Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Long Buckby AFC Reserves

Competition Friendly - Pre Season Friendly
Result Long Buckby AFC Reserves 4-1 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 30 July 2011
Kick Off 3.00pm

Match Report

Sandy travelled to UCL Res division 2 Long Buckby AFC to start their proper pre season fixtures. Taking a squad of 14 players manager Ian Hammett stressed the importance this fixture had in terms of fitness and preparation for the forthcoming season. Mark Pallister, Brad Smith, and JJ Pekszyc were unavailable for selection so Luke Morgan deputised in goal for the team.

Oli Banfield was handed his first start at right back, and Chris Nicholls also made his full 11-a-side debut for the club on the left wing.

It was always going to be a tough test for Sandy as The Bucks had been training for six weeks and had already played 3 friendlies, add that to the higher standard of football that they play and it was going to be a busy afternoon in the baking hot sun. The home side showed that they were deeper into their pre season preparartion as they started brightly and dominated the opening fifteen minutes playing some intelligent football. They pulled Sandy all over the place as they kept the ball well, but despite their possession they failed to test Morgan in the Sandy goal.

Phil Beall and Matt Evans marshalled the home defence well and Mark Jennings worked hard alongside Rob Tapley to try and stem the flow of the home side. Sandy gradually began to settle and pass the ball around and it was the visitors that created the first clear cut chance. Buckby gave the ball away to Ian Hammett on the right and his first time ball released Dan Stafford through on goal, Staf closed in on goal, but his shot was well saved by the home goalkeeper. Staf was taken down just after the shot but the ref decided there was no foul play.

As with most Sandy games when they had just started to establish themselves, the opposition scored. Sandy gave the ball away through poor communication in their own half and the Bucks capitalised, as their forward got through on goal. Morgan rushed out and blocked the intial effort, but the ball fell kindly to Ryan Grant who slotted the ball calmly into the net past Matt Evans and Oli Banfield who were trying to cover the line. Sandy responded positively though and tried to push forward as the home side sat back a little. Charlie Sewrad and Staf were getting more of the ball and Rob Tapley was starting to find space with good movement. Mark Jennings began to win the ball high and Sandy forced a corner with some good closing down. Hammett whipped the corner in right on top of the keeper who flapped the ball out, Chris Nicholls headed it back towards goal and then Phil Beall stretched out a leg to deflect the ball home. 

The game then became a bit more open again as Sandy tried to make the most of their momentum. They won a free kick on the edge of the box and even though Seward hit the wall he worked hard to retrieve the ball and it fell to Tapley on the edge of the box, whose rasping drive was well tipped over by the home keeper. Hammett then had a coule of corners that he whipped in dangerously, one of which Phil Beall was impeded and should maybe of had a penalty but Staf just missed the header that could maybe of scored a second. Seward then had a effort from long range that flew over and Hammett's mis hit cross almost dropped inside the far top corner. Mark Jennings also made a good break into the box but couldn't quite keep the ball under control under pressure. Had Sandy managed to convert any of these chances then the game may have turned out differently.

The Bucks were also pushing forwards and they hit the post from a free kick and had several corners that had to be dealt with by the Sandy defence. Again the home side dominated the possession but on clear cut chances then Sandy probably edged the first half. Half time 1-1.

The second half was to be more a test of fitness than anything as the sun was blazing down and it showed as the home side looked sharper due to their match fitness being better. The Bucks again started the half in dominating fashion and five minutes in they had taken the lead as a ball inside the full back carved open the Sandy defence and the ball was squared for an easy tap in. The home side then had a brace of corners as well but Morgan did wel to punch a couple clear and then the defence did the rest.

Phil Beall was outstanding at the back once again and he stopped it from being three one as Morgan was beaten by the striker but Phil chased the ball down and cleared it off the line and out for a corner. Richard Seldon on his return to the team also cleared away a dangerous cross from the back post that was destined to be tapped in by the Bucks player behind him. Sandy did have half chances to get level, one form a Matt Evans long throw that Jennings flicked on but Staf did quite read it and then Staf was put through by Seward and Tapley, but the keeper did well to come out and be brave forcing the shot to trickle wide. Hammett then almost got on the end of a Seward cross field ball but again the keeper did well to come out and get their first.

Sandy then lost Seward and Tapley to injury allowing Ryan and Chris Gregory to make their debuts. Chris Nicholls slotted into centre midfield and Hammet pushed up front with Staf.

The Bucks superior fitness was beginning to tell and with ten minutes to go they made it three one from a corner, as Ryan Grant found his centre back unmarked at the near post to head home. Miscommunication in the Sandy defence had left the player wide open. Sandy were battling to get out of their own half and with the clock running down the home side were gifted a fourth with a Sandy own goal. Chris Gregory did well to get back and stop the ball going in th first time, but as he turned to blast the ball away from goal he hit it straight into the face of Seldon and the ball deflected into the net.

It was harsh on Chris and Seldon as well as on Sandy but the game had proved to be an excellent workout and there were certainly several positives that could be taken from the game. Sandy continue their pre season preparation on Wednesday with an away trip to Ampthill Town Reserves which should again provide a stern test and good fitness work.



Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (7)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
3. Shane Pope (7)
3. Matt Evans (8)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
4. Charlie Seward (7)
7. Rob Tapley (8)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
13. Olly Banfield (7)
17. Phil Beall (9)
18. Chris Nicholls (7)


2. Richard Seldon (7)
3. Ryan Gregory (6)
22. Chris Gregory (6)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Phil Beall


1 x Chris Nicholls

Man of the Match:

17. Phil Beall


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