POYNTON CONNECT 5–5 KSB UNITED – SMCCFL Division 3 – 18th November 2017 – Werneth School, Harrytown


A huge test awaited KSB United in this promotion 6–pointer. A win for hosts Poynton Connect would see them go above United on goal difference, but a win for United would see the top two pulling away from the chasing bunch. Poynton have been in good form and last season’s matches were two very different affairs. A classy 4–1 at their place was followed by a 4–0 home reverse so this was expected to be tightly contested.

Brett Aspden could select from a strong squad, but with Harry Connor pulling out of the trip to Harrytown. Matt Gosnell continued in goal, with a familiar back four but with Sam Lord at left back. The holding two of Phil Argile and the returning Matthew Painter were complimented by Alex Marsh just ahead of them. Daven Argile made his first start of the season to join fellow forwards Wayne Archer and John Kell – both in fine goalscoring form.

The first sign that this wasn’t going to be just another morning at the office was upon arriving to find an artificial pitch – not 3 or 4G but better than the classic astroturf. It would of course, be the same for both sides and United had been excelling on their Fearns pitch. It took both sides a few minutes to get used to, with the ball bouncing around and players struggling to stay on their feet.

But it was United who set their stall with a thunderous 30 minute performance. Archer bravely got onto a Tom Pickup long ball, heading into the path of Kell. The striker lifted the ball over the ‘keeper to find the corner of the goal. Minutes later Archer went through but could only prompt a good save from the ‘keeper. But soon the lead was doubled when Painter sent in a great pass for Marsh to bury his finish brilliantly into the far corner beyond the ‘keeper’s reach.

Poynton were losing their heads and gave the ball away to Kell, who nestled his finish into the goal once more for a third. Marsh found space to race clear on goal, but was cruelly upended on the edge of the box. The hefty challenge caused damage to Marsh’s shin, but no booking was given for the foul. Thankfully, Archer’s splendid free–kick curled round the wall and back in off the post to keep him top of the scoring charts.

Gosnell had hardly been tested but for a couple of long rangers, when Aspden made a double change – Matt Aspinall replaced Phil Argile in the middle, with David Kell coming on for Daven. The scoreline was made even more unbelievable soon after when Marsh bundled in from a sweet Archer corner.

Yet for all those thinking the contest was over, the game descended into farce. First, a shot deflected off Aspden past Gosnell to get Poynton on the ever–expanding scoresheet. Then a shot from outside the area was fluffed by Gosnell over the line. It may have still been a three–goal lead at half–time, but there was still a sense that anything could happen on this pitch and the next goal was going to be crucial.

Phil came back on for the limping Marsh, and soon after Aspinall replaced Pickup at right back. Archer had a golden chance to put the game to bed but again was thwarted by an outstanding save. United seemed to be weathering the storm with Poynton gaining in confidence and creating lots of half–chances – Gosnell then made two outstanding saves to tip the ball over the bar. Daven came back on for David Kell on the wing, but few chances were being created by the visitors.

Then, a fluke goal from the Poynton right back really made it a contest for the first time. He sent a searing long ball all the way over Gosnell from just inside the United half. Whether it was intentional or not, the home side were well and truly in the ascendency.

Centre stage for the rest of the game belonged to the referee, who seemingly decided to do his best to help Poynton achieve the unlikeliest of comebacks. Any objection to his countless objectionable decisions was greeted with a single ‘final’ warning, or a booking for United’s troubles. Aspinall was carded for challenging Poynton’s constant foul throws, and Marsh was booked for questioning another dubious decision. United could have sealed it once more following a sublime move that saw Archer centre on the volley for Marsh, but his first time–finish flew over the bar. 

Another key moment came when the game entered injury time. Aspden challenged a Poynton player for the ball, which was cleared. Despite there being no appeals, the referee pointed to the spot, awarding a penalty for who knows what. The United players were understandably incensed, and captain Ste Evans was booked for peacefully protesting.

The taker sent Gosnell the wrong way and there were now two minutes for Poynton to grab a fifth. 6 minutes passed and still no full time whistle. Gosnell tipped over what looked like a certain goal with perhaps the save of the season so far. It looked like United might just hang on until a corner was awarded for the home side when a Poynton player kicked the ball out of play. This further enraged the visitors, who must have still been thinking about the bogus decision when the resulting cross from the corner found a Poynton head at the back post to grab an amazing equaliser.

The referee barely allowed time for the restart before blowing the full time whistle. United were visibly distraught at somehow dropping two points, despite a draw being a good result to take home on paper. As the two sides shook hands, some asked the referee for an explanation of his various questionable decisions. This prompted a second booking for Alex Marsh, meaning a red card. Ste Evans was also shown a second yellow as he was leaving the pitch, meaning he only found out about it in the changing room afterwards.

This may have been a complete collapse to go from five goals up, and indeed United were simply not at their best for large periods of this game. They should have put the game to bed long before the referee started to dictate events, but the taste of injustice will remain for a good long time yet.



Team (4–2–3–1)

13. Matt Gosnell (GK)

2. Tom Pickup (DR)

5. Ste Evans (DC) (c)

6. Brett Aspden (DC)

3. Sam Lord (DL)

4. Phil Argile (MDC)

8. Matthew Painter (MDC)

10. Alex Marsh (AMC)

11. Wayne Archer (AML)

7. Daven Argile (AMR)

9. John Kell (SC)


Subs – 12. Matt Aspinall (MC), 20. David Kell (AMR)

Man of the match – John Kell