Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Lidlington United Sports

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 2-2 Lidlington United Sports
Date Saturday 25 February 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy faced their second top of the table clash in two weeks as they entertained Lidlington at Bedford Road Rec. Manager Ian Hammett was faced with several selection dilemmas prior to kick off as no fewer than five regular 1st Team squad players were missing. Luke Morgan was handed a start at centre back with JJ moving to left back to fill in for the absent Shane Pope. Olly Banfield was given a start on the left wing after a strong performance last week and Charlie Seward was returning to the line up alongside Staf as the home side switched back to their usual 4-4-2 formation.

This was going to be a game where everyone needed to lift their performance and prove their worth to the 1st team squad in order to keep a place in the starting line up and it was apparent from kick off that Sandy meant business as they immediately set about imposing themselves on the visitors. Settling back into their usual formation Chris Nicholls and Mark Jennings dominated the middle of the park and Phil Beall and Luke Morgan smothered the Lidlington front line. This ensured that JJ and Banners on the left and Seldon and Hammett on the right were afforded plenty of space that they began to use effectively. Seward was also playing a pivotal role as he held the ball up bringing the midfield runners into play and causing the visiting side all sorts of problems.

Despite the nice football that was being played, it was a long ball that led to the opening goal of the game. Phil Beall mopped up a Lidlington attack, beat one player and then launched the ball forwards. The visiting teams back four totally mis read the flight of the ball and Staf got in behind them to latch onto the ball and the lob the keeper with a trademark finish. Sandy knew that this was just the beginning of the work that needed to be done and they continued to work hard all over the pitch as each and every player covered lots of ground. Challeneges were flying in all over the pitch and it was Richard Seldon that Sandy had to thank for keeping the score 1-0 as he flung himself in front of a shot on the edge of the box, which was heading goalbound (for evidence of his war wound please check FaceBook).

Pally was then called into action from a corner which dipped in under the bar, but the Sandy stopper punched the ball away before it could sail in. Sandy were still playing nice football and there were some nice exchanges however the Lidlington players just seemed to cut out the final ball at every opportunity. It was only going to be a matter of time before Sandy made it two goals and it was Olly Banfield who duely obliged. Sandy earned a throw on the right wing, which Hammett took to Charlie Seward. Seward laid the ball back to Hammett who crossed first time, finding Banfield in the area. Banners outjumped his defender to guide a looping header into the far corner leaving the keeper no chance.

Sandy then almost extended their lead from a couple of corners as Luke Morgan easily outjumped several players but he could only steer his headers wide as he lost the ball in the sun. Depsite his efforts on goal it was his defending that was drawing the plaudits as although he looked nervous to start with he grew into the game and made several robust challenges, winning most things in the air and defending well on the floor. Coupled with the the rest of the Sandy backline they were proving a formidbale obstical get through and Lidlington rarely threatened Pally's goal. Half time 2-0.

Lidlington were always going to respond in the second half and Sandy knew they needed to be ready. However for some reason they just didn't get going and for the first ten minutes came under increasing pressure as the visitors seemed to be first to everything. The home side were working hard to resist and they had to defend a series of corners at the start of the half although all were cleared well.

It seemed like only a matter of time before Lidlington would get on the scoresheet and eventually they did. Pally's goalkick was won unchallenged in the middle of the park and headed immediately back towards the Sandy goal. This caught out Seldon who had just got the wrong side of the Lidlington forward. He managed to get away from Seldon's harrying and fire the ball powerfully towards goal. Although Pally got hands to the ball, he couldn't keep it out and the ball travelled into the net as Phil Beall depseratley tried to reach it on to clear. This goal really got the visiting side going and Sandy came under plenty of pressure.

Seward was struggling to get into the game in the second half as Lidlington denied him possession and Staf was also cutting an isolated figure up front. He was working hard but just couldn't get free to get any shots away. Staf thought he was being fouled on several occassions but the referee who was having an interesting game decision wise constantly gave nothing much to Sandy's leading scorers frustration. Nathan 'Yossi' Morris came on to replace Seward and try and give the team some fresh legs up front.

The midfield were working hard to keep Lidlington at bay, but they just couldn't create any threat going forwards. Phil Beall was trying to step out from the back and Banfield was working hard on the left. Hammett was having nowhere near as much space in the second half either and the home side were having a tough time building a platform. That being said the back line were still keeping the visiting side quiet and Pally once again rarely had any saves to make.

With the game ticking down Sandy gave the ball away in the middle of the park and Lidlington counter attacked. Once again the visiting side had the luck at Bedford Road as JJ stepped in off the left side to challenge the forward. Getting to the ball first he tried to blast it clear only to see the ball rebound to another Lidlington player on the left side of the box. Beally desperately treid to get across but the player pulled the trigger and the ball took the smallest of deflections off Phil's boot to loop over Pally and into the net to make it 2-2 and complete a comeback.

Sandy were visibly gutted by this and Hammett took himself off and brought on Darren Gipson for fresh legs. Gippo was involved with one of his two touches setting up Banfield. Olly had gone on a one last storming run from the left, beating three players and then being tackled before receiving the ball back from Gippo who was probably shooting really. Banfield took the ball into the box but fired his shot straight at the keeper, who held the ball well. This was to be Sandy's last chance as a mazy run by Phil 'Lucio' Beall also came to nothing as he was fouled on numerous occassions.

Things almost got worse for Sandy when Lidlington scored a third goal, but there was relief all round when it was ruled out for handball. At the final whistle both teams felt unlucky as either side could of won it, and each side will be slightly disappointed that they didn't manage all three points. Manager Ian Hammett was pleased with the performance of the team and of the fringe players who gave a good account of themselves, despite not being able to hold on for the win. Final score 2-2. 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
4. Charlie Seward (8)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


13. Nathan Morris (7)
20. Darren Gipson (7)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Olly Banfield
1 x Daniel Stafford


1 x Ian Hammett
1 x Phil Beall

Man of the Match:

2. Luke Morgan


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