Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Shillington

Competition League - Division 1
Result Sandy 1st Team 0-2 Shillington
Date Saturday 01 September 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Following their mid week meeting in the East Beds Charity Cup, Shillington once again visited Bedford Road as both sides opened their 2012/13 league campaigns. Sandy were much changed as Mark Jennings, Luke Morgan, Daniel Bailey and Richard Seldon were all missing, where as Phil Beall, Dan Stafford, Chris Nicholls, David Gill and Craig Baker all returned to the starting line up and Manager Ian Hammett shuffled the pack with Matt Dear and Darren Gipson added to the bench as it looked intially like he might struggle to get a team out.

Straight from kick off though it was apparent that Hammett shouldn't of worried as the home side were immediately in the ascendancy and dominated the game from the off pinning Shillington back into their half and not letting them out. Gilly and Nicholls took over in the middle of the park and started all of the flowing football that was Sandy's trademark for the first 35 minutes. Building steadily the home side moved the ball around at pace, creating spaces and opportunities all over the park and within three minutes Staf had his first chance as Shane Pope floated a lovely ball over the top to find the Strikers clever diagonal run. Staf took te effort first time and lobbed the ball over the keeper only to see it drop agonisingly wide. 

Working the ball forwards at will Shillington didn't touch the ball for the first ten minutes and the full backs seemed to be getting all the space. Pope again created an opportunity as he found Baker with his back to goal on the edge of the box. Baker had cut in from the left, controlled the ball and then turned and fire his shot just over the bar. Sandy were then almost the victim of their own playing style as they conceeded possession on the edge of their own penalty box as Chris Nicholls and Mark Pallister tried to take a quick free kick and the rest of the team didn't react. Thankfully it came to nothing as Sandy cleared the ball well. Phil Beall and Andrew Wren were outstanding at the back together as their partnership was rekindled and Shillington only had that one sniff of the ball.

Pally was reduced once again to a virtual spectator, but he must have been enjoying the show as some of the football was sublime. Nathan was having a better game than on wednesday and he combined well with Baker who then found Staf with another great ball and Staf delicately lobbed the keeper again but this time the ball just went over the bar. It was then Bakers turn to have an effort as a nice exchange between Ryan Gregory and Chris Nicholls resulted in a splendid ball from Nicholls behind the defence. Baker stretched and got his toe to the ball directing it towards goal only for the Shillington keeper to pull off an excellent full length save tipping the ball wide. Unbelievably only 15 minutes had passed and Sandy should have been 3-0 to the good, and they needed to convert this pressure into goals as more chances were to follow.

Sandy's pressure won a corner that Shillington cleared, but Baker battled and won the ball back. He laid it to Banfield who floated a great cross into the box finding Staf whose volley from ten yards out was saved by the keepers legs. Yossi reacted first and got to the ball but the keeper reacted well and managed to get a deflection on the ball as Morris tried to go round him and he could only shoot into the side netting. Yossi then turned provider himself as Baker played a ball into him and he held off the defender before flicking into the path of Nicholls who broke late from midfield. He burst into the box and should of pulled the trigger, but he hesitated and stuttered before just firing the ball wide of the far upright. The first twenty minutes had been all Sandy. Ryan Gregory was having a solid game on the right and he gave Staf another chance, finding him at the back post but the defender recovered to block the shot at the near post. Gregory then played Staf in down the line, but again the defender blocked the cross as Staf looked for Baker and Nicholls.

Shillington were trying to just get out of their half but Sandy's back four of Banfield, Beall, Wren and Pope were outstanding and blocked everything. Gilly was picking up the loose balls as the two banks of four worked really well and shut down most of the space. Shillington were forced into trying to play football from the back and it was almost their downfall as the keeper scuffed a clearance to Staf 30 yards however the Sandy striker had no better luck from distance as his shot went wide of the upright. It would of been interesting to see the possession stats for the first twenty five minutes as Sandy must of had 75% but there had been no breakthrough and this was always going to be dangerous. Beally tried his best to change that as he burst forward and then found yossi with a ball down the flank and he won the corner. Gregory delivered but Staf didn't connect well with his header at the back post and it was cleared. Staf then had another chance as Baker released him one on one again but this time the keeper stayed big and saved well, although the Sandy frontman will feel he should of scored.

