Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Oakley Sports

Competition Friendly - Pre Season Friendly
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-1 Oakley Sports
Date Saturday 18 August 2012
Kick Off 1.00pm

Match Report

On a baking hot day, Sandy continued their 2012/13 season preparations against another Premier Division side at Bedford Road. Kicking off early so that a doule header could be played by the reserves meant that both teams were going to have to contend with the midday heat. The hosts were a little more stretched as they only had 11 players, and manager Ian Hammett was forced to start himself despite bring injured so that Sandy could field a side.

Nathan Morris filled the vacant left back spot as Shane Pope was on Holiday and Chris Nicholls dropped to a deeper roll in the absence of David Gill. Missing several other players as well it was always going to be a challenge to contain a strong opponent but it was certainly going to be good fitness work for everybody. It was obvious from the off that Oakley were going to dominate possession for most of the game as they played the ball aorund nicely, but it was never in areas that were threatening the home goal. Sandy kept an excellent shape and forced Oakley to play the ball around at the back and then launch aimless balls forwards which were gobbled up by Morgan and Wrenny who were dominant in the air.

The two are forming a nice partnership in the heart of the defence with Morgan putting in some superb pre season performances and Wrenny settling straight back into the side after his return from Turvey. Morris was working hard down the left flank as well to keep the tricky Oakley right winger under control but he was just about up to the challenge despite cynically hacking the player down as he skillfully drifted past him only to then plead his innocence to the ref. 

Despite being penned in they were working well and Oakley were shooting from a long way out speculatively hoping to test Pally in the Sandy net. A couple of efforts did drift close to the uprights but Pally always seemed to have the angles well covered and only had to make one real save in the first half when he held the ball well down low after an effort from the Oakley forward.

Having started slowly Sandy then began to find some flow to their play and kept the ball better in the middle of the park. Dan Bailey was working hard and his endeavour earned a free kick midway into the Oakley half. He picked himself up and delivered the ball into the box, which caused confusion and the Oakly Centre back had to head the ball away under pressure from Wrenny. From the resulting corner Sandy again troubled the visiting defence as Hammetts curled in ball almost dropped to Morgan to stab home. Another set piece almost had a similar outcome as again The ball was hacked away after the keeper had dropped it before Sandy could latch onto it.

Oakley responded well to these scares though and worked hard to close Sandy down and the home side with players out of position struggled to find their rhythm. With the half coming to a close though it was the home side that finally made the breakthrough. Banfield won the ball on the left flank as Sandy pressed well. He delivered a deep cross that was recovered by Ryan Gregory who found Bailey. Bailey whipped a dangerous ball into the box to find Chris Nicholls who had made a late run. Nicholls guided a header low and into the far corner to give the Oakley keeper little chance and Sandy a 1-0 lead. All that was left was for the ref to blow the half time whistle just as Oakley restarted. It was just reward for a compact and solid first half of football.

The heat was taking it's toll and plenty of fluids were taken on at half time. Manager Ian Hammett decided to switch Jennings and Nicholls, pushing the latter into a more attacking position. This move almost paid immediate dividends as Banfield launched a diagonal ball in behind the Oakley back four and Nicholls raced clear. He got to the ball just before the on rushing keeper but as he knocked it past he was driven too wide and the ball unfortunately ran away from him.

Oakley swicthed there formation and made the centre of the park more robust and again despite the early scare began to dominate posession again. Just like the first half though the home side worked hard to ensure that this was always in areas that weren't too dangerous. Oakleys final ball was letting them down at times as well although they did have a glorious chance to equalise when their left winger was brought down by Jennings just outside the box. From the resulting set piece the ball was whipped in viciously missing everyone including the Oakley number 5 who through himself at the ball at the back post. Apparently this was Morrises man although Beally chewed Banners out from the sideline for letting him go!

Sandy weren't able to offer much attacking threat in the second half as they wilted in heat, and their lack of substitutes was beginning to show as the visiting side brought on fresh legs and continued to work Sandy hard. The home side were disciplined though and kept the onslaught at bay. Oakley were getting closer and closer to the equaliser and on seventy minutes they finally found it. Sandy gave the ball away in the middle of the park and Oakley worked it out to the left hand side. Seldon made an attempt to win the ball up the pitch but was cleverly played around and suddenly the left winger was one on one with Morgan. Sandy's big centre back had blocked almost everything during the game, but he couldn't quite get in the way of the cross which was delivered perfectly into that corridor of uncertainty along the six yard box and up popped a midfielder who hadn't been tracked to slide the ball home. 1-1.

The ref allowed a drinks break and Sandy re gathered themselves for a final push and although they were under pressure it was the home side that had two chances to steal the lead again. Nicholls and Hammett combined on the edge of the box and although Nicholls slightly overhit the pass Hammett managed to keep it in and then cross towards Banfield who made a late run into the box. Oakley cleared it by only to Nicholls whose shot went wide. Another nice exchange then led to Jennings bursting through the middle and being found by Banfield. Jennings though obviously forgot his shooting struggles from the previous game and took a difficult effort on first time with his left foot unfortunately blasting the ball over.

With the minutes ticking down Pally was then forced into a splendid full length save as an Oakley midfielder fired a rapier like long shot towards the top corner. Pally tipped the ball away strongly though for a corner that the home side then defended well to see off the danger. Banfield was then forced to go off with an ankle injury and Anthony Roberts came on up front. He worked hard and ran around was almost rewarded when he chased along ball down and had he been a little braver he may have got to the ball first before the Oakley keeper.

This proved to the last significant action as the teams both shared the spoils of the afternoons toil and Sandy were by far the happier team. It was a third game unbeaten against strong opposition and many positives can be drawn from the game. Manager Ian Hammett will be hoping for no more injuries and those who are injured to return to bolster the squad and it should promise to be an optimistic season. Final score 1-1.


Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
3. Ryan Gregory (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
5. Andrew Wren (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
13. Nathan Morris (8)
15. Daniel Bailey (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Chris Nicholls


1 x Daniel Bailey


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