Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Kings AFC

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 6-2 Kings AFC
Date Saturday 05 January 2013
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Sandy started 2013 as they had finished 2012 with a fixture against Kings AFC, originally no game was planned but due to the awful weather post Christmas the game was rearranged. With the pitch being declared fit to play on friday, the home side knew that they were going to have an excellent chance to extend their winning run to four games and start to climb the table. Following the transfer over the festive period of Dave Lenton back to Caldecote 1st Team, all 14 players were available to manager Ian Hammett and he shuffled the pack a little with Burgess earning a start on the flank in the place of Banfield and Hammett restored to the starting line up ahead of Nathan Morris.

Having not played since the 8th December rustiness was always going to be a concern and the home side were cautioned against it, and the pitch was never going to help the game be a free flowing game of beautiful football. From the off it was apparent that Kings meant business, with a larger squad than prior to Christmas and arriving very early they took that momentum into the game and started brightly. Depsite the sluggish start, Sandy took an early lead after being awarded a clear penalty. Ryan Gregory was fouled for the first of many times on the left flank, and from the resulting freekick, Phil Beall was manhandled in the box as he attempted to get on the end of Hammett's delivery. The ref gave the spot kick and Hammett duely converted it sending the keeper the wrong way and giving Sandy what appeared to be the perfect start.

The goal though galvanised Kings into action and it was the only positive that Sandy could have for the next twenty minutes as the visitors dominated almost every facet of the game. Unbelievably they were winning every header, getting to every second ball and playing like they had an extra man on the pitch and this was epitomised by the fact that within two minutes they were level, with a flowing move that went the length of the pitch before finding an open player who slotted the ball home past Mark Pallister in the Sandy goal. With the home side still reeling from the goal Kings pushed on, battling hard and ensuring they were in the ascendancy. Sandy just weren't able to get a foothold in the game and were obviously suffering a bit of a post Christmas hangover which the visitors took full advantage of, to find themselves 2-1 up after trailling 1-0. The second goal came again after a nice piece of play between the four attacking players, culminating in their right winger reacting first to a loose ball to slot home past Seldon who was desperately trying to cover on the line.

Sandy knew that they would have to lift their performance and slowly but surely they started to play football. JJ and Gilly started to win tackles in the middle of the park, Beally and Wrenny looked back to their usual composed selves and Hammett and Jennings were beginning to find space to bring Burgess and Gregory into the game. The two wingers started to enjoy the afternoon and began to cause no end of problems with their movement and youthful entusiasm. The more problems they caused though the more kicks they received as both were the victim of some dubious challenges and the ref began to show that he wasn't up for the challenge of a spicy game as he made some strange decisions. This caused both sides to become more and more infuriated with the official and tempers were beginning to boil over. 

Sandy were coping the better though and Burgess and Hammett combined to win the home sides first corner of the game. Sandy made it count almost made it count though as Hammett found Jennnings at the back post but he couldn't bundle it home. This showed a weakness at set pieces from Kings and the home side took full advantage minutes later when from the second corner of the afternoon Hammett drilled the ball in finding the head of Beally who rose higher than his marker to powerfully head home and level the scores. This rattled Kings and from the kick off they somehow conceeded another corner, this time from Hammett's delivery the ball broke to Gilly who could only weakly direct his header into the arms of the grateful keeper who was rooted to the spot. 

Challenges rather than goalmouth action were now the order of the day as both sides didn't give any quarter, freekicks were awarded left right and centre and the ref began booking people for dissent rather than poor tackles. Kings took one such freekick quickly and got in behind the Sandy back four only for Pally to make a good one on one save. Gilly then had another chance to put Sandy in the lead, as from a Hammett freekick Jennings brought the ball down and laid it into his path, but in his excitement he shot over from 12 yards. As Kings lost their composure more and more, Sandy's back four looked more and more solid. Seldon, Beally, Wren and Pope were showing the form that had ensured they only conceeded once in the previous three games as they out fought, thought and played the visiting players shutting the door on numerous occassions. JJ and Gilly had also sorted out the centre of the park and the team were in a much better shape, snuffing out any long balls that were being played by Kings and then using Hammett as a platform to get up the pitch. Burgess had a couple of efforts on goal after exchanges with Hammett but the keeper held each shot well. Gregory worked his way into the box a couple of times winning corners or forcing last ditch clearances and Jennings was working higher up the pitch breaking up play.

That being said there were not many clear cut chances for either side as the half came to a close at porbably the right time as tempers were becoming more fraid especially from the visitors. However a less than convincing performance from Sandy in the first half had the scores all square with everything to play for in the second half. Half time 2-2.

