Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Lea Sports PSG

Competition League - Division 1
Result Lea Sports PSG 0-2 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 08 September 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Following an opening day defeat at the hands of Shillington, Sandy could be forgiven for feeling a sense of Deja vu as once again on a roasting hot day and with a limited squad they travelled to Lea Sports PSG for the second fixture of the season just as they had during their 2011/12 campaign. That result brought the boys from Sandy a 1-1 draw to open their points tally and Manager Ian Hammett would probably of settled for a point today after having terrible trouble fielding a side.

Missing no fewer than 10 1st Team squad members Hammett was forced to ring the changes. Dan Stafford whose imminent departure to Flitwick Town was in the background agreed to play in goal in the absence of Pally, Nathan and new signing Ryan Grant. However Andrew Wren damaged his knee midweek and took over the gloves with Staf slotting into centre back alongside Morgan. Ryan Burgess was called up and given a start on the left after impressing in pre season and Chris Nicholls was handed the lone strikers role. With only 11 players, Hammett was forced to don a kit and play the role of substitute for the afternoon as Ryan Gregory was struggling with Man Flu and was unlikely to last the 90 minutes. It was a threadbare side but one that was determined to get the right result.

Their hosts seemed to have a few new players from last season however they were always going to be a tough test as they are well organisd and pressure the ball well. This cetainly impacted the opening stages of the contest as neither team settled well and the first few minutes were scrappy at best as each team seemed to give the ball away a little too easily. Sandy were trying to play some football and at times were moving the ball well but then they would lose concentration and play an errant pass or make a poor decision. PSG would then threaten to break, but the makeshift back four of Banfield, Staf, Morgan and Pope was winning all the challenges and cutting out the through balls. The only notable action in those early minutes was a one two between Baker and Burgess before Baker went on a run down the right flank beating two players and then delivering a cross that Ryan Gregory couldn't quite get onto.

Lea Sports had the best chance to take the lead on 18 minutes when a long ball over the top caught out the back four and the striker was through one on one with Wrenny. The stand in keeper rushed out to narrow the angle and the striker fired horribly wide as Morgan and Staf tried to recover. There was some Banter between forward and Keeper, as the PSG player told Wrenny to ' just wait for my next effort'... Wrenny didn't have to wait long though as Morgan missed a long clearance and he was in again. Much to Wren's amusement the finish was even worse than the first time and sailed further wide. The striker wasn't having a good day.

The warning kickstarted Sandy and they began to play some better football. A nice move down the left flank with Gregory, Baker and Nicholls combining resulted in Gregory drilling a cross in and finding Banfield at the back post who had snuck up from right back. His effort was blocked away for a corner though. The resulting corner caused a scramble in the box and Banners was once agin involved as the ball broke to him but his side foot shot was blocked away. The ball fell to Nicholls but his shot on the turn went wide. PSG tried to play the goal kick out from the back and play broke down with Staf, Nicholls and Baker having a nice exchange on the edge of the box, before Baker decided to shoot from range rather than dribble into the box and he fired well wide.

Burgess on his first competitive start was having an outstanding game on the right flank and was causing their full back no end of trouble. He immediately looked settled in the 1st team and made a penetrating run turning the full back inside out before fidning Ryan Gregory with a cross. Gregory's shot was blocked away for another corner. Burgess was again involved as he created an opportunity for Bailey to shoot from distance, but unfortunately he dragged his shot wide. It was impressive work from the player who seemed to be making a seamless step up to division 1 football. 

Although they were now dominating the game Sandy were struggling to create clear cut chances to make their dominance count. Thankfully they got a little bit of luck as a PSG player inadvertantly handled the ball in a dangerous position just on the edge of the box about 22 yards out and central. Chris Nicholls stepped up and curled a wonderful free kick over the wall and against the underside of the bar, it rebounded out and hit the back of the keeper before Staf reacted quickly and rushed in to power the ball home. There was some debate about the scorer, with the Ref and Sharon Seldon saying it was Staf's goal but he credited it to Nicholls for his stats. Either way it was a wonderful free kick that gave the keeper no chance and was well deserving of the goal. Unlike the previous week Sandy had finally taken a chance and they led 1-0.

