FEMI FATALE

KING’S CHURCH MANCHESTER 2–2 KSB – Division 2 – 13th January 2018 – Barrack Street, Manchester

KSB’s first two competitive games were against last season’s Divison 3 champions, King’s Manchester. The first was a disappointing 5–3 away defeat in the Charity Cup, but this was followed the week after by an impressive 5–1 win at Fearns. So travelling to Manchester again would be a tough test, but one which the Streeters knew they would be able to compete in.

Matt Ashworth failed a late fitness test, but it was still a pretty strong squad for manager Math Pickup to choose from. On the long grass which covered a muddy pitch, the visitors started well – wing-back Sam Calvert got down the right and put in a cross which was tipped onto his own post by the King’s keeper. The home side responded by putting the Streeters under pressure but couldn’t make it count.

KSB got the lead when a good move down the left hand side saw Jonti Calter feed Danny Holloway. The swashbuckling midfielder crossed into the box, a defender misjudged, allowing Josh Hughes to stick the ball in the back of the net. Once again King’s came back at the Streeters, creating good chances of their own, but found Harry Lord in outstanding form.

The home side did get back on level terms when a failure to clear the ball allowed the King’s wide man to cross into a dangerous area, where the ball was seemingly thigh-ed in from just a couple of yards out. King’s piled on the pressure, but Lord wouldn’t allow anything to get past him – tipping superbly onto the post, saving when an attacker tried to round him, and making several other saves to thwart the Manchester side.

Having ridden their luck at one end, KSB went down to the other end, and once again the combination of Holloway and Hughes resulted in the latter holding off the defenders’ challenges, and firing in low and hard into the far corner. Yet again King’s responded by attacking the Streeters, and just before the half time whistle, they were awarded a spot kick when defender Josh Guest was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the area. The home gaffer Femi Alafiatayo converted a penalty in the Charity Cup match at the start of the season, but this time Lord guessed correctly and saved well, holding onto the ball as the half time whistle blew.

The lads knew they’d have to dig deep to hold on to the lead, against a team that is intent on attacking at every given opportunity. Sadly it wasn’t long before the equaliser came, with Femi curling in a beautiful effort giving Lord no chance. The KSB defence weren’t going to stop fighting, and battled to ensure King’s didn’t get a third – Adam Taylor, Guest and skipper Alex Halliwell all making excellent challenges to keep it level.

At the other end Calter and Hughes had worked tirelessly, but with the increasing need to defend, clear-cut chances were at a premium. There were one or two counter attacks which, with more composure, could have resulted in a decent opportunity being created, but KSB never really looked like scoring in the second period.

The Streeters fought until the end, and claimed a very useful point at a strong King’s Manchester team. The only blot on the copybook was a yellow card for Calter – KSB’s sixth of the season, something which has been a disappointing issue in the 2017/18 campaign. But the performance was strong, and at the top of the Division Two table it is all to play for, going into the final few months of the season.

 

Team (3–5–2)

1.Harry Lord (GK)

2.Sam Calvert (RWB)

3.Josh Guest (LCB)

4.Math Pickup (MC)

5.Adam Taylor (RCB)

6.Alex Halliwell (CB) (c)

7.Ryan Clarke (AMC)

8.Danny Holloway (MC)

9.Jonti Calter (SC)

10.Josh Hughes (SC)

11.Dave Davies (LWB)

 

Subs – 14. Daven Argile (SC), 16. Alex Marsh (MC)

Man of the match – Harry Lord