Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Luton Boys

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 3-1 Luton Boys
Date Saturday 17 November 2012
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Although it is still early in the season Sandy were looking for three points in this crucial bottom of the table clash against visitors Luton Boys it what some would deem a six pointer and the match as a contest wasn't going to disappoint. Following several people jumping ship following a poor run of results, the home side were down to the bare bones. Luckily Dave Gill was returning from injury and although it had been planned that he would just be emergency sub, he ended up starting and playing 90 mins as Banfield was delayed due to a dog related incident and didn't make it for kick off.

JJ and Jennings joined Gilly in a formidably, robust looking central midfield, with Ryan Gregory returning to the left flank and Burgess taking up his usual right wing role. Sandy knew that they would have to stifle the pace and athleticism of the visitors who usually enjoy the wide open space of Bedford Road. Sandy needing the win started brightly and pressed well, with their back four dominating and JJ and Gilly giving a good platform they disrupted Luton's play and frustrated them. This then allowed Sandy to push forwards and find some of the same football that they showed away at league leaders Leighton United last week. Gregory and Burgess were also working hard and pressing the full backs back giving Pope and Seldon space to operate. Gregory had a particularly strong start with some bursting runs into the Luton half and then tracking back to form a shield in front of Pope.

Jennings was enjoying his new free role and was combining well with Hammett who was holding the ball up well and moving the Luton back four all over the place. It was this combination that should of given the home side the lead as Jennings robbed one of the centre backs of the ball and then found Hammett, who had made a clever run. Through one on one Hammett rushed his shot and sent the ball wide, when he should of done better. This was to be the threat of things to come though as Sandy had great joy when pressing high up the pitch. Burgess almost got in after some nice team play and a ball over the top from JJ and then Gregory had a burst and a speculative shot from distance that didn't trouble the keeper.

Despite Sandy's clear dominance in the match Luton were still looking dangerous and they treatened to break at pace on several occassions. Phil Beall and Andrew Wren though were putting in stoic performances at the heart of the defence as both won key headers and Beally made several last ditch tackles that have become his trademark over the last few seasons. Pally did get called on a couple of times as Luton let fly with long range efforts and although he did spill one such effort that Wrenny had to clear off the line he was up to the task for the most part. Sandy were staying on their feet well and not being fooled by the trickery of their opponents. Seldon and Pope were having tricky afternoons against their wingers but once again they were more than up to the task of snuffing out the danger.

It was proving to be a tight contest with few clear cut goal attempts, and the pitch was causing its fair share of miskicks, but Sandy were coping the better. Gilly and Hammett combined to find Gregory who beat three players and shooting just over the bar and then Burgess worked hard following some nice interplay to win a corner which Beally couldn't quite get on the end of. The pressure was finally going to tell though and it came when Gregory was bought down on the edge of the box. Hammett stepped up to take the freekick and found the unmarked Gregory on the edge. his first touch let him down a little and the ball was cleared back to Hammett who stood the ball up to the back post where Jennings headed the ball towards goal. The Luton keeper pulled off a great save to deny Jennings, but Wrenny reacted first and scuffed the ball towards the goal. Luckily it dropped just over the line although Gilly made sure hammering the ball home but the goal had been given and Sandy had the lead. 1-0.

The home side knew that they must keep up with the intensity to match their visitors as Luton reeling from the goal tried to push forwards looking for that all important equaliser. Sandy stood firm though and were winning most of the 50/50 balls in the middle of the park. However the visitors started to getted some sort of foothold in the game and a couple more specualtive efforts were fired in on Pally's goal. Even though a couple came through groups of players and skidded off the surface the Sandy keeper did well to hold onto them. With the time ticking away towards half time though Luton won a corner, unfortunately Pally couldn't quite hold the cross and dropped it to the floor, the ball was stabbed clear as shots were blocked but it fell kindly to a Luton player on the edge of the box. He connected perfectly with the ball and despite Beally's best efforts he was shoved aside creating a gap which the ball found its way through and beat an unsighted Pally in the Sandy net. 1-1.

