Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Pavenham

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-0 Pavenham
Date Saturday 09 February 2013
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

After Cup disappointment last week Sandy returned to league action looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games. High flying Pavenham were to be the test at Bedford Road, with the home side looking to avenge the 3-1 defeat they suffered at their opponents hands early in the season. Preparations were thrown into turmoil though as regular winger Ryan Burgess was struck down with Flu on the morning of the game leaving the the side short. Olly Banfield (Skiing), Nathan Morris (working) and Paul Chamberlain (Colchester) were also notbale absentee's, however signing James Hearson made his long awaited debut for Sandy, ensuring that the 1st team could field 11 players. With Wrenny and Shane available from the start this week, Sandy reverted to their usual back four and JJ returned to the heart of midfield with Hearson making his debut on the right in place of Burgess. 

The visitors also seemed to be struggling for numbers though as they arrived with only 11 players and no one to run their line, so it was to be the ref who would have to attempt to do both jobs. Luckily for the official, he had very little to deal with and the lack of a linesman didn't cause a problem.

With both sides attempting to impose their passing game on the other, and both playing with similar formations they were effectively cancelling each other out. Pavenham enjoyed a lot of possession along their back four and into their holding midfield player, yet as soon as they tried to move the ball forward Sandy were equal to it and Beally and Wrenny cancelled out every long ball. Gilly and JJ were also effectively stopping the service into Pavenham's main forward threat and hence he was unable to dictate the play and build a base for the visitors. Seldon had his hands full quite literally with the less than nippy but very robust left winger and Shane Pope was enjoying a personnal battle with his winger whom he knew. Neither on was having much joy though and Sandy looked comfortable.

That being said the home side were struggling to get numbers forwards when they did have the ball. Hammett up top on his own was isolated at times and although he worked hard and dropped deep to link the play, Sandy didn't poor forwards. Ryan Gregory was working very hard on the left flank and proving to be Sandy's main threat with a couple of mazy runs and some tireless work off the ball. Hearson on the right was settling into the side well and some nice touches showed he was a good signing and having a positive impression, notably one run and cross was particularly threatening yet Sandy couldn't get numbers in the box to capitalise.

Jennings and Hammett pressed well up the pitch and slowly but surely Sandy started to get a little bit of joy in the middle of the park. They coudn't however quite create that goalscoring chance. Beally released Hammett over the top and the Sandy forward raced onto the ball cutting back inside before trying to find Gregory at the back post. The ball was intrecepted but fell straight to Jennings who fired over. Another similar attack then broke to Gilly who this time fired just over from range as well. Sandy then won some corners after great work from Hearson and Gregory on the flanks, Beally headed over from the first and then Pavenham managed to block an effort from Jennings on another as Sandy looked increasingly more dangerous. Top scorer and CB Beally was the first to actually get a shot on target as from a corner it was cleared to Pope who pumped the ball back into the box. Beally picked it up on the edge and with his back to goal he turned and fired a shot goalwards through a crowd of players that the Pavenham stopper managed to hold onto.

Depsite long periods with the ball all Pavenham had to show for their possession was an almost calamitous error from Sandy keeper Mark Pallister who had been enjoying an uneventful first half. However hearts were in mouths as a deflected ball back to him from Beally seemed to slip through his grasp and he dropped it behind him. Luckily he was far enough away from the line that it didn't matter and after turning several circles like a dog chasing his tail, the Sandy stopper discovered the ball and clung on, averting disaster. This was a busy as he was in the first half other than pushing away a corner that the home side then pumped clear. The only other scare Sandy had was from a corner, but Ryan Gregory did well to block a goal bound shot on the line and then also block the second effort that could of caused a problem or two.  

