicate volleyed chip but he put too much on it and the ball went over. Staf wasn't having much joy against a solid back four, but he was winning his fair share and it was another flick on that released Hammett. Hammett took one touch and then just as he was about to shoot the defender recovered to get a tackle in and block the ball away for a corner.

Meppershall were struggling to defend set pieces, and Sandy were having all sorts of joy in the aerial battles but they couldn't make it count. Jennings headed over from the first corner, and then Beally was harshly penalised for a foul as he won another header which tested the back line. Baker then had a good opportunity for a goal as the initial effort in the box was blocked it lobbed up to him but his header from ten yards went up and over the bar. It looked like it was only going to be a matter of time before the home side would get on the score sheet and the best effort was still to come.

Banfield was looking dangerous on the right hand side as he worked hard getting up and down with Seldon supporting him well. Banfield thought he had finally released the kracken winning his bet with Staf, but he was denied a splendid goal by a fine diving save from the Meppershall keeper who tipped the ball at full stretch around the post. Banners then had another shot blocked by a defender which took some of the pace off the ball allowing the keeper to hold the ball comfortably. Sandy were having all of these chances but surprisingly not one had fallen to either Hammett or Staf who were working hard leading the line. Staf was getting special attention and the ref wasn't giving him much support as he looked to have been brought down for a penalty as the defender came through him from behind. His powerful running though was winning free kicks in dangerous positions and Sandy really should of taken the lead from one on about thirty five minutes.

The freekcik was about tweny five yards out on the left hand side of the box, Hammett took it swinging the ball in towards the back post. Banfield and Matt Evans both read where the ball was going. The dangerous whip on the ball made Banfield think that it was going to sail into the corner, so he tried to leave the ball, however Matt Evans saw a chance for glory and continued his run, comically banging into Banfield. Banfield then headed the ball with the side of his face back across the open goal and out to the left wing. When the ball hit Banners people were celebrating a certain goal from half a yard, but somehow the ball didn't go in (this may be why Banners got an 8 and not a 9 in the ratings)....... Hammett couldn't believe that finally he had someone else on the team who could miss from a yard, but hoped that this wouldn't be one of those days for his Sandy side.

Meppershall dangerman Craig Damon was having no joy for the visitors either as Phil Beall and Matt Evans gave him nothing and when Meppershall tried to play it down the wings they were met by the equally tenacious Seldon and Pope who were also giving no quarter. Chirs Nicholls and Baker were bursting from midfield trying to link and switch play as the four midfielders dominated the exchanges. Meppershall seemingly had parked a big bus in front of their goal and Sandy couldn't break through in that first half. Half time 0-0.

The home side knew that patience was going to be the order of the day today and they felt that the goals would come. Meppershall though to their credit enjoyed the best passage of play though early in the second half as they switched a couple of players around and started to hold onto the ball a bit better. Sandy were also being pressured in their own half and at times tried to rush the ball away giving up possession. However the visitors couldn't theaten Pally in the Sandy goal as solid defending meant that ball never really got close to him.

It wasn't long before the home side again established dominance and they finally took the lead. Jennings broke into the box latching onto a through ball. he managed to keep the ball from running out of play and turned back on his right foot. He dinked a delightful ball to the back post where Hammett was waiting to head the ball home into the empty net from a yard out. The goal was no more than Sandy deserved and theye went immediately looking for a second. Seldon and Banners were causing all sorts of problems down the right and Shane was continually doing shuttle runs down the left flank overlapping Baker. Shane had possessed a bit of a spade foot in the first half with crosses going everywhere except where he intended, but in the second his trusty left peg was back and he curled in a lovely cross onto the head of Staf. Staf directed it towards goal only to see the keeper pull off another fine save and tip the ball away for a corner again.

The second goal was coming and finally Sandy managed to get Staf isolated one on one with a defender. Baker who was having an outstanding half had found his passing boots and he cut in off the left flank and found Staf with a diagonal ball to the right. Staf beat his defender knocking the ball round him and then using his pace and power to break into the box, before calmly sliding the ball between the keeper and his near post for his 22nd goal of the season with his first actual shot on goal. Sandy were flying now and looking comfortable with it.

Beally was starting to think about stepping out of defence with his first foray almost producing immediate results as he best forward laying the ball off and then continuing his run. He got the ball back on the edge of the box, adjusted and cracked a shot towards goal that took a slight deflection agonisingly taking the ball wide of the far post.  Richard 'Daniel Alves' Seldon was also plying his trade as more of a wing back overlapping Banners and putting some good crosses into the box. Chris Nicholls was also starting to see more of the ball and was quietly going about his business switching play and keeping the team ticking over. It was good Sandy football that ensured Staf turned creator for the third Sandy goal as he was released down the left and powering past the defenders. He slid the ball across the face of goal missing out three defenders and the keeper for Hammett to slide in at the far post and grab his second goal of the game from a yard out.

Hammett then made an immediate change, with every intention of taking himself off Staf aksed for a rest and on came Nathan 'Yossi' Morris looking to grab his first goal for the 1st team. Morris made an instant impact, as there was a fourth goal in the contest, however it went to the visiting side. A hopeful long ball was played forwards from the back and Matt Evans who had been outsatnding all afternoon decided that he didn't fancy keeping a clean sheet because he doesn't want to be a centre back. Evans could only flick the ball on and the Meppershall forward got in behind him to fire the ball across Pally and into the far corner. Had Pally not been frozen to the spot he may well of had a chance, however as he hadn't touched the ball for almost 70 minutes other than to kick it his joints had seized up in the cold.

Meppershall then pushed forwards looking for the second goal that could of really made the last few minutes uncomfortable for the home side, but Sandy stood firm and despite being under some pressure Phil 'Lucio' Beally decided it was time to start stepping out from the back. Shane was also still pushing forwards down the left and his cross almost led to the fourth goal as Hammett headed the ball goalwards but the Meppershall keeper made a comfortable save. Sandy were to get the fourth goal that they needed though to kill the game off with possibly the best move of the match. Beally stepped out from the back beating two players he then found Baker on the left. Bakers played the ball square to Hammett as Beally continued his run. Hammett slid the ball through to Beally down the inside left and he burst into the box, then with his left foot ladies and gentlemen he played the ball across goal for Morris to ghost in and tap the ball home with his trusty left boot. It was a fantastic team goal and put the icing on the cake for the home side who had played very well.

Sandy kept the scoreline the same until the end with their visitors just waiting for the final whistle. Sandy didn't know at the time, but it was also an important win as all the other sides in the top five dropped points as they were all held to draws. Meaning that Sandy moved up into fourth spot and should they win next week have a good chance of finishing atleast third at Chrismas. Final Score 4-1.  

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Richard Seldon (9)
3. Matt Evans (9)
3. Shane Pope (9)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
11. Craig Baker (9)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
17. Phil Beall (9)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


13. Nathan Morris (8)

Goal Scorers:

2 x Ian Hammett
1 x Nathan Morris
1 x Daniel Stafford


1 x Phil Beall
1 x Mark Jennings
1 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Craig Baker

Man of the Match:

3. Matt Evans


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