Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Meltis Albion

Competition League - Division 1
Result Meltis Albion 0-0 Sandy 1st Team
Date Saturday 03 October 2009
Kick Off 2.00pm

Match Report

Less than ideal weather conditions ensured that it was a difficult afternoon for both teams. Sandy who were already without some first team regulars, gave some of the fringe players within the squad the chance to impress manager Daniel Bailey and impress they did as Sandy earned a point with a hard working performance.

The blustery conditions were causing havoc as each team attempted to adapt their football to the strong winds. Sandy chose to play into the wind in the first half, aware that it would be hard work to contain the Meltis side, but contain them Sandy did. Phil Beall was absolutely outstanding at the heart of defence and in the absence of usual partner Andrew Wren his performance shone through as a succession of last ditch tackles and excellent covering ensured a frustrating afternoon for the Meltis forward line. Shane Pope who was making his full debut for the first team stepped up to the plate with a strong performance and his left foot brought balance to the Sandy back line.

Mark Pallister was relatively untroubled during the first half in the Sandy goal as Meltis failed to hit the target with a succession of free kicks. Sandy's defence strong performance also ensured that Pallister didn't have many shots to save during the first half.

Sandy came close to taking the lead halfway through the first half, when a defensive error by the Meltis centre back allowed Ian Hammett to nip in behind him and steal the ball, but his shot on the turn from a tight angle and close range was deflected away for a corner by the Meltis keeper. Craig Baker also had a chance to open the scoring, when Liam Hogans cross found him at the far post. Baker's first touch got away from him and allowed the Meltis full back to recover and clear.

As the half progressed Sandy seemed to come to terms with the conditions and they started to play flowing football. Phil Beall went on a run as he confidently stepped out of defence. Playing a one two with Ian Hammett, he found space to cut inside onto his right foot. Unfortunatley the shot didn't match the run and his finish went high and wide. With five minutes to go in the half, Hammett almost latched on to a cross from Shane Pope, which was flicked on by Craig Baker. Hammetts despairing dive was in vain as he couldn't quite reach the ball. Half time 0 - 0.

Sandy started the second half strongly as they tried to take advantage of the wind at their backs. Continually pressing the Meltis players ensuring that they had little time on the ball and forcing their play to break down. Chris Baines and Mark Jennings were working hard in the centre of midfield, but in the windy conditions their through balls were proving hard to latch onto for Hammett and Smith. Baines though almost gave Sandy the lead with an opportunistic effort. Ian Hammett closed down a back pass to the Meltis keeper whose clearance fell straight to Baines in the centre of the pitch. He controlled well and then tried an outrageous lob from fully 45 yards, but it sailed just over.

Baines turned creator five minutes later, when after a strong run he crossed into the box. Hammett flung himself at the ball but failed to get anything on the cross as it was just a little too high for him. Despite all of their possession and pressure Sandy couldn't quite create any clear cut opportunities to test the Meltis keeper. Meltis also continued to pose a threat to the Sandy goal, and although the Sandy backline were having a strong game, Mark Pallister was getting busier and busier. He was called into action on several occassions to make important saves when the backline was breached.

Sandy had two penalty shouts dismissed by the referee during the second half, and on another day they may well have been given. Sandy also wasted several opportunities from well positioned free kicks as they failed to test the keeper with any of them. It was really a case of the final ball letting the team down, as several good moves broke down with the last pass.

Sandy though managed to complete the elusive clean sheet that they had been searching for, and were rewarded with a point for a very hard working performance in game that during previous seasons they would have come away with nothing. Manager Daniel Bailey was very happy with the performance, especially in the difficult conditions. Final Score 0 - 0

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (9)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Shane Pope (7)
4. Mark Jennings (7)
5. Brad Smith (7)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
11. Craig Baker (7)
15. Chris Baines (8)
15. Daniel Bailey (7)
17. Phil Beall (9)

Man of the Match:

1. Mark Pallister


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