Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Shefford Town and Campton Reserves

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 3-1 Shefford Town and Campton Reserves
Date Saturday 15 September 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Having struggled to field a side in the last two league games this week Manager Ian Hammett was spoilt for choice as he had the luxury of 15 players at his disposal after Craig Baker had managed to get out of work in time to arrive for kick off. With new signing Dave Lenton arriving at half time and Phil Beall on the bench as he looked to start his comeback from injury, they were joined by Nathan Morris who also returned to the squad and took his place on the bench. Mark Pallister and David Gill returned to the starting line up after being absent for the win over Lea Sports PSG and Ryan Burgess kept his position in the starting line up after a strong performance the previous week.

Things were looking good against what could prove to be tricky opposition and the game started in the same vain as Sandy dominated from the off and Ryan Burgess immediately repaid the faith of his manager for his selection in the side with the opening goal just two minutes into the contest. Chris Nicholls picked up the ball in between the defence and midfield and slotted a perfectly weighted ball in behind the full back, Burgess held off the left back and then composed himself before scuffing the ball into the bottom corner past the helpless keeper. It was the perfect start for the home side and could of been even better for them a minute later as once again Sandy exposed the left back. This time Jennings won the ball in the same place Nicholls had, and he again played Burgess in. The young winger couldn't believe his luck, but this time with the goal at his mercy he got over excited and blasted the ball over the bar, not troubling the keeper. It was a huge let off for the visitors.

Sandy were on top and looking excellent, Shefford and Campton Town were trying to get out of their own half but constantly kept over hitting passes and Pally easily picked them up and started Sandy building from the back. The football was being moved about well and Ryan Gregory cut in from the left flank firing a shot goalwards that was charged down and retrieved by the Campton keeper. Burgess was then in the action again as Bailey found Shane Pope who had made a burst down the left. He delivered a wicked ball into the box which everyone missed except Burgess who fired the ball at goal only for it to be blocked away for a corner. Ryan Gregroy swung the corner too deep but Wrenny retrieved it and lofted it back into the danger zone. The Campton Keeper completely misjudged it and missed it allowing Jennings the simplest of tap in's for his second goal of the season, although Gilly thought he was going to miss. Sandy were 2-0 up in 7 minutes and it could foreseeably been more. 

Shefford didn't know what had hit them but for the next few minutes they escaped unscathed as Sandy tried one too many fancy plays in their quest for more goals and over confidence was to be their downfall as on 15 minutes and totally against the run of play the visitors were back in the game after converting a counter attack. Shane Pope got caught forwards and Sheffords forward exploited it with his blistering pace. He went down the right and delivered the ball on a plate across goal. Despite three of Sandy's back four being back though the lone striker in the box stole in and converted the cross to somehow make it 2-1. The visitors were back in the game unbelievably.

This spurred Campton on and they began to look very dangerous winning most second balls and starting to exert influence on the contest. Sandy did muster a counter attack of their own though as Banfield launched the ball up the line and Chris Nicholls broke free of the back line, he cut back inside and found Jennings on the edge of the box but his first time left foot shot was drilled straight at the keeper. Campton then had an effort from range themselves that failed to trouble Pally but they were now looking the better of the two sides. Bailey and Gilly were working hard to try and restore the football that the home side had been playing but the ball was being given away cheaply all over the park and it was now a nip and tuck contest. Despite their early dominance the closest they came to a third goal was through a cross shot from Ryan Gregory whose effort flew just over the bar.

On 35 minutes Pally produced a wonderful save to keep the home side in front. Campton had counter attacked down the left again but this time Morgan had been alert to the danger and had cleared the ball away for a corner. Sandy took a moment to get organised and they didn't clear the ball well. It feel to the Campton midfielder on the edge of the box. He chested it down and then struck a volley towards the top corner only to see Pally dive across and tip it onto the bar when it looked like a certain goal. This was a real let off for Sandy and they knew that they were in a game. The visitors had lifted themselves from their early display and were winning everything. With the half ticking down though Sandy looked to reassert themselves and Bailey won a free kick on the edge of the box, he tried to swing it in but clipped the wall and the ball looped up. Gregory tried t make the best of it with a flicked bicycle kick but it lacked power and the keeper held on easily. Jennings then had another effort from range saved by the keeper as he and Nicholls combined before Banfield launched a free kick into the box and Nicholls and Gregory both went for the same ball at the back post and contrived to both direct the ball wide of the post. Half time 2-1. 

