Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Sandy Reserves

Competition Friendly - Jess Piggott Tournament 2012
Result Sandy 1st Team 8-1 Sandy Reserves
Date Saturday 28 July 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy's Annual Jess Piggott Memorial Trophy kicked off the 2012/13 pre season campaign for both the 1st Team and the reserves, giving both managers a chance to look at there squads for the upcoming season and assess their options. Both teams were under strength due to injuries, holidays and work commitments. 

The 1st Team were missing regulars Phil Beall, John Joe Pekszyc, Mark Pallister, Oli Banfield and new signing Ryan Grant so they were forced into a reshuffle with last seasons leading scorer Dan Stafford starting at centre back alongside Luke Morgan. Dave Gill slotted into a defensive midfield role alongside Mark Jennings with Chris Nicholls making up a three man midfield to play just off striker Nathan Morris. The 1st Team were also short of a keeper but Sandy Colts u-17 keeper Joe Lunt came to the rescue and stepped in the breach at the last minute. The Reserve Team were also missing key players with John Sheppard out injured, Pete Rogan on holiday, and last seasons captain Adam Hales missing due to work commitments. However Webby made his debut in centre midfield with Ryan Gregory playing at the unfamiliar position of Centre back alongside Reece Pope.

Despite the changes for both teams it was a competitive start as the reserve side defended stoically as the 1st team settled into their new formation and style of play. Moving the ball well all around the field the 1st team probed and prodded at the reserve teams defence with last ditch blocks from Ryan Gregory and a couple of outstanding saves from Phil Cooper keeping the scores level. It was clear from the off though that some players were a little ring rusty to start with. None more so than Nathan Morris who had been handed a start up top for the 1st team but he was a little wasteful as several chances went begging. The best of these came after Hammett was released down the right he cut the ball back to Morris but with the goal at his mercy he didn't really connect with the ball and Phil Cooper recovered to block the shot before Ryan Gregory blasted it away. Hammett and Morris combined again only for the same result though as Baker found Hammett with a raking cross field pass in behind Pete Norman. Hammett beat Norman and Cooper to the ball lifting it over him to the back post but Morris couldn't quite get the angle right and headed over. It was looking like being one of those days.

Burgess and Webby were working hard against the three in midfield and having little joy as new boy Gilly pulled the strings for the 1st team. Staff and Morgan were comfortable at the back and Joe was not busy in goal. There were a couple of moments where Stratford and Chris Gregory tried to get in, but Lunt was quick out of his box and showed some nice footwork to get out if danger a couple of times. Staf was even trying to revert to type and pushing forward from centre back winning a couple of free kicks on the edge of the Reserve teams box. Jennings curled the first one into the wall and then Hammett forced Phil Cooper into a one handed save as he tipped Hammett's free kick over the bar. The warning signs were there for the Reserve side but they almost caught the 1st team napping as the ball broke to Webby in midfield. He picked a next pass in between Seldon and Morgan and Jonny Stratford latched onto it quickly, sliding the ball neatly past Lunt into the Sandy net, only to turn and see the offside flag raised. Things may well of been different if this had gone the reserves way but it seemed to galvanise the 1st team and they pressed forwards.

Hammett cut in from the right and then curled a left foot shot in that Cooper did well to turn away and then Baker blew a great chance to give the 1st team the lead as he dribbled past five players into the box from the left wing but delayed his shot and Ryan Gregory did well to stay with him and block the final effort away. It wasn't flowing football though that brought the first goal in the contest. Nathan Morris pressed the reserve defence and stole the ball off of Peter Norman at left back, he then burst into the box, ghosting past Reece Pope and sliding the ball calmly under the advancing Cooper and into the net. It was tough on the Reserves who then despite a strong start dropped their heads and they were duly punished in quick succession. Some great play down the right between Nicholls, Hammett and Seldon ended with the ball falling back to Gilly who whipped a ball first time into the box. Morris at the back post brought it down and then rifled it past Cooper leaving him with no chance and doubling Sandy 1st Teams lead.

Staf then decided it was his turn to get in on the act as he burst forwards from centre back. Straford went with him, but the 1st teams leading scorer from last year went on one of his trademark pitch length runs finding his way into the box he fired a shot that Cooper parried well, but it broke to Hammett who fired the rebound into the open net to make it 3-0. The Reserve Team were now tryint to recover from the quick burst and they wroked hard for a few minutes to try and get back into the contest. Chris Gregory worked hard to win a corner off of Shane Pope and a goalmouth scramble ensued with Ryan Burgess just unable to get a clean strike on the ball and Joe Lunt smothered the ball when it could of rebounded to Jonny. Reece Stratton and Darren Gipson were working hard on the flanks but were having their work cut out by the movement of the 1st team, with Chris Nicholls and Mark Jennings bursting from centre midfield to run the channels with Baker and Hammett cutting inside. It was a Jennings run that setup the fourth goal of the afternoon as Gilly found him with a ball over the top. Jennings got to the byline and the rolled back the years to his left wing days as he whipped in a right footed cross, Just missing out Hammett at the near post the ball eluded everyone except Morris who was at the back post for a tap in to complete his twenty minute hat trick.

