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Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Ickwell and Old Warden

Competition Friendly - Pre Season Friendly
Result Sandy 1st Team 3-7 Ickwell and Old Warden
Date Thursday 09 August 2012
Kick Off 6.30pm
Attendance42

Match Report

Ickwell paid a visit to Bedford Road as Sandy 1st Team began their competitive pre season schedule against their opponents in last years Centenary cup Final and last years Division One winners. It was always going to provide a tough test with 6 of Sandy's squad missing for various reasons, made harder by the fact that Ickwell had built on last seasons strong squad with the notable addition of several very good players.

Sandy were forced into a reshuffle as Joe Lunt again started between the sticks in the abscence of both Ryan Grant (Inj) and Mark Pallister (Olympics), Turvey old boys Dan Bailey and Andrew Wren started at right back and left back respectively on their returns to the club with JJ and Morgan at CB, and Nathan Morris ploughed a lone furrow up front with Dan Stafford playing the supporting role.

It was a glorious sunny evening and the spectators knew they were going to be in for an entertaining evening when after just 35 seconds Ickwell took the lead. The visitors capitalised on a sluggish start by Sandy, and a cross from the left wing found Threadgold at the the back post who out jumped Andrew Wren to power a header home past stand in keeper Joe Lunt. This was not the start that Sandy needed and it was going to be a real test of character to see if they could respond. But respond they did almost immediately as Ickwell pushed on they were caught by a swift fluid counter attack. Andrew Wren picked up the ball at left back and found Ian Hammett with a drilled cross field pass, Hammett burst forward into the Ickwell half and delivered a delightful cross to the back post where Staf was waiting to head the ball perfectly back across and into the far corner to cap off a wonderful move.

Sandy seemed to settle and stuck with their shape, ensuring that Ickwell for the most part played in front of them, allowing the opposition to have possession in their own half. This reduced the visitors to speculative long shots and attempts to thread balls through gaps that just weren't there. The makeshift Sandy back four were playing well, intercepting most things and working hard against the physicality and intelligent movement of the strikers.

Gilly was again providing a solid platform in the Sandy midfield trying to get the ball moving and spreading the play, Jennings was finding spaces further forward as well and often the play was breaking to him allowing him to drive the home side forwards. Staf was also finding more space that usual against Ickwell as his deep lying role was giving him some freedom. Ickwell were finding it hard to break down Sandy and the home side then took the lead through Craig Baker. This second goal was real route one football, Andrew Wren was involved again as he played a perfect ball over Shortie at right back. Baker outpaced the back four and beat the goalie to the ball, rolling the ball past him as he rushed out and then slotting the ball into the empty net with a calm finish.

Shellshocked by the second goal Ickwell were galvanised into action and enjoyed the lions share of possession as they made the home side work hard to press the ball. Lee Threadgold went close with an effort that didn't trouble Lunt and then Anup Kaylan stole a march on JJ to head just over. Foxy then sent a effort wide of Lunt's goal and then Lunt was required to come and claim several crosses as Ickwell peppered the Sandy box. Morgan and JJ were winning there fair share of 50/50 challenges and Wrenny and Bailey were solid in unfamiliar positions.

Sandy were struggling to keep the ball against superior opposition but it was they who almost extended their lead. Staf picked up the ball in space and attempted to pick out Hammett at the back post, but his misdirected pass troubled the Ickwell keeper as it almost lobbed over him. The keeper recovered to claim, but as he landed he spilled the ball. Hammett reacted quickest and nipped in front of the defence attempting to slot the ball past the keeper, but he managed to recover to block the attempt with his foot. It was a let off for the visitors.

However shortly after they were level when a long hopeful ball from the keeper was misjudged by JJ and he missed his header, this small mistake was the only invitation Threadgold needed as he controlled the ball beautifully and moved into the box before delicately lobbing Lunt in the Sandy goal. Ickwell again were in the ascendancy and last ditch tackles were stopping Sandy from trailing further. Ickwell also had the luxury of several substitutes and were rotating their very strong squad on the hot evening. Baker and Hammett were causing problems on the flanks as the visitors struggled to cope with Sandy's shape when they counter attacked.

