Sandy 1st Team: Match Report v Westoning

Competition League - Division One
Result Sandy 1st Team 4-4 Westoning
Date Saturday 10 September 2011
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Sandy started their league campaign with high hopes as they entertained newly promoted Westoning at Bedford Road. Manager Ian Hammett was forced to shuffle the team in the absence of some key squad members. Still without the injured Pally, Nathan Morris continued to deputise in goal, Shane Pope was recalled to the starting line up with Matt Gedney moving to left midfield.

Chris Nicholls who had booked the day off work was the victim of a freak fancy dress making incident as he somehow managed to step on a sewing needle and break half of it off in his foot. This meant that Rob Tapley who had been hoping to rest his ankle was required to play.

The home side seemed a little lethargic in the warm up and they never started the match with the same intensity that they had in their previous game against Potton United Res. This seemed to set the tone of the afternoon and you always thought this could be a uphill struggle for Sandy. Westoning were keeping the ball well as their small and mobile players moved around pulling the Sandy defence and midfield around without creating any clear cut chances. The opening ten minutes passed without much incident, but it was an error from the home side that gifted Westoning the lead. A long ball over the top was completely misjudged by Morgan and Phil Beall allowing the Westoning forward to nip in behind them. He tried a lob over Nathan Morris, but just as it looked like Morris would catch the looping ball cleanly he misjudged it and the ball went through his grasp and dropped into the goal.

The home side responded to the setback by trying to press the ball higher and ignite a spark in their performance, but too often they gave the ball away and tried to force the issue. This meant that Westoning could enjoy a greater amount of possession and have Sandy on the ropes. Sandy though finally managed to create something as Matt Gedney who was having an industrious game at left midfield won the ball and then slid it through to Dan Stafford down the left. Stafford powered past the full back and cut inot the box before firing the ball home past the Westoning keeper and into the far corner of the net.

The contest began to eb and flow and it was only a superb save by Morris that kept the scores level, as from a corner Morgan lost his man and looked on with relief as his goalbound shot was acrobatically tipped over the bar. Morris was having a busy game as the usually solid defence was having it's troubles. Phil Beall seemed to be off the pace as he continued his return from injury and despite the best efforts of Pope and Seldon , Sandy found themselves under the cosh.

Probably against the run of play Sandy took the lead though. Nathan Morris fired a free kick straight up the middle of the park and Stafford again got in behind the defence and calmly placed the ball past the helpless keeper. The second goal did signal the start of Sandys best spell in the game and they went looking for a third to try and gain some breathing space. Phil Beall had a couple of chances from corners to add to his seasons tally, but his first effort was straight at the keeper and his second header sailed over the bar when he rose totally unchallenged in the box. Rob Tapley and Mark Jennings were struggling to impose themselves on the midfield and Matt Evans was rarely getting into the game as most play came down the Westoning right. Staf fired a long range shot wide and also headed wide from a Hammett corner.

Despite all the Sandy pressure it was Westoning who found the back of the net again as the home side switched off when defending a free kick. Morgan won the first header but it fell to a Westoning player who fired a powerful shot into the far corner and although Morris got a hand to it he couldn't keep it out. The goal summed up how sluggish Sandy had been getting to the second ball and nobody reacted to the initial header. The game looked like is was destined to be all square at half time until late in the half Mark Jennings rampaged into the box and was brought down by the Westoning keeper. Hammett stepped up and slotted the penalty into the top corner to give Sandy a 3-2 lead at half time.

Sandy needed a vast improvement in the second half and for the opening minutes it looked they would give it. The free flowing football that had been present in their pre season freindlies returned and the home side moved the ball around well and they began to create chances. It looked like it would only be a matter of time before they added to the lead, but against the run of play a massive mistake from the usually dependable Phil Beall gave Westoning a glorious chance to equalise which they took. The ball was pumped forward and Phil Beall totally missed his kick (obviously distracted by his girlfriends newly dyed hair) and the forward ran onto the ball and lobbed it over Morris who had no chance.

Westoning sensed that Sandy were a little demoralised and they pushed forward trying to ram home the advantage and capitilise on the errors that the home side were making again. However although they had a succession of corners they couldn't test Morris further. Sandy then grabbed a spectacular goal out of nothing to re-establish their dominance. Westoning cleared the ball but Matt Evans powerfully headed the ball forwards again releasing Staf. Staf took the ball into the box on the bounce and then lashed a stunning shot into the top corner to complete his hat trick and give the home side the lead. Staf then had a chance to kill off the game as Matt Evans floated a free kick into the box, Staf stole in and headed the ball just over, grazing the top of the bar. Staf was causing all sorts of problems and he almost teed up Mark Jennings with a square ball, but with the keeper laying on the floor Jennings shot was agonisingly cleared off the line.

Sandy were pressing hard to add a fifth goal, as with the trend of the afternoon they always felt that the visitors could get back into it. Phil Beall tried to make up for his earlier eror by going on a trademark Lucio run, cutting through the visiting side he broke towards the box but inexplicably instead of curling a right foot shot at the goal he cut back onto his left and fired a weak effort towards goal. The home side were punished shortly after for failing to take their chances as again an error cost them. This time as the rain was teeming down Nathan Morris let a shot slip under his body and through his hands from a tight angle to gift the visitors an equaliser.

As Sandy then went looking for a fifth goal to try and get the three points they keft themselves horribly exposed at the back and Westoning had two good chances to take the lead, but they fired wide on both occassions when they really should of done much better. Nathan Morris then went down with an ankle injury meaning that he couldn't take kicks anymore and the game was heading for a draw.

Ian Hammett had the chance to give Sandy the lead again as he found space at the back post as a Staf shot was charged down. However he took a touch and then his shot was blocked by the recovering defender and the rebound was crowded out. Staf then had a lorious chance to score his fourth goal as he was put through one on one with the keeper, but he didn't get enough power on the ball as he poked it goalwards and the keeper save well down to his right. It had looked right at the last as if Sandy would nick the result but Westoning held on and both teams took a point away from an end to end encounter.

Manager Ian Hammett felt that his side need to make a marked improvement defensively as a team in their upcoming fixtures and cut out the individual errors that seem to have crept back into the side. However Sandy start the season with a point that could so easily have been a loss and they will look to build on that next week when they visit Lea Sports PSG. Final Score 4-4

sub not used: D.Gipson 




Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

1. Daniel Stafford (9)
2. Richard Seldon (8)
2. Luke Morgan (6)
3. Matt Evans (6)
3. Shane Pope (7)
4. Mark Jennings (7)
7. Rob Tapley (7)
9. Ian Hammett (7)
13. Nathan Morris (6)
17. Phil Beall (5)


4. Charlie Seward (6)

Goal Scorers:

3 x Daniel Stafford
1 x Ian Hammett


1 x Nathan Morris
1 x Matt Evans
1 x Mark Jennings

Man of the Match:

1. Daniel Stafford


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