Newly promoted Shefford & Sandy Men’s firsts started their season in some style on Saturday with a 5-1 win over Ipswich seconds.
Not only were they sporting their brand new playing kit supplied by sponsor Nott Pybus & Associates (Financial Advisers), but they recorded a stunning victory against a previously much fancied side in the East Mens League Division Two North.
S&S opened the scoring after only three minutes with a lovely first time reverse strike in to the bottom corner. With club coach Doug Dawson controlling the midfield the home side found themselves in dreamland as they reached halftime four goals to the good following precision strikes from Liam Stevens, Chris Fell and Danny Price.
Even with a squad of 14 to call on S&S found their levels dropping as the visitors sought to gain a foothold.
With Adam Symons being called into action on a more frequent basis in the home team’s goa,l Ipswich were at last rewarded following a rare lapse in concentration from the central defensive pairing of Stephen Williams and Jamie Bellingham which in turn led to a far post tap-in for the unmarked Ipswich winger.
As if stung by this indiscretion S&S surged forward with Price once more playing the role of impact player by coming off the bench to slot home his second and his team’s fifth.
A final score of 5-1 did in no way flatter the hosts but they will be realistic enough to realise that there will be tougher days ahead of them this season, starting at Cambridge on Saturday.
HAving three players stuck on the M11 including skipper Dan Robins was not an ideal start to the Division 6SW season for the newly promoted Mens seconds but they came away from Bishops Stortford with a 4-4 draw.
With supposed retiree Trevor Bridger pressed into action S&S started the game with 10 players and took the lead with Steve Ashdown producing an excellent flick from a short corner. Bishops fifths though soon hit back with a goal that surprisingly snuck in. Ashdown then restored the lead, only for the Bishops to bring it back to parity before half time.
Into the second half with the heat and only 10 players, S&S started to flag and the Bishops took advantage to score twice. It was beginning to look as though it was game over but the arrival, if not yet on the pitch of Chris Reilly, seemed to inspire S&S and young Joe Purslow produced a fine bottom corner finish to reduce the arrears.
With S&S up to a full compliment they took hold the game by the scruff of the neck, Lewis Bridger flashed a warning to the Bishops with a great drive from the halfway line and a shot that flashed past the prone keeper. Minutes later an interchange between the Bridgers, put junior through and he produced a goal busting finish. The arrival of another player saw S&S lay siege to the Bishops goal, but despite the best efforts of Ashdown, Daz Hepburn and Purslow they could not find the winner. The M11 has many things to answer for and the loss of two points for the Mens 2s although minor, is another one to add to the list.
This was a great team effort with all the players playing their part.
A new-look Shefford and Sandy Men’s thirds won a tricky away fixture at newly promoted Stevenage fifths 1-0 to get their Division 8SW campaign off to a great start.
S&S were in almost complete control from start to finish and carved out nearly a dozen chances (including a penalty flick) in the first half alone. With better finishing 5-0 at half time would not have flattered the Black and Greens.
With temperatures in the mid-20s the youngsters of Shefford and Sandy stuck to the game plan and continued to pile the pressure on with some great passing moves. James Morris, Jake Foad and Angus Monaghan were particularly impressive in the midfield with some great running upfront from Elliot Wood and Bretton Woodhouse.
The breakthrough eventually came when a strong move down the right saw James Graham square the ball across the goal for the excellent Ryan Devlin to sweep home.
The Stevenage goalkeeper continued to confound Shefford and as the game stretched the reds had a couple of opportunities to score, the best being a drag flick against the crossbar, but with Tony Payne in goal and Man of the Match Matt Stevenson covering at the back the game was safely won.
With the rusty shooting out the of the system and some great all-round hockey played this could be a big year for the side
Unlike last year the fourths were able to get a full team out for the first game in Division 9SW and lost 1-0 to Stevenage sixths. This was a fairly even game with both sides having good opportunities to score. As it was Stevenage managed the only goal of the game and despite a plethora of chances the one thing the fourths missed was a natural goal scorer.
James Steer in goal was excellent, but his fellow keeper playing in an on field role, Charlie Garwood, was the man of the match for a hard working performance, turning defence into attack on countless occasions. Ed De Luca looked good in the forward line and both Alistair Wood and Jamie Parkes in their league debuts both acquitted themselves well.