Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v FC Meppershall

Competition League - Division One
Result FC Meppershall 2-4 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 30 April 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

The final game of the season saw Sandy travel to Mowsbury Park in Bedford in a straight shoot out for a fourth place finish against hosts FC Meppershall. The winners of the game knew that they would finish fourth, where as a draw would give Beds SA the chance to leap frog both clubs should they beat Champions Bedford Hatters.

Sandy had their strongest fourteen players available with Matt Evans, Dan Stafford, and Luke Morgan returning to the squad after missing the 2-0 home win against the same opposition. Manager had some tough team selections to make, but opted to start with Matt Evans and Dan Stafford so Westy and Charlie dropped to the bench.

The pitch at Mowsbury park was tiny, meaning that the game was very compact as both side struggled to get used to the lack of space, the hard bobbly surface was also playing havoc with first touches and control for both sides. Meppershall had the better chances of the first half but found Sandy Keeper Mark Pallister in outstanding form as he saved superbly from Meppershalls Craig Damon who must of thought that he'd scored with a venomous right foot strike that Pally tipped round the post. Damon then again found Pally in his way as again he cut in from the right to shoot, but Pally was equal to the effort and kept the scores level.

Sandy were not really playing the football that they can and at times were struggling to string four or five passes together, but they gradually began to settle and pick out some passes, their best early chances came from free kicks. The first Rob Tapley floated a cross in right between the keeper and defenders but no Sandy player gambled and the Meppershall keeper cleared well. The ref then awarded a handball about twenty yards out, but Hammett curled the free kick into the arms of the keeper. The visitors were getting into the game now and Mark Jennings released Hammett with a ball over the top. Hammett just kept the ball in and then whipped a cross into tghe box that a flying Phil Beall who came from nowhere couldn't quite get on the end of.

Phil was called into action in his own box shortly after as Meppershall threatened again, but Beally managed o get his gogo gadget foot in the way to nick the ball away before the striker shot. Matt Evans was settling back in well at centre half dominating in the air and Shane Pope had his hands full at left back dealing with Meppershall danger man Damon. It should have been 1-0 to Sandy on thirty minutes as Staf finally broke away down the right. Beating his defender like he wasn't there Staf whipped in a cross and found Hammett three yards out. With an open goal Hammett somehow managed to hit the bar with his finish much to the relief of the home side. It was certainly a contender for miss of the season.

Staf then had the ball in the net himself as he got on the end of a Shane Pope cross after a lovely flowing football move from Sandy, but the linesman flagged him offside with a very dubious call. The rest of the half played out with little threat from either side as the scores were level at the break much like in the fixture at Bedford Road. Half Time 0-0.

FC Meppershall switched their formation at half time to a 4-4-2 to match the visitors and it paid immediate dividends as they took the lead within a minute. Working the ball out to the left wing they then crossed to the back post, Shane Pope failed to clear the ball and it just looped up into the air falling kindly to Damon who volleyed home finally beating Pally. Sandy though took this setbakc well though and immediately responded by pushing forwards, knowing that the chances would come.

Within five minutes they were level as JJ who was having an excellent game on the right delivered without doubt his best cross off the season which found Staf twelve yards out to head home into the corner. Sandy were lifted by this goal and became the dominant side and in two minutes JJ turned from provider to goalscorer and he fired Sandy into the lead. Good work from Staf saw Meppershall clear the ball to the right of their penalty area where Richard Seldon recovered the ball and lobbed it back into the box, with his back to goal Hammett chested the ball down for JJ who scored with a first time shot that rolled down his shin, and into the net.

It was an excellent repsonse from the visiting side and demonstrated the new found belief that they have. After his heroics JJ was replaced by Westy for a deserved rest and Rob Tapley who had a typical hard working game was replaced by Charlie Seward in the middle of the park. Looking solid Sandy pushed for the third goal that would kill of the game and ensure fourth place. Westy had a cross shot that sailed past the far post and then Seward tried an audacious lob from the half way line that had the Meppershall keeper scrambling, but it just went over.

The game then got a little bit fiesty as Westy and the left back got into a tangle which was resulted in both players being lucky not to be booked or even sent off as the ref lost a little bit of control. After the handbags the game settled down a little bit more and both sides looked for the important goal. With fifteen minutes to go Baker was replaced by Morgan asSandy went more defensive to try and hold onto their lead as Meppershall began to dominate in the middle of the park. Sandy's defence stayed strong though and Pally was rarely troubled in goal. With ten minues to go tho Craig Damon popped up on the left wing, cut inside Richard Seldon to recieve the ball and fired his first time shot past Pally to equalise and stun Sandy.

Straight from the kick off though Staf had the perfect response. He picked up the ball from Charlie in the centre circle and then ran through the whole of the Meppershall team without one person putting a significant challenge in on him. He got into the box and fired the ball across goal into the far corner for a splendid individual effort that effectively killed off the contest with 7 minutes to go. Meppershall never recovered and were then the victims of their own downfall as Staf completed his hat trick and effectively stole the man of the match award off JJ.

Taking a throw from deep in their own half Staf pressured them and won the ball before curling it up and over the keeper into the net to cap off an excellent second half performance. Sandy did have some defending to do at the end but held firm to win and secure their highest league finish for several seasons. Finishing the season with 10 wins, 4 draws and only 2 losses from their last 16 games it bodes very well for a strong season in 2011/12. Final score 4-2.


Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

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


2. Luke Morgan (7)
4. Charlie Seward (8)

Goal Scorers:

3 x Daniel Stafford
1 x John-Joe Pekszyc


1 x Ian Hammett
1 x John-Joe Pekszyc

Man of the Match:

1. Daniel Stafford


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