It was the only way that Pally was looking like being beaten and it was a great strike. Sandy though needed to lift themselves and respond and they did. Once again asserting themselves in the middle of the park and dominating the end of the half. They pushed looking to get back into the lead and just as the half was about to end they should of been. Some great football resulted in JJ knocking the ball through to Hammett who latched onto a mistake by the defender, once again he was through one on one with the Luton keeper and this time he opted to try and go round him, but the keeper guessed right and dived at the Sandy strikers feet smothering the ball. As the keeper launched the ball upfield the ref brought the half to a close and Hammett knew he had wasted a golden chance to knock the visitors confidence. Half time 1-1.

Bouyed by their first half performance and determined to break their run of poor results Sandy started the second half much the same as the first, keeping a good shape and pressing the luton backline into mistakes or launching long balls that were bread and butter for Wrenny and Beally who were now dominating. Gilly was still full of work in the middle of the park as well. Pulling the strings and getting the home side moving with simple passes. Jennings was rampaging box to box working hard, to break up play also and Gregory was earning himself man of the match with constant hard work and some quality to boot.

It was Gregory who won the freekick that led to the first goal and he was at it again for Sandy's second early in the half as the home side made up for Hammetts late miss. Gregory was fouled and dusted himself off to take the kick, informing Hammett that he was going to shoot from the favourable angle. However he totally mishit it so that it was a perfect cross and Beally was the only player to react to ghost in and head the ball into the back of the net with a bit of help from some poor keeping as he fumbled it in the net. However it was a great time to score just minutes into the second half.

Luton were being forced into changes as they seemed to be picking up injuries on the heavy ground that was cutting up more and more as the game went on. However Sandy's players were coping despite the fragility of the squad in previous games. However the visitors were once again starting to get into the game as their flare players began to come to the fore and that combined with a few questionable ref's decisions put Sandy on the back foot. However unlike many contests before, it was Sandy who stood up to be counted and they threw themselves in the way of shots and passes and read the play very well. 

Beally made a wonderful tackle as their pacey winger escaped down the left and if it hadn't of been timed well then it would of been a certain penalty. Pally then tipped a cross shot over the bar which looked like it may have sailed into the far corner. Burgess was tiring after some hard work and he was replaced by Banfield who brought some energy to the flank, and he had an almost immediate chance to make an impact as Jennings robbed the centre back of the ball with a hard but fair tackle. Banners though elected to try and chip the ball to Hammett who was clearly offside rather than hit a shot. Then the Sandy sub had another chance as Gregory cut in off the flank and fired a shot which the keeper couldn't hold. Banners reacted quickly but so did the keeper who recovered to block the effort away.

The home side knew that they were going to need a second goal and this was becoming more and more obvious as the Luton linesman was desperately doing his best to keep the score at 2-1 flagging Hammett offside after the Sandy striker made a couple of great runs to elude his defenders and was clearly onside, causing him to receive some abuse from the Sandy fans! Luton were now becoming desperate and with ten minutes to go they finally carved open an opportunity on the counter attack as they finally got through. Pally though made up for his first half fumble with a fantastic double save pushing away a rasping shot and then springing up to block the ball for a corner.

Luton then had a couple of guilt edged chances that they didn't take as Sandy rode their luck. Then with the game moving into added time it was wrapped up as Gilly found Banners on the right starting a counter attack. This time Banners ran at the defender and then hit a shot which looked to be going straight at the Luton keeper, but just as it reached him it took a horrendous bobble and bounced up over him into the goal to confirm all three points for the home side and give them a well earned 3-1 lead. It was no more than Sandy's performance deserved and gave them a vital three points ensuring that they leapfrogged Luton in the table. They will be hoping to take this form and build on it next week when they face basement club AFC Kempston Town Reserves. Final score 3-1.



Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (9)
2. Richard Seldon (9)
3. Shane Pope (9)
3. Ryan Gregory (9)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
5. Andrew Wren (9)
7. Ryan Burgess (9)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (9)
9. Ian Hammett (9)
16. David Gill (9)
17. Phil Beall (9)


13. Olly Banfield (9)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Olly Banfield
1 x Andrew Wren
1 x Phil Beall


1 x David Gill
1 x Ryan Gregory
1 x Mark Jennings

Man of the Match:

3. Ryan Gregory


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