Both sides were playing good football at times, and defence's were winning out, purely by numbers on most occasions and it was obvious that this was going to be a close run game where one goal would settle it, and with the scores level at half time there was little to chose between the sides. Half time 0-0

With limited squads on a heavy pitch, it was going to be a case of who blinks first in this contest and Ryan Gregory set the tone at the start of the second half for the home side putting them immediately on the front foot. With Sandy kicking off the ball was worked out to the left flank and Gregory drove into the heart of the Pavenham half committing players and beating three or four before being crowded out and winning a throw in. He was then back in the action soon after as the ball was worked to the edge of the box and he connected with a shot that went through to the keeper without testing him.

This really galvanised Sandy though and they were camped in Pavenham's half. JJ, Gilly and Jennings were dominating the midfield with the latter pressing hard and high winning the ball and providing the threat. Gregory who had been busy from the off was then brought down about thirty yards out and Jennings faniced his chances but he could only fire the free kick just over the bar. It was a warning shot for the visitors now as the home side were rampant. Hearson was getting more and more joy on his flank as well and it was a moment of individual brilliance from the debutant that gave the home side the lead. Gilly won the ball in the centre of the park and found Jennings who released Hearson down the right. He took on the left back and drove into the box, before firing a rasping shot in off the underside of the bar from a tight angle to open the scoring.

It was no more than the home side had deserved from the start that they had made to the half and now they knew that they had to continue to work hard. Pavenham though did respond and desperately tried to get back into the game. The visitors influential forward was now dropping deeper to try and get involved, but still they struggled to get anywhere near to troubling Pally's goal. As has been the case for the last few weeks, Sandy's back five with Gilly and JJ in front of them have proved to be a formidable barrier and today was no different. A couple of those players though will be a little embarrassed to have been skinned by the visitors left winger, who was possibly the slowest player on view, however he used his assets well to hold off players like Seldon and Beally before trying to thread a killer ball through. Luckily for Sandy, Pope and Wrenny were there to avoid potential problems.

Pally was now a virtual spectator in the home sides goal, just taking the odd goalkick here and there. Pavenham did almost get in, but they failed to find the net with a flowing move with the centre forward offside anyway. It was Sandy that came the closest to adding to their score when Gilly had an effort from the edge of the box that looked like it was going to beat the keeper only to see it agonisingly hit the bar and rebound for a goal kick. Hammett and Jennings then combined well before the latter dinked the ball into the box and Hammett could only shoot at the keeper from a tight angle.

Banners had then returned early from holiday and threw a kit on before coming on to replace Hearson for the last twenty minutes to provide some fresh legs down the right and the Sandy winger almost got in straight away instead winning a throw in a dangerous position. Sandy were also winning corners, but with Beally well marshalled then defence were managing to clear the crosses without much trouble. The Sandy defender though did almost add to his tally when a freekick was cleared away and he picked it up on the edge of the box, beating one player before firing the ball just wide of the far upright with Jennings looking for a square ball.

Pavenham were trying to persist with their passing game, but with the match winding down they started to launch the ball long, which was bread and butter to Wrenny and Beally who again intercepted everything. With the wingers also in the pockets of the full backs and the wingers working hard in front the vistors were having no joy at all. Sandy were winning the midfield battle as well depsite JJ appearing to want to be sick on the pitch, he managed to battle through though. Sandy tried to break on the counter attack as they looked for a second goal, but the vistors where now dominating possession and with minutes left on the clock they won a dangerous freekick just twenty yards out. It was to come to nothing though as the ball was curled over the bar and not troubling Pally.

Sandy held out and recorded an excellent result, extending their run to six games unbeaten in the league and taking a notbale scalp as they look to climb the table. They will be hoping to take this form into their rematch with Elstow next week where they will be looking to make it 7 games unbeaten and six wins out of seven. Final score 1-0.

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (9)
2. Richard Seldon (9)
3. Shane Pope (9)
3. Ryan Gregory (9)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
5. Andrew Wren (9)
8. John-Joe Pekszyc (9)
9. Ian Hammett (9)
16. David Gill (9)
17. Phil Beall (9)


13. Olly Banfield (8)

Goal Scorers:


1 x Mark Jennings

Man of the Match:

3. Ryan Gregory


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