KSB UNITED 4–2 ST. JAMES GATLEY – friendly – 15th July 2017 – Haslingden Sports Centre

The first friendly of pre–season was also Brett Aspden’s first game in charge of KSB United. Opponents St. James Gatley were formerly known as SM United, and before that South Manchester Ambassadors. As ever, friendlies started at Haslingden Sports Centre, with ‘James’ back as referee. The rain had fallen and so the skimmy surface was more akin to a gritty autumnal fixture.

Aspden continued with United’s traditional 4–2–3–1 formation, with Matt Gosnell in goal and a familiar back four of Kyle Speight, Scott Dew, Ste Evans and Tom Pickup. A strong midfield of Danny Holloway, Luke Hobson and Dave Davies just ahead, were there to supply the front three of Wayne Archer and Joel Brown out wide and Neil Horne up front.

The visitors started the brighter and had most of the possession in the first half hour. Their tricky forwards were causing problems and they took the lead from a simple throw in on the left. This beat the United defence and the finish left Gosnell no chance.

But the hosts were soon level thanks to some good work from Brown. He put the ball back across the six yard line for Holloway to smash into the roof of the netting. Pickup nearly headed into his own goal and Gosnell had to pull off some cracking saves, and a shot hit the post before Gatley did retake the lead. A clearance found Gosnell out of his goal and helpless to stop off a blistering 30 yard shot into the goal.

Davies had two efforts go wide before being replaced by Kingsley Ashworth on the half hour. The English brothers also came on in defence, pushing Speight to the wing. Two goals in two minutes changed the game – both from set Archer corners. The equaliser was helped on to Horne, who confidently converted with his right foot on only his second appearance in a year. Then, Archer’s delivery found an unmarked Evans to head home.

The second half saw United take more control, with the midfield really getting stuck in and dictating play. Gatley still caused problems on the break and missed some good chances. Dew returned in place of Pickup, and Brown came back on for Horne.

Brown was soon in the thick of the action, classily finishing off a move involving half the team and a through ball from Ashworth. There were mini–tanties, one involving a late tackle on Dew and another after a late tackle on Holloway but thankfully James let things slide.

Aspden was well pleased with the performance and fitness levels after months without football. The next friendly on Tuesday will see a completely different squad, who will do well to impress as much as these victors.


Team (4–2–3–1)

1. Matt Gosnell (GK)

2. Kyle Speight (DR)

16. Scott Dew (DC)

5. Ste Evans (DC)

3. Tom Pickup (DL)

4. Luke Hobson (MDC)

6. Danny Holloway (MDC)

7. Dave Davies (AMC)

9. Joel Brown (AMR)

11. Wayne Archer (AML)

10. Neil Horne (SC)


Subs – 7. Kingsley Ashworth (MC), 14. Johnny English (DR), 20. Rob English (DC)

Man of the match – Luke Hobson