Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v FC Meppershall

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 2-0 FC Meppershall
Date Saturday 16 April 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy entertained FC Meppershall in their final home game of the season, in a match of real significance for both sides. The winner would establish themselves as contenders for a fourth place finish in Division One and possibly cap off a strong end to the 2010/11 season.

Sandy were looking to bounce back from two defeats in a row and for the first time in weeks were to be suffering from a shortage of players. Matt Evans was absent with an ankle injury, and Dan Stafford and Luke Morgan were on a poorly scheduled jolly to Leeds. This meant that JJ reverted to centre back with Westy returning to the right flank in his place and Charlie Seward was handed a start up front alongside Ian Hammett.

The home side knew that they had to start well and from the off they looked like the dominant side. Westy hit the bar early as his cross from the right caught out the keeper, bouncing high on the hard ground and hitting the bar, unfortunately tho falling to Meppershall defender to be cleared. Then Mark Jennings seemed to be caught in two minds as whether to shoot or cross to Hammett for a tap in, this allowed the defender to nip in as the ball headed towards an empty net, but his hurried clearance somehow hit the bar and bounced away for a corner.

Meppershall threatened very little to start with as JJ and Phil Beall settled nicely together clearing away everything that came their way and snuffing out any through ball. Shane Pope's return saw Richard Seldon move back to his favoured right back slot and both looked solid throughout. Meppershall did create one early chance as they broked free down the right with the fleet of foot Craig Damon. Pally blocked the initial shot and then somehow recovered to save the follow up shot with his face, before the Sandy defence cleared the ball.

Craig Baker was having a lot of joy down the left flank as he was quite obviously quicker than the Meppershall right back. Baker certainly had the half's best chance as he was released by Rob Tapley down the wing, he cut inside his defender, beat two more players and then with the goal at his mercy and the option of Hammett square for a two yard tap in he somehow managed to blaze his shot over the bar. Sandy did create other opportunities but couldn't convert; Westy whipped in a cross after a corner that wasn't cleared properly and the ball found its way through to Hammett whose shot was saved well at the near post by the keeper. Rob Tapley had a shot that went wide and Mark Jennings also had a half volley from 20 yards that was straight at the keeper. Two nice pieces of play by Hammett down the right ended with him whipping good crosses into the box but Craig Baker couldn't quite get on the end of them. Shane Pope also had a good chance at the back post from another Westy cross but he could only direct his header straight into the arms of the Meppershall keeper.

Sandy did have another scare during the first half as again Meppeshall did manage to break away and get through one on one with Pally, but to the home sides relief the ball rebounded off the inside of the far post and back across goal allowing Pally to recover. The whole back four though looked assured throughout and manage to keep things tight. Pally was required to punch away under pressure from a corner but again he looked solid between the sticks. Neiether side could take a chance before the break and at half time it was still 0-0.

Sandy knew that if they stayed patient and solid that the chances would come for them to win this game and they started the second half with the same fight and discipline that they displayed in the first half. Maintaining a good shape throughout and with Tapley and Jennings dominating the centre of the park Sandy looked more likely to score. With Phil Beall also stepping out from the back with regularity going what can only be described as Lucio like runs down the middle of the park and commiting defenders it opened up space for the rest of the team.

Finally Sandy's pressure told as they won a free kick about thirty five yards from goal. Hammett curled the ball into the box just a little too high for Beally to get a flick on the ball. However Beally's jump was enough to unsight the keeper who flapped at the ball and could only half clear it. The ball fell to Craig Baker just inside the area and he fired the ball through a crowd of players and into the top corner of the net. It was no more than the home side deserved for their endeavours and they pushed on looking for a second as they knew that one might not be enough.

On sixty minutes the ref thought he might have to abandon the game and an ambualnce was almost called as Westy went down screaming like a girl. As it turned out he luckily only had a bad case of cramp in the calf muscle and after some intensive treatment he was able to walk again! Sandy pushed on looking for another goal but on occassion their final ball was letting them down. Rob Tapley almost added a second but he couldn't quite get to the ball that was slid through and the keeper managed to deflect it clear. Phil Beall then had the chance to score as he again stepped out from the back to create space, moving the ball wide he then continued his run into the box, but couldn't quite convert the header at the end.

Darren Gipson replaced Westy with fifteen minutes to go giving some fresh legs on the right wing and he made some impact with his busy play. Shortly after his introduction he released Hammett down the right. Hammett cut inside and crossed with his left foot finding Charlie Seward on the edge of the box. Seward hit a first time volley into the bottom corner leaving the keeper rooted to the spot and giving Sandy the second goal they had been looking for. Shane Pope had a chance to add a third as he went on a rampaging run down the left but he fired his shot over the bar.

for the last five minutes Meppershall did pressure the Sandy goal, and almost scored as their forward managed to escape JJ for the first time, but he fired his shot wide under pressure. Sandy also survived a sucession of corners with some solid defending. The home side also had a couple of strong penalty claims turned down, but it didn't matter as they remained strong and kept only their second clean sheet of the season to record a very goo 2-0 win.

The result along with others of the day ensured that Sandy moved level on points with Meltis Albion in fourth place and remain in fifth only on goal difference. With their fate resting firmly in their own hands a big win against Meppershall in two weeks time should see them claim fourth spot outright and finish the season well. Final Score 2-0.


Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

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


20. Darren Gipson (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Craig Baker
1 x Charlie Seward


1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

7. Rob Tapley


7. Rob Tapley
17. Phil Beall

Match Photos - Match Action vs FC Meppershall

Sandy vs FC Meppershall 1Sandy vs FC Meppershall 2Sandy vs FC Meppershall 3Sandy vs FC Meppershall 4Sandy vs FC Meppershall 5Sandy vs FC Meppershall 6

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