With the half ticking down the 1st team were looking dangerous with every attack and the Reserve teams back four were battling hard to keep it at 4-0. Richard Seldon though had other ideas though as he intercepted a loose pass at halfway and broke forwards, he then slotted a lovely pass to Nicholls who timed his run to perfection to break the offside trap and the burst away from Ryan Gregory before finishing calmly underneath Cooper to make it 5-0. The scoreline was a little flatterng at half time as it hid the hard work that the reserve side had put in for the first twenty minutes, however some strong football in the closing stages of the half showed exactly what the 1st team are trying to achieve this season. Half time 5-0.

The second half with the reserve side keen to show that they were still in the contest and they started the half with determination and some impetus following their half time team talk. The 1st Team came out sluggishly and struggled to find the flowing football as the Reserves pushed and pressed, harried and hustled. Chris Gregory almost got in behind the back four and it was only some last ditch defending from Shane Pope that stopped him from squaring the ball to Jonny. Stratford was also showing why he was the reserve teams top scorer last season as he worked both Staf and Morgan hard. At one point he managed to isolate against Morgan and he cut inside firing a wicked shot towards the top corner only to see Lunt pull off a strong save tipping the ball away at full stretch. Bearing in mind he is about 6ft 4in that was a long stretch.

It was far more encouraging start for the reserve side and their younger legs seemed to be lasting longer than a few of the older players where it was clear some match fitness was definitley lacking. Gilly wasn't quite as effective in the second half although he did keep showing as much as he could and Jennings struggled to also get on the ball. Fittingly it was a long ball that brought the 1st teams sixth goal as Gilly played the ball forwards, Morris this time turned provider as he flicked the ball on and Nicholls again burst through and slotted the ball home past Cooper again for his second of the afternoon.

You would of thought that this would end the reserve teams resistance but they soon opened their account for the afternoon as the 1st team committed too many players forwards and play broke down. Peter Norman launched a hopeful ball forwards and Jonny managed to elude Morgan who missed the ball for the only time during the game. Stratford didn't need a second opportunity though as he burst away and then fired a powerful shot past Joe in the Sandy goal who stayed big to make it difficult. It was no more than the reserve side had deserved for the way that they started the half and seemed to galvanise them to lift their game. Jonny was being a constant threat and he almost added to his tally when he met a corner at the back post but headed wide under pressure. He then again theatened to get free as he broke behind Richard Seldon, but with Lunt coming out quickly to narrow the angle his lob went just over the crossbar. 

This was by far the best period for the reserve side, but their momentum was broken by a long ball clearance from Dan Stafford who caught the reserve teams back line napping to release Craig Baker into the box. Baker took a touch then casually flicked the ball over Phil Cooper. Ryan Gregory and Reece Pope both tried in vain to stop the ball from going in but Baker reacted quickly to bundle the ball home and restore the six goal cushion. This seemed to kick start the 1st team again and Hammett started to get more of the ball out on the right flank running the legs continuously off of right back Peter Norman, so much so that as Hammett burst past him and into the penalty area Norman inexplicably threw himself to the floor with surely the idea of trying to win a free kick. Hammett blazed past hm though and rolled the ball across the box to Morris at the back post who chose not to hit it first time and took a touch. This allowed Cooper to reposition and block the shot when Morris should of added to his tally.

A carbon copy of this break led to the 8th goal though as Hammett broke down the right and cut into the box, this time though pulling the ball back to Nicholls who controlled and fired the ball through the crowd of players to complete his hat trick. He then did what he called a celebratory flip, but it was more of a rotatinal crouch as he didn't actually flip, but we'll let him off as he did complete his first hat trick for the club.

With both sides now looking tired on the hot afternoon, goal chances were few and far between. Morris tried two bicycle kicks both failed to test Cooper in goal and Staf tried desperatley to get forward and score but his legs were failing him so he just tried to shoot from 40 yards. Except right on the final whistle where he burst forwards only to have Ref Derek Osborne blow the whistle and bring the game to a conclusion.

Despite the result both sides can take positives from the match and will now look to continue their pre season programs with a view to having a succesful season. Richard Seldon collected the cup for the 2nd year running and then a good BBQ was had afterwards. Thank you to everyone who came and supported and to those who heleped out on the day. Final Score 8-1. 


Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
9. Ian Hammett (8)
11. Craig Baker (8)
13. Nathan Morris (8)
16. David Gill (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)

Goal Scorers:

3 x Nathan Morris
3 x Chris Nicholls
1 x Craig Baker
1 x Ian Hammett


2 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Richard Seldon
1 x Ian Hammett
1 x Nathan Morris
1 x Mark Jennings
1 x David Gill

Man of the Match:

18. Chris Nicholls


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