Sandy Reserves: Match Report v Bedford Panthers

Competition League - Division Four
Result Bedford Panthers 1-2 Sandy Reserves
Date Saturday 25 February 2012
Kick Off 2.30pm

Match Report

Despite a usually big squad for Sandy Reserves, player availability for this away win was challenged as the weekend grew nearer. Early in the week indications were that selection would consist of 4 subs which had been reduced to just 1 on the day by the time that the game came round. Luke Morgan a resent regular visitor to the reserves side was called back to the first team, and Darren Gipson was also loaned to the first team squad as they were also struggling with numbers.  The third player was then not available due to work commitments leaving the side stretched for a tough encounter against the team that had knocked them out of the Watson Shield on New Years Eve.


Manager Tony Gregory though managed to ensure that Sandy still with a strong selection of players, headed out to Bedford Hockey centre for the challenge against their hosts for the afternoon Bedford Panthers.


It was a glorious day weather wise and with the sun shining and the players in a positive attitude the first half got under way. Bedford Panthers put some early pressure on the visitors as they floated some long balls down the right hand side, Sandy's back line managed to repel the attacks though, returning the ball back up field trying to counter attack and take advantage. The play though was being read by the opposition and the ball intercepted regularly.


Sandy were creating the best of the chances but were not able to convert them into goals. However it was only going to be a matter of time and finally Sandy's first goal came. Danny Hoole stepped up for a free kick just outside the box, hitting it low and hard it went through the wall and deflected out from a defender. A bit of luck meant that that Matt Baines profitted as he picked up the deflected ball and back healed it into the net for a Ronaldo'esk finish.


The home side responded well to going behind though and the lead was not held for long. The panthers managed to score as their player headed in an easy goal from a corner. This created a bit of unsettlement in the Sandy ranks, with the players having a few moans and groans. This apparent shift in attitude meant they faced an uphill battle for the remainder of the half and only just managed to keep the score level as the half time whistle was finally heard.


As the players came off the pitch, there were a few more moans, which were soon put to bed with a few home truths from Manager Tony Gregory. He gave a very strong chat about what had been viewed from the side line and things were planely explained for each player to understand that this was not a game for blame, and that team spirit was the key to the teams previous positive results and could well be the key to winning this game.


The half time break appeared to have sorted out the attitude, and Sandy Reserves started the second half in a positive manner. The visitors resumed the normal excellent level of football usually being played, and they started to create even more chances.


The most notbale of these was created by leading scorer Jonnie Stratford as he ran the ball out to the edge of the 18 yard line with his strike partner Chris Gregory following up across goal. Stratford sent the cross in low and fast across the box, but it was just out of the reach of Gregory. Shortly after though Sandy were again on the attack and heading back out from our own half. Jonnie again picked up the play, and then found his partner as he was overlapped by a super sonic run from Chris. Taking the ball with him and heading toward goal, however he fired the shot wide of the far post.


Sandys midfield and defence were kept busy throughout though as the Panthers attacks came in, especially down the right side. Ryan Gregory's movement on and off the ball within the game earned him man of the match though as he tried to influence play.


It was the visiting side that were rewarded for their efforts though as they once again attacked, and with a positive pass in toward the middle from Chris Gregory, finding Danny Hoole, they managed to clinch what proved to be the winner.


Late on as the hosts went in search of an equaliser Phil Cooper in the Sandy goal was also challenged as he finger tipped a save over the crossbar. The last 10 minutes of the contest were tence, but Sandy managed to keep possession of the ball, even showing some maturity and holding it out on the corner flag, with no where to go, or turn and the only option was to deflect the ball out of play for a Sandy throw. This frustrated the opposition and allowed Sandy to hold on for the win.


The second half proved that the players have it in them to gain all three points on the day. Final Score 2-1

Match Stats

Starting Line-up:

8. Chris Gregory (8)
14. Matt Flynn (8)
15. Reece Pope (8)
16. Adam Hales (8)
17. Danny Hoole (8)
20. Matt Baines (8)
21. Jonny Stratford (8)
29. Ryan Burgess (8)
31. Ryan Gregory (8)
50. John Sheppard (8)

Goal Scorers:

1 x Danny Hoole
1 x Matt Baines


1 x Chris Gregory
1 x Danny Hoole

Man of the Match:

31. Ryan Gregory


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