ASH BACK

WESTWOOD 2–2 KSB – friendly – 12th August 2017 – Co–Operative Academy, Blackley

Creating and scoring chances has been the biggest concern of pre–season, and manager Brett Aspden was keen to put this right with a more attacking display at Westwood. The hosts, a mix of them and sister side Westwood Blue, are a real attacking force but suspect at the back. With this in mind, Phil Argile’s favoured 3–5–2 formation made a quick return.

Harry Lord continued in goal, with an impressive back 3 of Adam Taylor, Alex Halliwell and the returning Matt Ashworth. It was the Bury lad’s first appearance in 18 months and so a momentous occasion. Dave Davies and Sam Calvert were attacking wing–backs, with a midfield duo of Luke Hobson and Ryan Clarke. Daven Argile sat just behind John Kell and Jonti Calter up front.

It was a pulsating opening from the Streeters, who did exactly what Aspden and asked and charged at the opposition. Within seconds, Calter had a drilled shot defelcted wide for a corner, and Kell had nearly latched onto a lovely through ball from Davies. The breakthrough didn’t take long though, with a superb move from right to left. Daven spread the ball to Davies, who curled in a perfect cross for Kell. The forward still had a lot to do, but brilliantly headed into the far corner beyond the reach of the ‘keeper.

The chances kept coming, with Calter and Taylor heading over from corners, and Davies having a shot blocked at the far post. The defence were solid, Lord hardly tested, and possession was regular. Tom Pickup replaced Calvert, shifting Ashworth to right wing back. Phil Argile also replaced his brother, moving Clarke further forward. Westwood started to come into the game, but were restricted to long range efforts and a free kick.

The second half continued in the same vein, with KSB producing the best football of pre–season. Davies and Clarke were causing untold problems, finding space and their men. Ashworth was sending in some delightful crosses from the right, but Calter and Kell just couldn’t stretch far enough.

Daven returned and soon got on the scoresheet. Another brilliant move should have ended with a Davies goal, but he unselfishly squared to Daven, who was beaten to the ball by a defender. Thankfully Davies’ corner eventually fell to Daven, who couldn’t miss from close range.

There were still chances being created but none were being taken. Soon enough Kay Street were punished, but in truly unlucky fashion. A cross from the left looped over its intended targets and over Lord into the far corner.

The players got a little nervous and minutes later Westwood grabbed an equaliser out of very little. A nice turn and finish into the top left hand corner gave Lord no chance. The brief period of pressure from Westwood was dissipated by more good defending, and it was still KSB creating the best chances.

The best fell to Phil with minutes to go – some more superb work from Davies led to Phil having a clear shot on goal. For whatever reason, he stalled and decided not to shoot, by which time the ball had rolled over the line for a goal kick.

Aspden was disappointed with the result but certainly not the performance. Although chances are still not being taken, much more were created. The defence was organised and didn’t deserve to concede twice. The players will take real encouragement into the final two weeks of pre–season from this display.

 

Team (3–5–2)

1. Harry Lord (GK)

5. Alex Halliwell (DC)

6. Adam Taylor (DRC)

23. Matt Ashworth (DLC)

2. Sam Calvert (WBR)

11. Dave Davies (WBL)

4. Luke Hobson (MC)

8. Ryan Clarke (MC)

10. Daven Argile (AMC)

9. Jonti Calter (FC)

20. John Kell (FC)

 

Subs – 3. Tom Pickup (DLC), 7. Phil Argile (MC)

Man of the match – Matt Ashworth