Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Marston Shelton Rovers

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 3-2 Marston Shelton Rovers
Date Saturday 26 March 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy faced a tough task to extend their unbeaten run for another month as they hosted high flying Masrton Shelton Rovers at Bedford Road. Having twice faced the visitors and lost already this season, the odds looked favourable for the away side, however these days this is a much changed Sandy 1st Team and this game would prove to be the measure of how far that team have progressed.

Forced to make a couple of changes to the team, firstly due to the absence of Rob Tapley (Wedding) and secondly due to Ben Wilks not turning up, manager Ian Hammett started himself on the right flank with JJ moving into centre midfield and Charlie Seward returning to the starting line up in a striking role. One bit of good news for the team before kick off was the availability of Captain Richard Seldon who had decided to return from his romantic weekend away in time for kick off!! Well done that man!!

The early exchanges as with most games at this level were scrappy as both teams tried to settle. Marston Shelton did the better job of getting the ball down and playing in the opening minutes as their hosts struggled to establish any sort of rhythm. A long range effort early on hit the bar and then Marston hit the post as they looked to open the scoring for the afternoon. From a corner Marston also had the chance to take the lead, but their centre back headed over with the goal at his mercy. Ian Hammett did create an opportunity for himself as he closed down the defender and blocked the clearance, but his left foot shot was tame from 20 yards when he could of squared it to Charlie Seward.

Marstons early dominance was rewarded when they took the lead on twenty minutes after some good work down the right flank Sandy failed to clear the ball after a couple of tame shots. The ball rebounded of Phil Bealls knee and fell straight to their forward who shanked the ball off his shin and into the top corner leaving Pally no chance. The visitors seemed to think that they would then be able to push on and dominate but Sandy had other ideas as hey slowly began to force themselves into the game.

Mark Jennings and JJ were proving solid in the centre of the park, closing everything down and working tirelessly to win the midfield battle and Sandy's back four were snuffing out any further Marston attacks. Sandy began to look strong all over the park and they seemed to sense it would only be a matter of time before they got back into the contest. Their opportunity came from a free kick that Phil Beall and Matt Evans battled for, as the ball bobbled in the box a Marston defender used his arm to control the ball and the eagle eyed ref awarded a penalty. Hammett stepped up and dispatched the spot kick with calmness to draw the sides level. Then within minutes it was 2-1 as Sandy put on an exhibition of counter attacking play and passing football. JJ intercepted a ball just outside the Sandy penalty area and played it forward to Charlie Seward, Seward held the ball up and laid it into the path of Hammett, who slotted a first time ball through to Dan Stafford. Staf took the ball on and then fired it past the Masrton Keeper and into the far corner.

This was no more than the home side deserved as they had worked extremely hard to impose themselves on the visitors. It should have been three just before half time though to give Sandy a more comfortable lead, but the Marston Keeper saved well from Craig Baker at close range. Baker will be disappointed he didn't do better as a Seward shot was blocked and found it's way through to him, but he thought that he was offside and was a little to casual. Sandy didn't have many other chances of note though during the half, Shane Pope did attempt and audacious lob from from about 45 yards and although it proved to be his first shot on target this season it never troubled the keeper. Half time 2-1.

As expected Marston who had only suffered two defeats all season came out in the second half and put immense pressure on Sandy who for the most part stood up well. The home side kept their shape and although Maston dominated possession they didn't really do anything with it. Phil Beall and Matt Evans were once again outstanding at the heart of the defence and eacj time Pally had a mad five minutes Phil Beall was there to help out as he made two goal line clearances.

Shane Pope and Richard Seldon were both required to deal with tricky fast paced wingers, but they did so with composure never leting their opponents get the better of them. Jennings and JJ were being pushed back in midfield as the ball failed to stick up front and Marston changed formation to try and capitilise, moving to a 3-4-3 formation. Charlie Seward who had run his socks off was replaced by Tommy Simpson for the last twenty minutes and then suffereing from cramp Ian Hammett was replaced by Luke Morgan as the home side moved to a 4-5-1 formation to protect their lead.

With the clock ticking down that game appeared to be heading for a Sandy win until a hopeful high cross from the right flank looped high in to the back post, where the Marston forward leapt higher and bumped into Pally before forcing the ball home with his head. Sand felt a little hard done by as Pally had been fouled, but they had to pick themselves up from the disappointment of being level. This goal though seemed to spark the homeside back into life and having been on the back foot for the whole half they pressed forwards being driven by the tireless Mark Jennings.

Jennings must of thought he had created the winning goal with five minutes to go as he slotted the ball through to Staf, but as he bore down on goal his shot was well saved by the Marston Keeper. Charlie 'Mystic Meg' Seward then said on the sideline that one team would get one more chance to win it and within seconds they did. This time Craig Baker finaly got the ball on the left wing beat three men and then squared the ball to Staf, who this time made no mistake and slotted the ball past the isolated keeper. This left Sandy with four minutes to hold out and with Hammett screaming from the sideline for them to keep shape Phil Beall totally ignored him and went looking for a fourth goal. However the attack came to nothing and Sandy managed to cover for Phil allowing im to get back.

Sandy did manage to hold out to record their fourth win in a row and extend their unbeaten run to 12 games. The home side now have not lost in the league since the 30th Oct 2010 and have taken their run through five months. The next fixture is at home to title chasing Potton Wanderers and the whole side will be keen to make it five from five and throw the promotion race wide open.

After a splendid Sandy performance manager Ian Hammett was thrilled and the team now have their sights firmly set on a fourth placed finish. Final score 3-2 



Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (9)
1. Daniel Stafford (9)
2. Richard Seldon (9)
3. Shane Pope (9)
3. Matt Evans (9)
4. Charlie Seward (9)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (9)
9. Ian Hammett (9)
11. Craig Baker (9)
17. Phil Beall (9)


2. Luke Morgan (8)
11. Tommy Simpson (8)

Goal Scorers:

2 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Ian Hammett


1 x Craig Baker
1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

8. John-Joe Pekszyc

Match Photos - Match Action vs Marston Shelton Rovers

Sandy vs Marston Shelton Rovers 1Sandy vs Marston Shelton Rovers 2Sandy vs Marston Shelton Rovers 3Sandy vs Marston Shelton Rovers 4Sandy vs Marston Shelton Rovers 5Sandy vs Marston Shelton Rovers 6

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