In a relegation battle it is down to the team that wants it more to get the results and Sandy knew that they wanted it more than the visitors and the half time message was to get out there and prove it and put clear daylight between themselves and Kings AFC in both the game and the league table. The visitors still seemed rattled after the first half altercations with the ref and Sandy took full advantage immediatley pressing and taking the upper hand in the contest.  The home side looked like a different side in the second period and it was only going to be a matter of time before they took the lead.

Hammett had the best of the early chances as following a poor freekick the ball was launched back into the Kings box. Jennnings knocked the ball down to Hammett who took one touch and then fired goalwards only to be denied by the legs of the keeper who saved well. The keeper was in action again soon, as Burgess broke free and the keeper was again brave diving at the wingers feet in a 50/50 challenge. It was always going to be from set pieces though that the home side could apply the most pressure and soon the pressure told on Kings AFC.

Once again the home side caused problems from a corner as Wrenny got on the end of Hammett's cross, but once again the visitors managed to block the effort and scramble the ball clear. However this time it was to no avail as the ball broke straight back out to Hammett. He took a touch and dinked the ball back in, finding an unmarked Wrenny who this time made no mistake and headed the ball into the roof of the net to give Sandy a well deserved 3-2 lead. Despite their dominance just after finally taking the lead Kings managed to counter attack and would of been through on goal had it not been for a magnificent challenge by Shane Pope as he covered in behind Beally and Wren. This was the warning that Sandy needed to refocus their minds and re-establish themselves.

Burgess who had once again had an outstanding game was replaced by Banfield as Sandy looked to bring some fresh legs to proceedings and Banfield was immediately into the action as he launched a long throw into the box that caused some confusion before the visitors managed to scramble the ball away. The ball broke to Gregory on the left and he drifted inside before firing a shot which was well held by the Kings keeper, who was having a solid game. 

JJ was winning everything in the middle of the park, and this was allowing Jennings to have more space in behind Hammett. These two combined to create the next best opportunity as Jennings broke into the box and then found Hammett who drifted past the last defender before choosing to square the ball rather than shoot himself. He had been looking for Gregory, but the defender managed to recover to half block the ball and then clear the ball away under pressure from the Sandy youngster. The chances were coming thick and fast again now, with Gilly again missing out as he fluffed an opportunity from a few yards following another goalmouth scramble from a Sandy corner. It was surely going to happen at some point that the Sandy man would get on the score sheet and just after the 65 min mark he did exactly that. Beally drilled a freekick into the Kings AFC box from halfway and the ball fell to Wrenny, his effort was blocked, but he managed to smuggle to ball to Gilly in a challenge and he made no mistake byt chipping the ball over the helpless keeper to make it 4-2.

Ryan Gregory who had worked tirelessly was replaced by Nathan Morris, and then Jennings who had had another solid game was replaced by Juicy as Sandy switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation. The next chance though was almost created by Beally who went on a run down the right flank beating four players before delivering a cross that just went over Hammett's head at the back post. Sandy's two new introductions combined almost immediately after and Nathan thought he had scored within moments only to be denied by the offside flag. It wasn't going to be long though and the Sandy striker tried to create his own chance as he broke from deep and beat three players before being squeezed out as he tried to shoot. Juicy was casuing problems with his pace and strength too and was eager to impress and he latched onto a through ball from Gilly to race away from the defence. As he looked like he would round the keeper he instead passed to Morris who slotted the ball home into the empty net to kill of any further resistance from Kings.

The strangest moment of the game was still to come though, whether through skill or luck we will never know but Hammett released Juicy in behind the right back and he delivered a wicked ball into the box which somehow Banners got on the end of. However it was unconvential as he appeared to slip/trip and fall to the floor before spinning and swinging out his heel to deflect the ball past an amazed keeper and into the bottom corner of the net. 6-2 Sandy. It was a comedy moment, but no less than Sandy had deserved. A late effort from Niko Stanchev for Kings which Pally held well was all the visitors had to show for those closing stages as Sandy had completely nullified their opponents to put on an excellent second half show and take all three points.

This extended Sandy's winning run to four games and they will hope to continue this when they visit Brickhill Tigers next week. Final Score 6-2. 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (9)
2. Richard Seldon (9)
3. Ryan Gregory (9)
3. Shane Pope (9)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
5. Andrew Wren (9)
7. Ryan Burgess (9)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (9)
9. Ian Hammett (9)
16. David Gill (9)
17. Phil Beall (9)


13. Nathan Morris (9)
13. Olly Banfield (9)
15. Paul Chamberlain (9)

Goal Scorers:

1 x David Gill
1 x Phil Beall
1 x Olly Banfield
1 x Ian Hammett
1 x Nathan Morris
1 x Andrew Wren


2 x Ian Hammett
2 x Paul Chamberlain
1 x Andrew Wren
1 x Phil Beall

Man of the Match:

8. John-Joe Pekszyc


5. Andrew Wren


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