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Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Lidlington United Sports

Competition League - Division One
Result Lidlington United Sports 6-3 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 08 October 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm
Attendance32

Match Report

Sandy travelled to top of the table Lidlington United Sports today looking to disrupt their hosts 100% start to the season. With Natan Morris injured last week against Ickwell, Luke Morgan agreed to deputise. Other than not having a first choice keeper, manager Ian Hammett had a full squad at his disposal with tricky decisions of who to start.

Matt Gedney was given the nod at left back ahead of Shane Pope and Rob Tapley returned to the starting line up after an injury lay off. After a strong performance last week for the reserves Olly Banfield returned to the first team squad as well. Conditions were far from ideal, as the typical October weather had taken hold and the sunny skys had given way to grey clouds and strong winds. Lidligntons pitch was also far from favourable with holes and cracks all over it and being on a slope.

The hosts started the stronger of the sides as they moved the ball around well and pulled Sandy all over the place, but Morgan was untroubled in goal as long shots and poor through passes failed to find their mark. Staf did fashion an early chance for Sandy though as a long ball from JJ at centre back bounced awkwardly in the box and Staf tried to lob the keeper but the ball just went over the bar. Despite having their backs to the wall Sandy were looking solid until a mix up between Tappers and Beally allowed a home midfielder to take control of the ball and slot a through ball into the forward who calmly placed the ball past Morgan to give the home side a lucky lead.

It has been typical of Sandys season so far that they have made mistakes that have gifted the opposition goals and once again they were going to be asked to come from behind. It took Sandy until mid way through the half to begin to establish themselves in the contest. The ref wasn't helping the flow of the game as he was giving the most ridiculous free kicks all over the park and both sides were becoming increasingly frustrated with him. Sandy were awarded two free kicks on the edge of the box, the first Tappers curled over the bar and the second from slightly closer was curled against the post by Ian Hammett when it looked to have beaten the keeper.

Lidlington were enjoying more possession but the back four were starting to get to grips with them although Gedders was having a torrid time at left back, and the Sandy midfield struggled to get hold of the ball and make an impact meaning the Staf and Hammett were very isolated. Sandy eventually found the equaliser though. Beally drilled a free kick to the right wing where Matt Evans headed the ball down into the box and Staf volleyed the ball into the ground and past the keeper into the far corner. This goal started a period of dominance for the visitors wheer they established some fluency to their play.

Staf fired a shot over the bar from range and Sandy were given a couple of free kicks that Hammet tried to whip into the box. from One free kick Chris Nicholls tried an audacious bicycle kick. Although he connected well the ball flew well high and wide. Lidlington were still dangerous but Morgan was relatively untroubled, JJ and Phil were keeping the forwwards under wraps and covering well, with Jennings trying to break things up in midfield. 

The midfield was working hard but Matt Evans stood out on the right flank as he constantly looked to trouble the full back and he and Richard were forming a formidable partnership on the right flank. Although Sandy like to play flowing football it was a route on ball that gave them a surprise half time lead. The ball was pumped forwards and Staf flicked it on. Hammett ran onto it, took a touch and then toe poked the ball into the bottom corner past the advancing keeper. This meant that Sandy went in with a tough hard fought 2-1 lead at half time.

Hammett stressed during the break that everyone needed to stay switched on so that they could hold onto their lead unlike last week where they had capitulated against Ickwell from the same position. The half started well as Sandy battled hard and again looked  solid against the home side who just seemed to like to lump the ball forwards and use their aerial threat to create opportunities. Sandy were trying to get the ball to Hammett and Staf up front but there was very little opportunity.

Ten minutes into the half and Lidlington were level as they took advantage of winning the second ball as they had done all afternoon to break through on goal and slot the ball past helpless Morgan. Then to strike another hammer blow they were ahead minutes later as again the long ball game payed dividends and they got in behind to slot the ball past Morgan with a couple of Sandy players missing challenges that normally they would of made. The Big man in goal then had to make a couple of saves that kept the goal score at 3-2.

Not long after going behind though and the visitors were back level. Matt Evans launched a long throw into the box and both Staf and Beally challenged for the ball. Beally reacted quickly from the knock down to make up for an earlier error by slotting the ball home from an acute angle to make it 3-3. This again spurred Sandy on as the game ebbed and flowed. Sandy won a corner which Hammett drove in, but Richard Seldon could only head the ball wide of the far post. Hammett then swung in a free kick from half way which Jennings couldn't quite get on the end of.

Sandy then harshly had a freekick awarded against them on the edge of the box, when the ref had missed the initial foul from a Lidlington player. Unfortunately Morgan got his positioning slightly wrong and the home side curled the freekick past him and into the net to give the home side the lead again. Sandy then seemed to just fall to pieces as they looked to try and get back into the game, but left themselves horribly exposed at the back.

Manager Hammett made changes bringing on Pope, Seward and Banfield but all struggled to make an impact as the visitors were up against it. Banfield hardly touched the ball on the left wing for the time he was on the pitch. Lidlington made it 5-3 soon after and then Phil Beall piced up a booking for shouting 'take him out' as a player ran through. The ref took exception to that and brandished a yellow card even though Beally was obviously just asking the guy 'out for a meal and fiddle in his pants' (Beally's own words). However that indecent proposal will cost Phil £12.

With the game winding down the home side compounded Sandy's misery with a 6th goal, which left the visitors feeling dejeected and embarrassed. From a strong position at half time Sandy once again were the cause of their downfall with some woeful performances as a team defensively and little cutting edge or flowing football as they pushed forwards. It was a performance rarely seen from the men in purple and manager Ian Hammett felt it was the worst performance he had seen in his time in charge of the side.

Sandy will now look to bounce back next week when bottom of the table Kempston pay them a visit at Bedford Road recreation ground and manager Ian Hammett hopes that they can improve their form over the coming weeks to reestablish themselves as a force to be reckoned with within this league. However to achieve this there will need to be a much improved performance from the whole team. Final Score 3 - 6.

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (6)
2. Richard Seldon (7)
2. Luke Morgan (6)
3. Matt Evans (7)
4. Mark Jennings (6)
7. Rob Tapley (6)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (6)
9. Ian Hammett (6)
17. Phil Beall (6)
18. Chris Nicholls (6)

Subs:

3. Shane Pope (6)
4. Charlie Seward (6)
13. Olly Banfield (6)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Ian Hammett
1 x Phil Beall

Assists:

2 x Matt Evans
1 x Daniel Stafford

Man of the Match:

2. Richard Seldon

Booked:

17. Phil Beall

 

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