Match Report

AFC Kempston Town Reserves

05 Mar 2011   2.30PM   Division One

AFC Kempston Town Reserves 1-4 Sandy 1st Team

Sandy travelled to Hillgrounds looking to take fifth place in the league and extend their unbeaten run to ten games. Facing a bottom of the table AFC Kempston Town Res they had high hopes of achieving this goal althouh manager Ian Hammett warned against complacency after they had lost to their hosts in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

Sandy named an unchanged starting line up, with Mark Westbrook returning to the squad to sit on the bench with Luke Morgan. Sandy started the game well, settling quickly and looking solid. They tried to play football and a nice early move saw Craig Baker find JJ Pekszyc in the middle of the park, JJ took the ball on and fired a shot left footed from twenty yards which flew closs to the top corner. It was a warning to the home side that the visitors meant business.

It was to be an error that gave Sandy the lead though as a defender failed to clear the ball convincingly and it fell to Ian Hammett. Hammett took the ball into the box and fired a left foot pea roller inside the near post, the keeper bamboozled by the bobble the ball took on the line causing hime to miss it and give Sandy the lead. Shortly after it was two nil as Hammett turned provider from a corner. Hammett whipped the ball on to the penalty spot where Craig Baker as casual as ever stood and headed the ball over the keeper and player on the line. It was a comfortable lead that Sandy had deserved as although at times the football had been scrappy Sandy had dominated.

As always though the visitors took their foot off the gas and let the home side back into the contest for a while. From a throw in on the left, a Kempston player was allowed to cut in unopposed and rifle in a powerful shot from thirty yards out, that Mark Pallister in the Sandy goal could only get a hand too. Other than picking the ball out of the net Pally had had nothing to do for the first twenty minutes as again the back four proved solid. Richard Seldon at right back was having an excellent game as he rampaged forwards at every opportunity but proved tenacious in defence against a speedy left winger.

This goal though gave the home side some impetus and they pushed forward, Mark Jennings was working tirelessly in midfield to break up attacks and protect the back four. Other than a couple of long range efforts though the home side never tested Pally again for the whole half. Sandy also failed to threaten the Kempston goal other than with long range efforts as both Dan Stafford and Rob Tapley fired in shots from distance that went wide. Craig Baker almost had the chance to grab a second goal as after a lovely flowing move between JJ, Seldon and Hammett, Hammett dinked a cross into the box that was just over his head. Matt Evans was also trying to break out of the back four at every opportunity to build attacks but nothing came to fruition and the scoreline stayed the same. Half time 1-2.

With the game finely balanced the next goal of the game was going to be crucial and Kempston started the second half strongly, pressing forwards. Phil Beall was having his usual solid game at centre back, with Shane Pope ever dependable at left back. Again though Kempston only had long range efforts to speak of that never really looked like going in. Sandy did have to repel several corners throughout the match, but most were cleared comfortably and often led to counter attacks for the visiting side.

Craig Bakers last involvement in the match other than arguing with the referee was to put Staf through on goal, down the left hand side. Staf powered into the box, but his effort went wide of the near post when maybe he should of squared it. Baker was replaced by Westy on the left as Sandy looked to hold onto the ball better and get that third goal that would kill off the game. It took a while before Sandy actually found that goal and it came from Rob Tapley. JJ launched a lame throw in from the right which Westy challenged the defender for, the defenders headed clearance fell to Tapley on the edge of the box who took the ball first time to fire a left foot shot into the bottom corner leaving the keeper rooted to the spot. It was a little against the run of play at the time but it provided the kick start for the visitors to dominate the rest of the contest.

Westy grabbed his first goal for the club to make it four one after an exchange in the box with Hammett who provided a lovely back heel into his path for Westy to curl to the ball into the top of the net under pressure from the defender. Westy then almost set up Staf as he received a back heeled through ball from Hammett to race past the defender and fire in a left foot cross across goal. Staf came flying in at the back post but could only direct the ball wide from a yard out. This was to be th first of a few horrendous yet comical misses from the home side as they should have built on their lead and improved their goal difference.

The next culprit was to be Hammett as JJ after good work down the right drilled a low cross into the box which all Hammett had to do was tap home into the empty net, but he somehow managed to get the bal over the bar from a yard out. It was then to be JJ's turn to miss a glorious opportunity as Staf squared it to him in the box but from four yards out with the goal at his mercy he blazde over, claiming unconvincingly that the ball had hit a mysterious bobble. Then Westy had the chance to double his tally as he tried to repeat his earlier goal cutting onto his right foot in the box to fire a shot high and wide from 6 yards instead of squaring it to the three players who were waiting for the ball.

The misses didn't matter too much though as the game was safe. Luke Morgan came on at centre back allowing Matt Evans to push into midfield. Morgan was solid with Phil Beall at the back once again demonstrating the strength in depth that the first team squad now has.

Richard Seldon went on a barnstorming run towards the end of the game breaking into the Kempston box, and pulling the ball back, but not quite finding Westy or Staf in the box. Hammett had a chance to add a fifth as Staf released him one on one with the keeper, but the keeper stood up and saved well deflecting the ball away for a corner. The chances just reinforced the dominance that Sandy had showed during the game and showed once again that they are a serious force in this league with a fourth place finish a real possibility this season. However the scoreline was to stay the same and saw Sandy cement fifth pace in the league, their highest position of the season. Final Score 4-1.