Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Luton Old Boys (Saturday)

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 2-1 Luton Old Boys (Saturday)
Date Saturday 12 March 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy faced a stern test of the their unbeaten run as they hosted a much improved Luton Old Boys side at Bedford Road. Despite having beaten the visitors comfortably three weeks ago, Sandy knew that this match wold be anything but a walkover and that they would have to work hard to register their third win in a row and extend their streak to eleven games without defeat in the league.

Making one change from last weeks starting line up, Mark Westbrook was handed a start on the left of midfield with Craig Baker dropping to the bench. This was to provide some defensive solidity down the left flank as this had been a source of most of Luton's attacks in the previous fixture.

It was obvious from the start that this game was to be a physical battle as the players from luton all seemed to possess express pace and strength ensuring that they could impose themselves on the game although they lacked significant footballing threat. Sandy worked temendously hard throughout the first half to match the visitors, they remained disciplined with their shape and it was to be only a matter of time before they took the lead. Closing down well from the start Dan Stafford burst through the opposition straight from the kick off, but couldn't quite get his shot away and it went well wide. However this was exactly the message that Sandy wanted to send and they continued to press high the whole game.

Mark Jennings and Rob Tapley were enjoying the battle in the middle of the park as both managed to get on the ball and pull the strings for the home side to build upon. With Luton's quick wingers and full backs ensuring that JJ and Westy played more defensive roles it was upto Tapley and Jennings to dominate the play through the middle. Tapley did release Staf down the inside left channel but as he burst into the box under pressure his shot was saved at the near post. Sandy's defence were solid as usual with the whole back four work exceptionally hard to cope with the pacey attack, snuffing out any potential danger with Pally sweeping up well behind them.

The home side took the lead with twenty minutes gone as Jennings threaded a lovely through ball to Staf who controlled the ball then toe poked it into the far corner seeing the ball go in off the post from 16 yards out. It was no more than they deserved and it launched a period of pressure where Sandy dominated for twenty minutes as they looked for the second goal. Phil Beall burst up the pitch between three Luton players and into the box only to see his powerful shot well saved by the keeper who was having a solid afternoon in between the sticks. The keeper then saved well from Ian Hammett who was released by Staf at the halfway line, Hammett beat the defender in the box, but it narrowed the angle for the shot and the keeper stood up to save well.

Sandy created numerous crossing opportunities but the final ball was letting them down a little. To that end it was a long punt upfield by Pally that led to Sandy's second goal. The ball was misjudged by the luton back line allowing Rob Tapley to nip in control the ball on his chest then hit a wonderful shot right into the top corner from twenty yards out leaving the keeper with absolutely no chance. Sandy were looking comfortable and looked to be heading into halftime with a two goal lead but a lapse in concentration cost them dearly. Phil Beall misread a header and flicked it backwards rather than forwards. This released Lutons forward who raced clear, Beally did his best to catch up but couldn't find the recovery tackle and the forward rounded Pally under pressure and slotted the ball home with essentially the last kcik of the half. Half time 2-1.

This goal bouyed the visitors and they started the second half with gusto as they looked to find an equaliser. Pressing quickly they created early pressure which severely tested the home sides resolve. Five minutes in it should of been 2-2 but for an outstanding save by Pally who tipped a 30 yard shot onto the bar and away for a corner. Sandy then had the chance to extend their lead a relieve the pressure as Staf was released by Tapley again. Breaking the offside trap Staf stormed through but slid his shot just wide of the upright as he was under pressure. Mark Jennings then released Ian Hammett, but Hammett's right foot shot from 15 yards was straight at the keeper who held it well.

Westy gave way to Craig Baker with 30 minutes to go and Baker almost made an immediate impact as he found Hammett with a cross field pass, Hammett then played the ball first time across the pitch to the unmarked Staf who shot first time from the edge of the box, with the keeper again saving well. Sandy were building pressure and catching Luton on the counter attack as the visitors left more and more people up front. Still though they never really tested Pally in the Sandy goal and the home defence held firm.

Sandy did score a third goal but Bakers goal was ruled out for a controversial offside decision, where Staf was flagged offside, but he never interferred with the play. Baker then had another chance from a Hammett corner, but he headed well wide after Beally missed the ball right in front of him. Tapley also had a long range effort that he dragged wide. Despite these chances Sandy couldn't kill the game off and Luton always possessed the threat of an equaliser.

Tapley had to be replaced for the last ten mintes by Morgan meaning that the home side switched to a five man midfield. From that point on it was real back to the walls stuff. Luton almost got in with another mistake as Pally came to get the ball but the forward got to it first to poke it over his head. Matt Evans though was alert to the danger and raced across to steal the ball and carry it clear for a corner. Luton then had a free kick on the edge of the box but the wall did it's job to block the shot. Pally then did well from a corner as he palmed the ball down and the snatched it off the toes of a Luton forward.

Despite these heart in the mouth moments the home side held on for a credible win and extended their streak to eleven games unbeaten and remained in fifth place in the table. It was a hard fought battle that the home side came through well and they now move on to entertain second placed Marston Shelton Rovers on the 26th March. Final score 2-1. 

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Matt Evans (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
7. Rob Tapley (8)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)


2. Luke Morgan (8)
11. Craig Baker (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Rob Tapley
1 x Daniel Stafford


1 x Mark Pallister
1 x Mark Jennings

Man of the Match:

7. Rob Tapley


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