Match Report

Caldecote Reserves

01 Dec 2012   2.00PM   Division 1

Sandy 1st Team 1-0 Caldecote Reserves

Following a morale boosting win at home to Luton Boys two weeks ago, Sandy went into this local derby with high flying Caldecote Reserves looking to make it two wins on the bounce in what was always going to be a tough and tasty encounter. Manager Ian Hammett however had a strong squad at his disposal with only Nathan Morris missing. New Signing Paul 'Juicy' Chamberlain joined the 14 and took his place on the bench as the home side opted for just one change from the win over Luton. Olly Banfield was given the nod ahead of Ryan Burgess on the flank after scoring two goals in his last two games.

Discipline was always going to be the order of the afternoon and Caldecote started the game by utilising the big pitch at Bedford Road, dominating possession although not really going anywhere with it. Sandy held a superb shape and let the visitors play the ball around at the back, snuffing out all the options to play the ball forward and forcing Caldecote to just pump the ball long. This was bread and butter to Beally and Wrenny at the back as they won everything. Even when Caldecote did get the ball up top, the home sides players just kept their shape and forced a frustrated side backwards.

The Opta index would probably of had that first 10-15 minutes at about 90% possession for Caldecote, but Pally was never threatened. In fact once again he never had to make a save and his only real action was punching a ball clear from a corner under pressure. He occassionally swept up at the back as through balls were overhit, but these were never looking dangerous. Jennings, JJ and Gilly once again formed their stoic triumvate at the heart of the home sides midfield with Hammett providing the focal point of any attack, and pressurising the back four.

Sandy were starting to win the ball higher up the pitch, something that had worked well for them against Luton and both Banners and Gregory on the flanks were looking to get in behind the visiting sides full backs. Frustration was already starting to tell as Caldecote figured they were by far the better side and one player was lucky not to be booked for lashing out at Beally and then JJ. However Sandy could see that they were beginning to rile their opponents and they took full advantage. Despite not seeing much of the ball the home side almost took the lead as some neat play in the centre of the park released Hammett down the right flank. Hammett crossed finding Ryan Gregory at the near post who flicked the ball goalwards and it was deflected behind for a corner. This was the invitation that Sandy needed and Hammett floated in the corner to the near post where Beally reacted first and stole in front of everyone to head the ball into the roof of the net and stun Caldecote.  

The visiting side were reeling from the goal and tried to re-establish their passing game, but Sandy were now settled and breaking up play at will. They were also becoming more of an attacking threat and although the final ball let them down on occassion more through the choice than the delivery it may of been more. It was almost two from another corner as Hammetts first effort was cleared at the near post but straight back to him, he beat the player and then chipped it back in were Beally headed over from close range. Banners who was now causing all sorts of problems down the right then put a dangerous cross into the box that was cleared. However it dropped to JJ on the edge whose eyes lit up, however his shot sailed well wide. Banners himself then got in after an exchange with Hammett and his cross shot whistled past the far post.

Caldecote were still probbing though although they were losing their tempers with the referee and the Caldecote manager was sent off for abusing the official. This seemed to stoke the fires of the contest and Caldecote won a freekick on the edge of the box that was fizzed into the wall, then the visitors won another freekick but it was curled well wide and didn't trouble Pally. Still the Sandy stopper hadn't had to make a save. Beally and Wrenny were imposing at the back with the former enjoying his best form, winning challenges and relishing the battle the game was bringing. A turbulent half came to an end with Caldecote becoming more vocal and Sandy looking more stoic, half time 1-0.

The second half was always going to feisty and intense and the visiting side made a couple of changes straight away as they looked to cause the home team problems. This didn't work though as Sandy adapted well to the change in tactics and once again just kept the ball away from the danger area and limited to Caldecote to hitting long through balls that were no trouble. Pope and Seldon were keeping the wingers quiet although both Gregory and Banfield were working hard to support them. JJ and Gilly plugged all the gaps in front of the back four and Jennings worked hard to support both Hammett and his midfield partners.

The early stages of the half were really even once again though and as the quality of the pitch deteriorated then football became harder and more passes were misplaced. Hammett and Gregory had a nice exchange down the left were Gregory got in behind, but the visiting side cleared the danger before it could develop. Goalmouth action really was at a premium as defense seemed to dominate. Once again though for all of their possession Caldecote weren't showing any signs of breaking down Sandy.

With fresh legs needed Burgess and Lenton came on to replace Gregory and Gill and this seemed to add a bit to Sandy. Burgess pushed forwards and almost created an opportunity and Lenton brought some fresh impetus to midfield winning headers and getting flick ons. It was mainly containment though as the home side held their shape. Caldecote did almost get in as Pope got caught the wrong side and the player burst into the box, however Pally did well to save at his near post. To everyones surorise the ref gave a goalkick and then choas ensued as the Caldecote player was then dismissed following heated debate with the ref. Unfortunately he used foul and abusive language. Sandy took the opportunity to give Juicy his first appearance since signing as he replaced Jennings who was struggling after running his legs off.

As usually happens being down to ten men actually spurred the visitors on and they almost created a chance through the middle but sheer weight of numbers prevented the play from coming to anything. It took Sandy a good five minutes to workout the changes but then they slowly started to get into the game, playing more of a 4-4-1-1 formation now Juicy was always on the last man and promising signs were there as he and Hammett seemed to combine well. Juicy almost got in a couple of times and one run he found Lenton in the box who fooled the defender but his first touch was too heavy and the keeper retrieved the situation.

Sandy were almost caught once on the counter attack down the right side, but Pally was equal to the first save he had to make as the ball was curled in from range not really troubling him. Juicy and Lenton at the other end almost combined again as Lenton ended up rounding the keeper but his effort was cleared off the line when he didn't really connect. Hammetts movement was finding space as well, and Sandy were able to counter attack well although they couldn't find that killer second goal that was always going to make things tricky. Caldecote did get the ball in the net but the player was well offside. This decision obviously didn't go down well and the visiting side gave the ref more attention that resulted in a couple of bookings but no more reds thankfully.

Sandy stayed strong and with the game running down JJ, Beally and Seldon all made breaks forwards as they got excited about potentially killing off the contest, but they came to nothing so the home side had to resort to solid concentrated defending. It was a splendid all round performance by the home side which meant that they saw the game out for a well deserved victory and picked up their second win on the trot. If they can keep playing like this then the signs are good. Final score 1-0.