The score line was far closer than the home side would of liked, but this season they appear to be a different Sandy side, one that isn't frightened of leading a game and with a strong bench they still had every confidence of getting a result. The start of the second half was scrappy as both teams looked to take control. Shefford had an early corner that was easily cleared and Chris Nicholls almost got in behind the visiting back four only for the keeper to come out quickly to clear but the goal mouth action was limited. Pally though was called upon again to make a good save as a mix up between Wrenny and Morgan allowed the forward to get in behind and Pally stayed big to save one on one with his legs.

After having the best ten minutes of the game at the start Burgess had struggled to get into the game and Nathn Morris replaced him on 60 mins to add a new dynamic to the team. Bailey shifted out onto the right of midfield and they looked to gain more impetus in the contest. Morris looked threatening and almost got in behind the back four as he, Gregory and Nicholls combined only for Yossi to beat his man and fire the ball wide of the upright. With the game getting a little bit disjointed Dave Lenton made his return to the Sandy side after signing in midweek. He replaced Dave Gill in the centre of midfield and immediately looked to make an impact, winning headers and bringing some more experience to the team.

Sandy were now being a little more defensive and having to work hard to keep the visitors at bay. Banfield, Pope, Wrenny and Morgan worked hard and Jennings and Lenton afforded them some protection. That being said it was Sandy who had the best chance to score as Lenton flicked a long ball on and Morris beat the offside trap turning and firing the ball straight at the keeper who appeared to close his eyes before diverting the ball away for a corner. If Nathan had hit the ball at any other part of the goal it would have been 3-1, but that just seemed to be the way of the contest.

Because of the pace up front Beally made a return to the side as he replaced Morgan with twenty minutes to go and was immediately called into action to sprint and close down the pacey forward. Slotting in beside Wrenny nicely he worked well on his return although there was one dicey moment as he went for a spinning roundhouse tackle in the centre circle but thankfully he came away unscathed. That couldn't be said for Bailey or Banfield who with the game running down both twisted their ankles on the hard pitch. However niether was so bad that they couldn't continue although Banners did slip and go down allowing the the left winger to get away. Sandy tried to recover but they coulnd't however although the winger found his striker in the box luckily for the home side he missed his side foot effort when it was surely easier to score. With a shift in formation the visitors now had a tricky winger on who was going on Mazy runs and winning free kicks but Pally was dominant from set plays and he came out to claim almost everything which calmed the back line down. Pallys influence and good saves rightly earned him the man of the match award despite some all round great performances. 

The game was coming to a close now and Sandy needed to either run the clock down or score again to make it safe and Ryan Gregory duely obliged with the latter as Pope found him down the line with a throw he cleverly spun his defender and broke into space. He delivered theball into the corridor of uncertainty and the helfpul Campton player diverted the ball into the net past his helpless keeper. This was just what Sandy needed and effcetively killed the contest. Sandy comfortably plaed out the rest of the game and took all three points from a closely fought contest. Manager Ian Hammett was happy with the performance and congratulated the squad on a job well done. The focus now turns to unbeaten Pavenham next week who host the Purple army as they travel looking for their third win on the bounce. Final Score 3-1

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Mark Pallister (8)
2. Luke Morgan (8)
3. Ryan Gregory (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
4. Mark Jennings (8)
5. Andrew Wren (8)
7. Ryan Burgess (8)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
15. Daniel Bailey (8)
16. David Gill (8)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


13. Nathan Morris (8)
17. Phil Beall (8)
24. Dave Lenton (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Mark Jennings
1 x Ryan Burgess
1 x Own Goal


1 x Chris Nicholls
1 x Andrew Wren
1 x Ryan Gregory

Man of the Match:

1. Mark Pallister


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