Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Potton Wanderers

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 1-4 Potton Wanderers
Date Wednesday 06 April 2011
Kick Off 6.00pm

Match Report

Sandy faced the tough task of defending their 12 game unbeaten run against League leaders and local rivals Potton Wanderers in this evening kick off at Bedford Road. In front of their largest home crowd of the season, this eagerly anticipated contest provided plenty of drama and excitement for the spectators if not quite the result that the home side were hoping for.

In the absence of both JJ Pekszyc and Craig Baker, Rob Tapley was recalled to the starting line up after missing the win against Marston and Mark 'Westy' Westbrook and Brad Smith were given the wide midfield roles. Sandy were confident that they could cause the visitors some problems and take some points from this evening encounter.

The game started at a furious pace as both sides looked to deny the other possession and impose themselves on the contest. Sandy kept their shape very well and although Potton dominated the early possession, winning a couple of free kicks the home side were robust in their defending as they hunted in packs. Man of the Match Mark Jennings maintained a high tempo throughout the match as he enjoyed the midfield battle ground rising to the challenge presented by the physical opposition. Manager Ian Hammett had stressed the need to win the ball high and put the Potton back four under pressure. It was this advice that led to the first goal on 10 minutes as Dan Stafford won the ball off of the Potton right back. Hammett picked up the ball and ran down the left wing, pulling his cross low into the box right into Staf's path. Staf cooly finished side foot first time past the helpless Potton Keeper.

This was the game plan that Hammet had set out and it had worked perfectly. Potton stunned by this began arguing amongst themselves and turned the game nasty by fouling consistantly, several borderline incidents were for some reason let go by the referee who perhaps needed to be a little stronger in this volatile encounter. Westy and Rob Tapley were coming in for some particularly nasty treatment but both kept their composure well. A foul on Tapley led to Sandy's next chance as Hammett swung in the free kick to the back post, but Staf headed wide. Mark Jennings then had a goalbound header blocked by a Potton defender from a Westy free kick.

Potton were trying to force the issue and kept playing the ball long, but Sandy's back four were relatively untroubled. However Foxy did hit the post for the visitors with a rasping cross shot from the right that left Pally rooted to the spot. It was proving to be a bit of a war as both sides gave free kicks away regularly. Then came the decisive moment in the contest. The ref decided that the ball was flat and changed it, but this took time as he wasn't happy with any replacements. The delay was for a good couple of minutes and it broke the home sides concentration as Potton seized the game by the scruff of the neck following the restart to score 4 goals in ten minutes of madness from the home side.

For each of the first three goals Sandy lost their shape and didn't follow their runners which allowed Potton to cut straight through the team with some intricate one two's. Leaving three one on one opportunities for which Pally had no chance, beaten inside his near post twice and lobbed for another one. The fourth goal came from a wicked long shot that swerved and dipped into the roof of the net. The home side were punished in the harshest way for losing concentration and their shape something that had not happened for weeks.

Thats being said for the last five or ten minutes of the half they settled back down and could of maybe had a goal or two themselves. Phil Beall went on a barnstorming run from the back, but dragged his shot wide when he could of slotted Staf or Hammett in. Staf then headed over from a Hammett cross although it was a very difficult chance and then neither Matt Evans or Phil Beall could bundle home tha ball from a Rob Tapley Free kick, as the Potton keeper somehow managed to hold onto the ball in the scramble. Half time 1 - 4.

The second half was an even affair for the most part even though Potton dominated the possession again as expected. Sandy though learnt their lessons from the first half and maintained their shape far better not allowing any lapses in their concentration. Potton did have chances to extend the lead, but Sandy had one or two chances to get back into the game. The best of those chances was on a counter attack from a Potton Free kick as Pally came out and claimed the ball, his quick throw out to Hammett set Sandy on their way and Hammett played a ball over the top to Staf who had found space. Staf however tried to lob the 6ft 5in giant in the Potton goal, and the keeper pulled off an excellent one handed save to keep the scores the same.

Hammett was then involved again as some good play down the left with Brad Smith gave Hammett some space to whip in a dangerous cross towards Mark Jennings. Jennings just got to the ball before the keeper but the header went wide under pressure. It was mainly these half chances that were being created. Charlie Seward came on for Westy and made some impact as he had a couple of long range efforts that sailed dangerously wide and on another day may well have flown in.

Potton were still dangerous on the break as their wingers cheated and stayed forwards giving Shane Pope and Richard Seldon a torrid time at full backs. Both players though stood up well against the strong opposition and battled hard throughout. Potton had the chance to add a fifth when Phil Beall was adjudged to have given away a penalty by fouling the Potton forward, although it did appear that he got the ball first. However Pottons left winger missed the kick, floating the ball over the bar. Then Luke Morgan tripped over a Potton Forward in the box clearly for a penalty, but the referee summed up his evening by waving play on when everyone else thought it was a pen.

Although Sandy didn't create much else they did match the visitors for the rest of the second half and the only other chance of note fell to Phil Beall as he looped a header towards goal from a corner that was easily held by the giant in the Potton goal. The game drew to it's inevitable conclusion then as the ref blew his final whistle to signal the end of Sandys unbeaten run in the league. Although bitterly disappointed the home side will take confidence from the fact that they matched the visitors for 80 minutes. Manager Ian Hammett will be looking for the team to bounce back on the weekend as they visit Caldecote reserves, knowing that taking three wins from their last three games should result in the team finishing fourth, which would be their highest finish for many seasons.

All good runs come to an end and it is the measure of a team how they bounce back from adversity. Sandy will be looking to return to winning ways this Saturday. Final Score 1 - 4

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (7)
1. Mark Pallister (7)
2. Richard Seldon (7)
3. Shane Pope (7)
3. Matt Evans (7)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
5. Brad Smith (7)
7. Rob Tapley (6)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
17. Phil Beall (7)


2. Luke Morgan (6)
4. Charlie Seward (7)
11. Tommy Simpson (6)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Daniel Stafford


1 x Ian Hammett

Man of the Match:

4. Mark Jennings


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