Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Henlow

Competition League - Division One
Result Henlow 2-3 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 05 February 2011
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

After a weeks break Sandy dug deep to record a hard fought victory today in difficult conditions, to take the team’s currently good run in the league to 7 games unbeaten. 

Sandy assistant manager Richard Seldon, in charge for the day, had to shuffle his pack at late notice, as Sandy reverted back to a 4-5-1 formation. The team already missing there diminutive goal poaching player manager Ian Hammett (who was missing due to elective hair replacement surgery), also lost new signing Ben ‘Dave’ Wilks to a back problem in the morning and Tommy Simpson who went AWOL at the last. Darren Gipson got the nod to start on the right side of midfield with flying winger JJ tucked back into the middle of a midfield 5, with Dan Stafford ploughing a lone furrow up front. Phil Beall captained the side to mark his one hundredth appearance for the club. 

The game began as it was to continue, completely dominated by a force 8 gale blowing across the open Henlow pitch, the strength of the wind was to make decent football difficult for both teams.  Sandy started well having the better of the early territory and possession with Rob Tapley carrying the ball well in the middle of the park, as both teams tried to adapt to the conditions.

Sandy’s good start led to them claiming the lead mid-way through the first half. Baker cut in off the left wing before laying the ball short to Stafford who struck a powerful right footed shot from 25 yards. The ball nestled in the right hand side of the net with the keeper not even bothering to move. 

After this Henlow fought back well putting pressure of the Sandy back line with a number of clever through balls using the wind well to curl the ball into the space behind the defence. This tactic proved its value as a ball played in from deep on the Henlow right found the striker who had got between Matt Evans and Phil Beall before dispatching past Mark Pallister in the Sandy goal with a good finish. 

Sandy came close to pulling back in front with the ever dangerous Stafford first narrowly missed the bottom left corner of the net after losing his marker well and connecting with a cross played in low from the left. Stafford then worked the channels well latching on to Mark Jenning’s ball before shooting across the Henlow keeper narrowly missing the right hand post this time. Baker also came close with a direct free kick from a left hand edge of the box after Matt Evans was felled following a storming mazy run from the back. 

Despite some good Sandy play Henlow were to go into half time in front after another wind assisted long ball evaded Phil Beall’s attempted interception allowing the Henlow striker a clear run through before forcing the ball through attempted recovery tackles for his strike partner to force the ball home. 

Sandy were unlucky to go in at the break behind having had the better of the first half. Henlow had created little other than their goals and Sandy had dictated middle of the park with Mark Jennings and JJ using their subtly and flair to kick the opposition and Rob and Baker providing good support to Stafford up top. 

The second half began with Henlow the better side, again using the wind to their advantage to cause problems for the Sandy defence. Henlow came close early in the half after a throw in from the Sandy right back area caught the now even stronger wind propelling the ball across the box bouncing by the far post evading everyone before going out for a throw in on the opposite side of the pitch. The Sandy net was in threat again after the pacey Henlow left winger showed good trickery to get a dangerous cross past Seldon, the ball flew across the Sandy 6 yard box with the despairing dives of two Henlow attackers failing to get the faintest touch required to steer the ball in at the back post. 

It looked as though Sandy were heading towards defeat after Beall telescopic leg chopped down the Henlow striker after a darting run into the box, gifting Henlow a penalty. However the Henlow number 10 rattled the ball off the cross bar before Mark Jennings completed the clearance. 

Sandy re-jigged their formation with Luke Morgan replacing Darren Gipson, who had worked hard for the team out of position, and slipping into the centre of defence alongside Phil Beall. This freed Matt Evans to push into the middle of the park with JJ moving back out onto the right. The change of formation seemed to settle Sandy and this coincided with the Henlow team apparently tiring on a heavy pitch. 

Matt slotted into the middle of the park well and, after some good short passes with Rob, it was he who clipped the ball forward into Stafford’s path, who lobbed the keeper who was rushing out of his box to clear, with a fantastic finish to draw Sandy level.  Sandy continued to push forward and forced several half chances, with Matt having a shot blocked in the box following a cross from the left and Stafford being harshly judged offside when clear through on goal.   

Sandy got the goal their pressure warranted with 15 minutes to go in the game. After some good battling in the middle of the park the ball fell to Matt who played a clever little ball behind the Henlow centre back for Stafford to run on to. Stafford easily beat the goalkeeper, who had rushed out of his area, to the ball before passing the ball along the deck into the net from 30 yards out, the ball dribbling agonisingly slowly towards the goal before finally crossing the line. 

Sandy did well to not get too forced back in the final minutes and again looked dangerous on the break away. Mark Pallister who recorded another solid game showed safe hands to mop up a couple of late half chances, and Morgan making an excellent tackle late on to prevent the Henlow striker going through on goal.  

All in all Sandy battled well to pick up the win against a Henlow team that passed the ball well and had initially adapted to the horrendously windy conditions the better. The difference on the day being the excellent finishing of man of the match Dan Stafford.

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (10)
1. Mark Pallister (7)
2. Richard Seldon (7)
3. Shane Pope (7)
3. Matt Evans (8)
4. Mark Jennings (7)
7. Rob Tapley (8)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (7)
11. Craig Baker (7)
17. Phil Beall (7)
20. Darren Gipson (6)


2. Luke Morgan (7)

Goal Scorers:

3 x Daniel Stafford


2 x Matt Evans
1 x Craig Baker

Man of the Match:

1. Daniel Stafford


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