Pally then was called into action for the first time in the game as Shillington finally found some space and Sandy swithced off. It was a warning sign as the ball dropped to midfielder twenty five yards out, and his shot was flying into the top corner but Pally tipped it wide at full stretch. This bouyed the visitors into some action and they pressed forwards. Yossi who had an eventful then picked up an unfair booking for a tackle on the Shillington centre back, which caused some consternation to the home side as the Shillington number 9 seemed to be fouling people at will with no consequence.  Shillington were now enjoying posession and their ten minutes of play and Sandy were punished for not taking their chances as a quick break down the left flank saw the forward get into the box with Beally the wrong side, unfortunately the Sandy centre back who was just coming back to match fitness lunged in and although usually a ball he would win, he was jus that fraction off and the penalty was given. Pally went the right way, and Shillington obviously had some luck as their player hit the underside of the bar with his pen although relieved to see it hit the back of the net.

This was just like the previous season although Sandy recovered and pushed forwards as the half came to a close, once again taking over the game. Banners launched a long ball forwards and Yossi won the flick on, Staf escaped his marker and latched onto the flick but he fired his shot wide. Then Ryan Gregory had another effort that went wide from distance as well. Unbelievably the half came to a close with Shillington winning 1-0. 

Manager Ian Hammett tried to encourage the troops at half time, stressing that they were still in the game, but they had to take their chances and punish the opposition. Sandy knew that on another day they could have been 10-0 up and it would of been unfair to say otherwise. However we all know that football games aren't won on if's and but's. Sandy had to come out and perform straight away and although Shillington probably started the half better and did move the ball around but Sandy stayed strong with Andrew Wren winning everything and battling hard against the physical forwards.

Gregory and Nicholls combined at the other end to free up the Sandy midfielder but as he was about to pull he trigger he was brought down. Unfortunatey the free kick came to nothing as it was blocked away. Then came a hammer blow five minutes into the half as Shillington grabbed their second goal and the home side lost Phil Beall to injury. Beally twisted his knee a little in the corner of the pitch and dragged himself off, as had been discussed prior to kick off if he felt it then he'd be replaced. Before the change could be made though and with Sandy down to ten men Shillington took advantage and worked the ball across the box, and their winger got to the ball before Pope, probably the only time he did and his first time effort was deflected off Pope and swerving it into the botom corner giving Pally no hope at all. The home sidfe were stunned. How on earth they were 2-0 down nobody knew.

Sandy made the changes with Darren Gipson coming on for Beally and Banners switched to centre back and Matt Dear came on for Nathan Morris as they pushed Chris Nicholls forwards looking for a way back into the game. Shillington did almost make it three as Sandy reshuffled and got organised but Shane Pope cleared the ball away. The change in shape did almost pay immediate dividends not from flowing football but from a long throw as Baker launched the ball into the box, everybody missed the ball except Nicholls who reacted quickest and hit the ball on the half volley only to see it hit the top of the bar and the score stayed 0-2. 

On 60 minutes Sandy again threatened the Shillington goal as Matt Dear made his first contribution in a Sandy shirt deftly flicking the ball over the top and Staf beating the keeper to the ball, however once again his lob went well over the bar. It was proving to be a tough day for the Sandy striker who seemed to be doing everything right except punishing Shillington. Baker and Gregory were still trying to push forward on the flanks and Gilly released Baker down the left, but again he Shillington keeper who was probably man of the match for his side came out and closed the angle down before Baker could get there. Sandy were once again beginning to enjoy the possession and move the ball around, however the game wasn't being helped by from strange refereeing decisions that were leaving both sides flumoxed.

Sandy were again looking the most likely to score though as this time Gilly slotted the ball through for Staf but the keeper saved well with his legs, but Staf will have wanted to have done better. The home side were now throwing caution to the wind and pushing forwards. Hoping to try and force something. They had a decent shout for a penalty turned down when it looked for all the world like the Shillington defender had handled the ball but the ref waved the shouts away. Pally was then called into action on the counter attack as he saved well at the near post after the visitors had broken down the left.

Sandy were on top in everything except the one thing that mattered.. and still trailed. With the clock ticking down Staf had another great chance as Banners found him for ha free header 8 yards out, but he couldn't get over the ball and it flew over again. This had really been the story of Sandy's day, they had created a feast of chances but hadn't taken any of them. This was to be at their cost as the visitors withstood all the pressure and held on for a lucky 2-0 win.  

Manager Ian Hammett was left with little to say, after what had been a great performance but a very poor result. The Cliche of you don't win a game with just good football was never more evident and Sandy will hope to take their chances in future games and put matches beyond any doubt when they are on top. final score 0-2

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (7)
1. Mark Pallister (8)
3. Shane Pope (8)
5. Andrew Wren (8)
11. Craig Baker (8)
13. Nathan Morris (7)
13. Olly Banfield (8)
16. David Gill (8)
17. Phil Beall (7)
18. Chris Nicholls (8)


20. Darren Gipson (7)

Man of the Match:

16. David Gill


13. Nathan Morris


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