IT JUST WON'T GO IN!

KSB 0–4 ST. JOHN’S BAXENDEN – friendly – 18th July 2017 – Haslingden Sports Centre

The second friendly of pre–season and the first evening kickoff. The match also marked Math Pickup’s second spell in charge of KSB, and he had plenty of decisions to make before the start of the season. St. John’s Baxenden may not have a regular 11–a–side team, but they have always performed well when facing the Streeters in summer friendlies.

Pickup opted for a 4–3–3 formation, ditching Phil Argile’s wing backs to suit the personnel. It was a mix of old faces, new faces and new old faces. Yiannis Flevaris made only his second appearance in 3 years as a trialist, having previously played for the visitors as recently as the weekend. The back four comprised of Brett Aspden, Josh Guest at centre back, with Sam Calvert returning from his year out to start at right back, and new signing Harry Connor making his debut on the left. Captain Ryan Clarke occupied the middle, assisted by Sam Lord on his first KSB match and first game in midfield. They were joined by the second debutant Alex Marsh. Jonti Calter was flanked by Daven Argile and David Kell up front.

The early exchanges showed two solid sides, patiently waiting to pounce. Calter had a header cleared off the line and he and David Kell had shots wide. The right was the primary source of danger, with David and Calvert linking up well.

Unfortunately it was the visitors who took the lead from a free–kick that eluded the defence and ended up in the top corner in virtual slow motion. The Streeters rallied and continued to enjoy much of the possession. Lord was desperately unlucky not to equalise when his rasping drive hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced to safety.

John Kell replaced Argile on the left on the half hour, and Pickup replaced the injured Guest in defence. Flevaris made a brilliant stop on the line and tipped another over, but then another set piece caught KSB cold to give St. John’s a two goal lead going into the break. Joe Archer replaced David Kell on the right at half time.

The Streeters were punished for a poor start to the half when a corner was headed in by an unmarked forward. But for the remainder of the match St. John’s were happy to soak the pressure and hit on the counter, something they duly did late on from a Streeters’ corner. Guest returned in place of Connor and Argile for Calter up front.

For some reason it just wouldn’t go in for the hosts, with Calter and the returning David Kell shooting wide and John cruelly hitting the crossbar. Clarke and Calvert also shot agonisingly wide and John had another goalbound effort superbly tipped round the post.

There were more questions for Pickup than answers, but despite the result and lack of goals this was a good runout and saw good debuts and returning heroes. The slimmed down summer fixture list means the lads will have to wait until next Wednesday to put things right against Helmshore Harriers.

 

Team (4–3–3)

1. Yiannis Flevaris (GK)

12. Sam Calvert (DR)

2. Josh Guest (DC)

5. Brett Aspden (DC)

3. Harry Connor (DL)

8. Ryan Clarke (MC)

6. Sam Lord (MC)

16 Alex Marsh (MC)

7. David Kell (FR)

10. Daven Argile (FL)

9. Jonti Calter (FC)

 

Subs – 14. John Kell (FL), 4. Math Pickup (DC), 11. Joe Archer (FR)

Man of the match – Sam Calvert