PSG came out pressing and Sandy had to work hard to resist. Staf and Morgan were working well together with some strong defending and Banfield and Pope were also keepng the wingers quiet. Wreny was a virtual spectator during the first period, only taking a few goal kicks and starting off play from the back. It was a hard scrappy half but at the whistle Sandy led 1-0.

The hosts started the second half strongly and dominated for the opening 5 -10 minutes as Sandy were pinned back in their own half and restricted to attempted counter attacks. PSG won an early corner and from that had a free header that was directed over. They then had another glorious chance to draw level as their tricky striker got in behind but under pressure from Staf and with Wrenny narrowing the angle he failed to score as Wren saved well with one hand. The centre back come goalkeeper had looked solid all afternoon and this was no exception.

Sandy needed to have confidence in their keeper as they were coming under increasing pressure, but the whole team worked hard as a unit and soon established themselves back in the contest. Again though they were lacking slightly in the final ball and were unable to work the keeper. Craig Baker almost had an opportunity to round him as he intercepted a back pass but the keeper did well to palm the ball away. Nicholls and Baker were causing havoc and Bailey and Jennings were breaking up play in the middle of the park picking up lots of loose balls.

The game was getting very close and PSG threatened to get in behind the back four, only the offside flag saved the away side a couple of times and the alertness of Wreny the others to come out and narrow the angle. One such time wrenny raced out and saved well at the feet of the on rushing striker when it looked for all te world like he might level the scores. I was obvious that Sandy were going to need that second goal and with time ticking away they didn't want to be punished. With Gregory struggling because of his flu, Hammett rolled the dice and put himself on with twenty minutes to go to get some fresh legs on the pitch.

The change made an immediate impact. Burgess made a storming run down the right and cut inside finding Chris Nicholls, Nicholls delivered a wicked ball into the box and with Hammett commanding the attention of the defender, Jennings arrived unmarked at the back post and stretched out his leg getting a toe to the ball directing it right into the bottom far corner and giving the keeper absolutely no chance. It was a splendid move and a great finish which doubled Sandy's lead and effectiely won them the game.

PSG then enjoyed most of the possesion as Sandy sat back and tried to pick them off. Hammett and Nicholls had a nice exchange that almost resulted in Nicholls bursting clear, and Tthe duo combined again after a corner to set up Bailey who took his time and picked his spot only for the keeper to hold his shot. PSG were trying to get back into it and would have if Staf hadn't made a great block from six yards out taking the ball off the strikers toes. Chris Nicholls for all his attacking work then made a wonderful challenge on the edge of the box to stop a treatening attack. Everyone in purple was putting their body on the line. The returning Hammett did have one chance as Bailey played him in behind the back four, controlling the ball on his chest he the fired a left foot shot over the PSG keeper who was scrambling to recover, only to be full of relief as the ball curled just wide of the far post.

Sandy saw out the remainig minutes in style and avoided dropping points in what could prove to be a vital win. Ryan Burgess was handed MOTM for his all round performance in a tough game and Manager Ian Hammett was happy that the team were off the mark points wise before two tough fixtures. He will be hoping to have some regulars back and fit, but they may have to wait their turn as the 12 who played today certainly did their chances of retaining their places in the side no harm. Three points and a clean sheet is a good afternoons work. Final Score 2-0 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
3. Ryan Gregory (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
5. Andrew Wren (8)
7. Ryan Burgess (8)
11. Craig Baker (8)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
15. Daniel Bailey (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


9. Ian Hammett (7)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Chris Nicholls
1 x Mark Jennings


1 x Chris Nicholls

Man of the Match:

7. Ryan Burgess


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