Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Potton United Reserves

Competition Cup - Biggleswade Knock Out Cup Round 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 4-1 Potton United Reserves
Date Wednesday 31 August 2011
Kick Off 6.15pm

Match Report

Sandy's first competitive game of the new season was essentially a Quarter Final tie against newly formed Division 2 side Potton United Reserves at Bedford Road Rec. With a Semi Final tie against either Langford Res or Ampthill Town Reserves awaiting the winner both sides were keen to start their season on the right track.

Manager Ian Hammett had some difficult decisions to make after strong performances in pre season. Luke Morgan and Matt Gedney who have excelled were handed their first competitive starts for the 1st Team as was Chris Nicholls who has shone in the friendlies. Still without the injured Pally, Hammett turned to Nathan Morris to deputise in the Sandy goal. Conscious that Sandy are notoriously bad starters of a season Hammett stressed the need for a good performance and the team well and truly responded.

The home side started at a high tempo pressuring the opposition from the off, winning the ball high up the pitch and then playing some neat passing football to create space for one another. Small combinations were working well all over the pitch and it was only a matter of time before chances would start to appear. Sandy have been built on solid foundations this year with a lot of choice at centre back. Morgan paired up with the returning Phil Beall and both marshalled the defence well not allowing the visitors in behind them. Any long balls over the top were dealt with well by Nathan Morris who cleared his lines without hesitation.

Despite some neat intricate play it was from a set piece that Sandy took the lead. Hammett whipped in a low corner that Matt Evans missed at the near post. Thankfully this caught the defence out and Staf stole in to side foot the ball home after it had travelled all the way through a static penalty area. This was the catalyst that the home side needed to go on and dominate the first half. Chris Nicholls was drfiting in off the left flank and causing all sorts of problems unfortunatley though he semed to have left his shooting boots at home. First he dragged a right foot shot wide of the far post after an incisive run and then he fired well wide again when the defence opened up due to the runs of Staf and Hammett. Staf then had a right foot shot of his own from edge of the box and Rob Tapley tried an ambitious 40 yard effort that he caught well but the keeper gathered safely.

Matt Evans produced a moment of magic from the right wing as he cut inside, beating three players with a Lionel Messi style run and the then curled a left foot shot toward the top corner which brought a fantastic save out of the Potton Keeper. From the resulting corner Sandy were to make it two tough as Hammett found Phil Beall in the box and he headed the ball through a crowd to double the lead. Sandy were using their size at set pieces and causing all sorts of problems, Morgan headed just over from another corner and a dangerous Hammett free kick was just cleared before it could find its way to Beally.

Sandy had a injury scare to Rob Tapley as his bad luck continued catching a ball point blank in the face, however he took it like a man and dropped straight to the floor. He was able to continue but now looked like a chipmunk as his face swelled up and he couldn't talk in anything more than a mumble. Visibly shaken Tappers still linked well finding lots of space and spraying the ball around. Mark Jennings was having his usual industrious game and it was him that released Staf with a lovely through ball. Staf lifted the ball over the advancing keeper but it curled at the last minute and rebounded off the post. Phil Beall bouyed by his goal went on a trademark Lucio type run down the left flank and was found be Gedders, unfortunately his ball into the box was just too far in front of Staf who was waiting to finish. Other speculative shots from range followed again from Nicholls, and Hammett almost found Tappers in the box after a flowing move but Sandy failed to test the keeper further in the first half. 

On his debut Morris in the Sandy goal was untroubled for a majority of the first half, as all corners and free kicks were dealt with well by the organised Sandy team, ensuring that going into half time his clean sheet was in tact. However he did pull of one excellent save from range as a long shot was driven in. He plamed it away and then reovered to dive on the loose bal at the feet of the Potton attacker. Half time 2-0 

Potton started the second half the better as Sandy seemed to take their foot of the gas a little. Spreading the ball around nicely the visitors started to cause a few problems, but Sandy kept their shape and defended strongly. Richard Seldon and Gedders were not letting the wingers have any joy and any crosses that did come in were dealt well with by Morgan and Beally. Morris even claimed a few and then started attacks quickly rolling the ball out to Seldon or Matt Gedney to get the football going.

Morris made another good save to keep the score at 2-0 from close range as the ball fell to a Potton player at the bakc post during a scramble, but he stayed big and saved well before Morgan cleared the ball to safety. Sandy were struggling to get their passing game going in the second half and Potton had them pinned in their half, and it was only a matter of time before the visitiors would test the keeper again. Somehow the Potton forward Lee Garner escaped Phil Bealls attentions to get in on goal and fire past Morris from an acute angle, leaving Sandys keeper no chance. This seemed though to be the kick up the bum that the home side needed and the game went from 'game on' to 'game off' almost straight from the restart.

Richard Seldon made a run from right back and found Dan Stafford down the channel, he went for the return pass but it was collected first time by Mark Jennings who at pace rumbled past the last defender and then fired the ball powerfully inside the near post from 15 yards with the keeper routed to the spot. It was a quality free flowing goal and knocked the wind out of the sails of the visitors who had worked hard to get back into the game. Sandy then moved to dominate the game again and they settled back down into some good football.

Shane Pope replaced Gedders at left back and Olly Banfield came on to replace Phil Beall who was struggling with his foot. Inadvertantly this meant that Sandy went three at the back as 'The Kracken' Banfield seemed more intent on rampaging forwards than actually defending. As Sandy were having large amounts of possession though it didn't matter. During the second half Nicholls was still having troubles with his shot and his final pass causing him to get frustrated at times as again he failed to test the keeper. Hammett almost got Tappers in to make it four but the keeper managed to just get out and block the ball away from close range. However it was Tappers who then created the fourth goal as he drifted a ball into the back post where Jennings found himself completed unmarked and quite possibly five yards offside to head the ball home inside the near post. The linesmans flag never went up and Jennings celebrated equalling last years goal tally in the opening game of the season.

Ryan Gregory then replaced Matt Evans on the right flank and immediately settled in although Sandy were having to defend again as Potton responded well to the fourth goal. Sandy again though held their shape well and were communicating far better than at the start of the half ensuring that they remained solid. Shane Pope continued where Gedders had left off and pushed forward into the space whenever he could. He did whip in a wicked left foot cross inot the box but it was just too far in front of Hammett who couldn't get on the end of it. Gregory retrieved the ball and found Seldon who crossed from the right, but the Potton Keeper held the ball well under pressure from Nicholls and Staf.      

With the game coming to an end Hammett thought he had added a fifth as Gregory and Seldon combined well down the right. Seldons cross deflected up into the air for an age as Hammett moved in a headed the ball into the net only to be flagged for offside, very close call. However it wasn't to matter as shortly after the ref blew the final whistle and Sandy progressed through to the Semi Final and a match away at either Langford or Ampthill. Final Score 4-1

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Matt Evans (7)
4. Mark Jennings (9)
7. Rob Tapley (7)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
13. Nathan Morris (9)
17. Phil Beall (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


3. Shane Pope (7)
3. Ryan Gregory (7)
13. Olly Banfield (7)

Goal Scorers:

2 x Mark Jennings
1 x Phil Beall
1 x Daniel Stafford


2 x Ian Hammett
1 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Rob Tapley

Man of the Match:

4. Mark Jennings


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