Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Kings AFC

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-1 Kings AFC
Date Saturday 31 March 2012
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Following last weeks superb cup result it was a return to league action for Sandy today as they entertained relegation battling Kings AFC. With the home side currently on a poor run of league form they hoped to kick start their league form against the visitors who had been beaten 4-1 in the reverse fixture.

Manager Ian Hammett warned against complacency and went with the same starting 11 that had performed so well in the cup. John Joe had to be content with a place on the bench alongside Yossi and Charlie. Manager Ian Hammett was keen to secure the win before giving the fringe players a real chance to prove themselves, although this was never going to turn out as planned.

The tone of the afternoon was pretty much set when Sandy gave the ball away straight from the kick off. Although this came to nothing, it proved to be the theme of the afternoon as although Sandy closed down Kings AFC they wasted the ball whilst in possession, with the final ball being wasted and not causing the visitors too many problems.

The game was very scrappy as both teams struggled with the hard bobbly pitch, first touches were getting away from players and passes were going astray. Sandy's back four were working hard to snuff out any threat although Matt Evans had a couple of dicey moments where he lost possession. Phil Beall, Richard Seldon and Shane Pope were solid as was Evans, but Beall made a couple of last ditch challenges to keep the  clean sheet in tact.

Sandys first chance fell to Ian Hammett who latched onto a through ball from Dan Stafford. Hammett got ahead of the defender but with the keeper in no mans land he hit his lob too hard and it sailed over. Sandy were starting to get a bit of football going but they were far from their fluent selves as Rob Tapley and Chris Nicholls struggled to get on the ball and Banfield was having little joy down the right. Kings AFC were still trying to play their football and they hit the cross bar twice; the first with a dipping curling effort that looped over Pally and the second time with a cross shot that looked to be sailing over. These were warning shots as the visitors were getting in regularly but last ditch blocks were saving the day. Phil Beall made one such block as Kings looked destined to score. Pally was having a solid game in the sticks and was tested regularly by long shots that he held well on each occasion. Quickly getting play moving then by releasing the ball early.

Dan Stafford who was being starved of service then took the mantle himself as he dribbled through most of the Kings side, powering into their half and their box but he dragged his shot past the far post agonisingly just too far in front of Hammett who flung himself at the ball. Tappers then did the same as he picked up the ball in midfield and powered into the box this time forcing a great save from the Kings keeper who tipped the ball wide.

Sandy were starting to get into the game now and Rob Tapley tried an audacious volley from 30 yards out that sailed well wide. Hammett then went close with a header from a Banfield cross, nodding it towards the far post Staf couldn't quite reach it to divert it goal wards. Staf then almost got in as Tappers threaded the ball through to him, but after a good first touch he could only stab the ball wide under pressure.

The home sides best chance of the half fell to the unlikely source of right back Richard Seldon. Some great play down the left between Pope, Nicholls and Hammett resulted in Nicholls switching the play and the ball finding Seldon in the box in all sorts of space. He took a touch and bore down on goal, but with only the keeper to beat he fired well wide. With the half ticking down Sandy thought they were in as Hammett was released down the right and they had 2 on 1 but just as Hammett crossed the ball to Staf the referee blew his half time whistle instead of letting the attack finish. This really summed up Sandy's first half performance and they knew they would have to lift it in the 2nd half. Half time 0-0.

The second half took a similar pattern to the first as again the home side struggled to impose themselves. Despite Kings being poor at the back Sandy couldn't get Staf or Hammett in on goal and they were becoming more and more frustrated as a side as they couldn't find their groove. Chirs Nicholls and Shane Pope were working hard down the left wing trying to make things happen and Richard Seldon following his first half chance was also looking to still get forward as much as possible.

It was the final ball though time and time again that was letting the home side down and the home fans were becoming restless, even the usually quiet KJ could be heard telling Sandy how bad they were and how her mum Sue was better than all of us! not far wrong on todays performance so far. Matt Evans and Phil Beall were defending solidly and clearing most things away and Mark Jennings although visably limping with injury was still putting a shift in and trying to support the attack as much as possible. 

Kings were always looking to capitalise and sensed that they could get something out of the match.  They had a succession of corners that looked like they coudl casue problems but Sandy were concentrating and getting the ball away well. Pally was again claiming things well and ensuring that he relieved the pressure with some good safe hands.

Sandy though they were in on goal after about ten minutes of the half as a ball over the top released Staf and he deftly lobbed the keeper to give Sandy the lead, only to hear the ref blow his whistle as the linesman had flagged for offside even though it appeared that Staf had run from his own half. The ref compounded the confusion by just allowing Kings to take the kick from the wrong place mentioning to manager Hammett that 'one of you must have been off!!' well done ref! Hammett freshened things up by brngin on JJ for Oly on the right and he treid his best to influence the game, winning headers and getting involved in breaking up the play. It wasn't long after he came on that Sandy took the lead. Mark Jennings burst from midfield and with Hammett and Staf splitting right and left he chose to thread the ball through to Staf who took one touch and then stabbed the ball past the keeper and into the top corner to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

This seemed to relax the home side and they pushed on looking for number two. Chris Nicholls drove forwards on a trademark run and this time found Tappers who went between the centre backs, It was a great chance for the Sandy midfielder but his toe poke was saved well by the keepers legs and away for a corner. From the resulting corner JJ rose the highest but he couldn't quite connect cleanly with the header and the defence cleared the ball away. Before Sandy's next chance Pally made his best save of the game as Phil Beall gave away a free kick with a horrendous tackle on the Kings player which earned him his second booking of the season. From the free kick the Kings player drilled the ball at the wall and it deflected off Hammetts head and spun towards goal but Pally scrambled across and tipped the ball around the post well.

Tappers was replaced by Seward to give the home side some fresh legs and then Staf had a great chance to make it 2-0 and kill the game as the Kings keeper cleared the bal straight to Sandy's leading scorer. Although the keeper recovered Staf had all the time in the world to try and steer it past him, but he stood big and somehow managed to save the ball and tip it away for a corner much to everyones disbelief. Going on the them of the afternoon Sandy were destined to be punished for this and they duely were with five minutes to go. A freekick was conceeded just outside the box and the KIngs player cleverly put it inot the corridor of uncertainty between the back four and Pally, Nicholls let his runner go and the with eveyone appealing for offside he beat the trap and lobbed the ball over Pally who couldn't get there before him to equalise. To Sandy's horror the linesman flag didn't go up and Kings had levelled the game. 

Nathan Morris came on for the last few minutes to replace Hammett as the home side tried to find a winner, but they couldn't as again even though they got into attacking positions their final ball let them down. It was a frustrating afternoon and an anti climax after such a great reslt the previous week. It now leaves Sandy looking over their shoulders with FC Meppershall closing in on them in fifth place. Sandy need to rediscover their league form and quickly if they are to build momentum before their cup final at the start of may. Final score 1-1. 


Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (6)
1. Daniel Stafford (6)
2. Richard Seldon (6)
3. Matt Evans (6)
3. Shane Pope (6)
4. Mark Jennings (6)
7. Rob Tapley (6)
9. Ian Hammett (6)
13. Olly Banfield (6)
17. Phil Beall (6)
18. Chris Nicholls (6)


4. Charlie Seward (6)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (6)
13. Nathan Morris (6)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Daniel Stafford


1 x Mark Jennings

Man of the Match:

1. Mark Pallister


17. Phil Beall

Match Photos - Match Action: Sandy vs Kings AFC 31/3/2012

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