Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Kings AFC

Competition League - Division One
Result Kings AFC 1-4 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 05 November 2011
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Sandy travelled to newly promoted Kings AFC looking to pick up their third league win in a row, and the visitors knew it would be a difficult afternoon when they were informed on arrival that there wasn't going to be a proper official for todays game. The Kings Manager offered to officiate the first half and Colin Osborne took over duties from half time. Both KJ and Sharon Seldon were offered the chance to ref, but surprsingly both refused, can't think why. This was never going to be ideal for either team and certainly didn't help a scrappy game get any better.

The pitch was also going to cause problems as it was a typical village hall pitch with long grass and bobbles everywhere. With conditions not ideal either Sandy were always going to struggle to play a flowing brand of football that they have become used to displaying. That being said though they did start the brighter of the two sides and dominated the early exchanges.

However the football being played was scrappy at best and Sandy's radar seemed to be off with most of their passes. That being the case they did take an early lead as some good work between Rob Tapley and Dan Stafford created an opening. The initial shot was charged down, but Ian Hammett reacted to keep the ball in play. He dinked the ball back into the six yard box where Staf rose to head the ball home under pressure. This led to Sandy putting Kings under all sorts of pressure and they struggled to get out of their own half. Winning a succession of throw ins Matt Evans pounded the box and Staf almost added a second as he won a near post header, but the ball just looped over the bar.

Sandy then won a couple of corners, the first one Hammett curled in under the bar, but the keeper just got a finger to it at the last minute to steer it away. Hammett then played a short corner one two with Chris Nicholls, then shanked the return perfectly with his left foot to Jennings on the edge of the area whose first time volley flew through a crowd of players, but the keeper saved well with his feet. Hammett then had a third corner, which he curled in and hit the bar with, but no one reacted to tap the ball home and Kings AFC cleared.

The hosts then got back into the contest and started to pressure the Sandy backline. Missing both JJ and Shane, with Gedders missing in action, Luke Morgan started at centre back and Matt Evans switched to left back. They took a while to settle and with the Kings AFC players cheating Sandy lost their shape and gave the ball away repeatedly. The home side where winning all of the second balls and they fired a couple of warning shots wide of the Sandy goal. They then made the visitors pay for some slack defending as the played a nice move through the back line and their forward finished well in off the far post leaving Nathans Morris no chance.

Sandy then came under siege as Manager Ian Hammett changed the formation to 4-5-1 to try and stem the flow. Moving Chris Nicholls into the centre alongside Tappers and Jennings and moving himself to the right. This seemed to offer a little more solidity but Kings still pushed forwards. Morris made an excellent save from a long range shot that took a deflection as he tipped it round the post, and then he was again called into action to save well from a free kick that was twenty yards out, spilling the first atempt he recovered well to smother the ball.

Phil Beall was trying his best to launch attacks for the home side as he regularly stepped out from the back, but Sandy were static and offered few options. This meant that the visitors tried tough through balls to Staf giving him little chance of getting on the end of it. Tappers, Jennings, and Nicholls worked hard in the middle but were regularly bypassed with long balls and Hammett and Smith struggled to get into the game on the flanks. With about fifteen minutes left in the half a defensive howler by the Kings centre back gave Sandy the lead. Nathan Morris took a long goal kick and the defender missed his header, leaving it for the keeper. Staf gambled and took the ball under control before sliding it calmly past the advancing keeper. It was the bit of luck that Sandy needed after a tough half.

After the goal they settled a little better and managed to compete with their hosts for the rest of the half without really creating any opportunities. They also managed to shackle the home side and Nathan was untroubled for the rest of the half. Half time 2-1.

Some frank exchanges were had at half time between the players as no one was happy with a very poor first half performance and Sandy knew that they would have to raise there game to match the hosts and take anything from the contest. Despite some nice football right at the start of the half though they came under some real pressure and had Nathan to thank for keeping them in the lead as he made three outstanding saves. Kings managed to get in behind the back line and their left winger was causing all sorts of problems. He created the first opportunity as he found their forward, who fird a terrific shot at goal which Morris somehow tipped amazingly over the bar with his brand new gloves!!

Morris then made a great point blank one on one save, and then tipped another effort over the bar with a superb stop as he excelled in the Sandy goal. Kings were having corner after corner but Sandy did defend well and gradually they began to get into the contest again. Baker came on for Brad Smith and Pally who was making his first appearance for the 1st team since getting injured against Turvey in pre season made his return as Nathan was replaced.

Baker was making an immediate impact down the left flank, causing his defender all sorts of problems. Matt Evans was also beginning to get more space as well. Tappers was finding the gaps between midfield and defence and Chris was working hard to give options in midfield. The turning point of the game really game as Kings centre back got accidently injured in a challenge with Hammett.. yes you read that right Ian Hammett injured someone in a challenge. Sandy took advantage of the struggling player almost immediately though and Matt Evans played a perfectly wieghted through ball into Stafs path. Staf intial effort was saved by the keeper, but the rebound fell to him and he toe poked the ball home to complete his hat trick at the second time of asking.

This third goal settled Sandy and they began to play some really nice football. Baker almost added a fourth after Tappers, Seldon, Hammett and Staf combined to release Chris Nicholls down the right flank. Nicholls floated in a lovely ball, but Baker could only steer his volley wide of the mark. Staf had a chance to add a fourth as well, but he headed wide under pressure from a Hammett corner. Jennings was the next player to have a chance as Baker nodded back a Hammett cross to Jennings who headed over from four yards out.

The fourth goal was coming and eventually it arrived after some great work form Craig Baker. He found himself on the right and twisted and turned before crossing. Staf flicked the ball on to find Matt Evans at the back post, he stabbed the ball home past a hopelessly exposed Kings Keeper. Although this goal effectively killed the game off, the home side must be credited for still fighting hard.

Pally wasn't particularly busy, but he did have to stand and admire one shot that came back off the far post after a great run and shot from the left winger who jinked his way past three players before shooting. However this was their only real chance of any note as the minutes closed down. Despite a few dicey moments Morgan stood strong at centre back heading the ball away and putting his big tree tunk leg through the ball to clear it. Beally was still trying to rampage forwards as was Seldonn who almost created a chance of a fifth for Rob Tapley, but he over hit his cross.

With the clock winding down Hammett had a chance to score a fifth, but he scuffed his volley horribly at the back past and it went well wide. Tappers then almost got the chance he deserved, but as he won the ball with Staf and looked to be through on goal he pulled up with cramp which could only of been down to the heavy pitch taking it's toll on his little legs. Sandy though couldn't add that fifth, but it didn't matter as Colin Osborne wo had admirably reffed the second half under pressure from the Kings players throughout blew the final whistle and Sandy took 3 points from a hard fought yet not pretty contest. Manager Ian Hammett will hope for an improved performance next week at Luton Old Boys, but in any case a win is a win. Final score 4-1

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Richard Seldon (7)
2. Luke Morgan (7)
3. Matt Evans (7)
4. Mark Jennings (7)
5. Brad Smith (7)
7. Rob Tapley (7)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
13. Nathan Morris (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (7)


1. Mark Pallister (7)
11. Craig Baker (8)

Goal Scorers:

3 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Matt Evans


1 x Nathan Morris
1 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Matt Evans
1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

13. Nathan Morris


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