Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Oakley Sports FC

Competition Friendly - Pre Season Friendly
Result Sandy 1st Team 3-7 Oakley Sports FC
Date Saturday 20 August 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Missing 7 regular first teamers Sandy FC went into their last pre season friendly with a wafer thin side, but with some fringe players getting a great opportunity to stake a claim for a starting berth in the first competitive game of the season against Potton Untied Reserves a week Wednesday.

Matt Gedney and Ryan Gregory were both handed starts after impressing against Blunham in midweek with Phil Beall attempting to make a return from his heel injury at the heart of the defence. Sandy started the game very well as they looked to impose themselves on the opposition from the Premier League and certainly for the first twenty minutes or so they were by far the better side. Playing some neat football the home side moved the ball around well and began to create opportunities. Defensively the side loked strong as they kept their shape well and forced the visitors to take long shots that failed to trouble Matt Balls in the Sandy goal at all.

Sandy took the lead through Dan Stafford from a free kick. Matt Gedney took the kick on halfway and drove it forwards, Charlie Seward got a deft flick on the ball and Staf had gambled well, breaking the backline to slot the ball past the keeper who was rooted to his line. This was no more than the home side deserved and they had chances to add to their tally. After some neat football Seward found Staf with a cross field pass, and through on goal he fired his shot low and hard to the keepers right. However the keeper made a wonderful one handed save to parry the ball away to safety and keep the scoreline at 1-0. Staf then turned creator as he combined with Hammett to break away down the right flank. He squared the ball, but the keeper got the smalest deflection on it so that it fell just behind the unmarked Seward and he couldn't turn the ball into the empty net. He did manage to retrieve the ball and find Ryan Gregory on the edge of the box whose curling effort crashed back off the underside of the bar and the defender just beat Staf to the rebound to clear the ball.

Perhaps if Sandy had been able to take one of these chances then the game may well have turned out very differently than it did. Oakley were only in the game when the home side made mistakes and gave the ball away as they poured forward with midfielders not getting back to defend. They equalised on twenty five minutes when Luke Morgan misjudged a throw in and it sailed over his head allowing the Oakley forward to sneak in behind him and fire powerfully home past Matt Balls leaving him no chance. In a mad five minutes Sandy then found themselves two goals down as the usually dependable Phil Beall gave the ball away dribbling out of defence. Caught out of position the defence were outnumbered and Matt Balls also got caught out as the Oakley player chipped the ball square for it to be headed home. Oakley then picked up their third goal as their forward was allowed to turn on the edge of the box and escape Luke Morgan to again fire home past Balls who again had no chance.

These goals had stunned the home side but for the last five minutes of the half they tried their best to get back into the contest. They almost pulled a goal back as Hammett whipped in a wicked corner that Mark Jennings attacked unmarked but he couldn't quite get any part of his body on the ball to steer it home. Ryan Gregory then curled a good cross in to the back post that once again noone could get on the end of. Half time 1-3.

At Half time manager Ian Hammett stressed the need to cut out the mistakes and that they could foreseeably get back into this game. Unfortunately his instructions weren't heeded and Oakley who came out looking like a different team in the seond half capitilised fully to punish the home side. Within ten minutes it was 5-1 as firstly Sandy gave the ball away to let Oakley in and then Phil Beall gave away a penalty that was duely dispatched even though Matt Balls did get a finger to it. That was to be Phils last action of the game as he seemed to be struggling badly on his bruised heel and had given the penalty away more out of frustration at not being his usual mobile self and was being exposed by the quick moving forwards.

This meant Sandy reshuffled with Gipson coming on a right back and Richard Seldon moving into centre back. This didn't particularly help matters though as Sandy continually gave the ball away and the good football that they had been showing for most of preseason seemed to have totally desserted them. For Oakleys sixth, Matt Balls parried away a cross, but unfortunately palmed it into the danger area and the ball was fired into the net, and for the scoreline to become 7-1 Chris Nicholls inexplicably played the ball through to Oakleys forward and although Balls came rushing out he was unlucky to see the ball rebound back off the forward and into the empty net.

At 7-1 up the visitors were on a roll and Sandy were visibly shell shocked and they struggled to get back into the game. However for the last fifteen minutes of the contest they looked more like they wantde to be out there and began to pop the ball around well again. Darren Gipson went on a run from right back and he was well found by Richard Seldon. His low cross was met by Seward at the front post but his goal bound shot was well saved by the Oakley keeper again who tipped the ball away for a corner. The keeper then saved well from Staf who was released by Chris Nicholls but his first touch was heavy and the keeper blocked that, he then recovered quickly to close down Hammett who went round him but his cross was blocked from a tight angle. Hammett then almost found Chris Gregory at the back post but the corss was just a little too had for him.

With time ticking down Sandy were able to add some respectability to the scoreline with Staf scoring two more goals to complete his first pre season hat trick. Charlie found him with a lovely ball over the top for his second, which he outmuscled the defender and slotted the ball past the keeper. To complete the hat trick he latched onto Man of the match Matt Gedneys long pass to beat the keeper and roll the ball home. Oakley seemed to have lapsed in concentration with the game well and truly won and Sandy to their credit did punish them for that. However it was a very disappointing end to the afternoon for the home side as the referee who had had a poor game blew for full time.

Sandy will now look to have a good ten day rest with just the Jess Piggott memorial match to stretch their legs in next Saturday before the season starts. Manager Ian Hammett will hope that injuries heal and that he has a full squad available for the match vs Potton United Res. Final score 3-7   

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Luke Morgan (6)
2. Richard Seldon (6)
3. Ryan Gregory (6)
4. Mark Jennings (6)
4. Charlie Seward (6)
9. Ian Hammett (6)
17. Phil Beall (6)
18. Chris Nicholls (6)


20. Darren Gipson (6)
22. Chris Gregory (6)

Goal Scorers:

3 x Daniel Stafford


2 x Charlie Seward


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