Nathan Morris who was working hard with little reward almost set Baker away on the left, but the defence recovered and forced him to drag his right foot shot wide of the post. Staf then almost got Hammett in again, but Trundle blocked his first effort and although the rebound fell kindly Carl Ashwell was on hand to block the second effort. Baker then fired another effort over from long range.

With the half coming to a close it was the visitors that took the lead. Kaylan managed to get through on goal and it looked for all the world like he would have an easy tap in except JJ made a wonderful sliding block to deny him. However unluckily the ball rebounded straight to Kaylan who recovered quickest and he caught everyone unawares as he backheeled the ball into the net wrong footing the Sandy defence and giving Ickwell the lead at half time. 2-3.

Although it had been a strong performance individual errors had given the impetus to Ickwell and Manager Hammett was keen to stress the need for Sandy to learn from this and build on there 1st half performance. Unfortunately tired legs seemed to contribute to this not being the case and a severe lack of fitness and substitutes took its toll on the home side during the second forty five.

Ickwell started the second half strongly again and pushed Sandy right back into their half. Defending stoically though the home side were always under pressure and it was possibly only the final ball that was letting them down. Sandy were no giving the ball away far too cheaply and coming under sustained pressure. Hammett made changes to try and freshen things up with Ryan Gregory coming on for Nathan Morris and Darren Gipson on for Luke Morgan. This caused some slight reshuffling and Ickwell scored soon after as Sandy fell asleep from a freekick.

They took it quickly and played it down the outside before it was delivered in and Mark Jennings in his efforts to clear the ball was helpless as it deflected off him and past Lunt into the Sandy net. Again it wasn't the start that the home side needed and Ickwell soon scored a fifth. This time after good work from Alan Cudjoe he found Ivan Finch in acres of space on the edge of the Sandy box and he hit a wonderful first time volley powerfully past Lunt who never really had a chance to see it coming.

Sandy's subs were struggling to make an immediate impact and Ryan Gregory didn't really touch the ball much to start with as he was busy closing down space. Darren Gipson was also having a torrid time, mostly deciding which team he was on. He seemed to make a good tackle to win the ball back and then apologetically almost would pass it straight back to Ickwell. This was obviously causing the home side a few problems. Sandy switched again with Gilly coming off for a rest as his legs began to suffer causing another reshuffle.

Ickwell then added a sixth though the half as Dean Hamilton fired the ball through a crowd of players after it was cut back from the byline. Sandy Keeper Joe Lunt had had a tough baptism of fire against a strong side and unfortunately he was caught out as his mishit freekick from inside his box fell straight to Dean Hamilton who still had a lot to do. However Hamilton controlled the ball and then fired the ball powerfully from just inside the half back into the empty net before Lunt could recover and score Ickwells 7th of the evening.

Despite the game being well and truly over, Sandy still worked hard and a midfield burst from Craig Baker caused havoc. He beat four players on his way to the byline and then cut the ball back across goal. Nathan Morris went for an overhead kick but didn't connect and the ball found it's way to Ryan Gregory at the back post. He took one touch and then fired the ball powerfully into the net, with the keeper only able to deflect it into the roof of the onion bag. 3-7

Sandy did have half chances as the game came to a close, Gregory bouyed by his earlier goal attempted another effort this time from further out, curling the ball harmlessly wide and then he was involved again in a similar scenario as he was found at the back post, but this time his shot was well blocked by Tom Blow. Morris almost got in for what would have been his first attempt on goal after Gregory found Hammett with a cross field ball. Hammett delivered the ball into the danger area but Morris was just eased out before he could connect.

The game then came to it's inevitable conclusion with Ref Derek Osborne drawing it to a close and Ickwell winning 7-3.

Manager Ian Hammett felt there were some positives to take from the game, but on the whole felt that Sandy needed to work on several area's before the season starts in a few weeks time. Hopefully the team can build on the positives when they continue their pre season preparations at home to Clifton on Saturday. 

 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (6)
2. Luke Morgan (6)
4. Mark Jennings (6)
5. Andrew Wren (6)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (6)
9. Ian Hammett (6)
11. Craig Baker (6)
13. Nathan Morris (6)
15. Daniel Bailey (6)
16. David Gill (6)

Subs:

3. Ryan Gregory (6)
20. Darren Gipson (6)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Craig Baker
1 x Ryan Gregory

Assists:

1 x Ian Hammett
1 x Andrew Wren
1 x Craig Baker

 

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