BUTTERWORTH BRACE PUTS UNITED BACK ON TOP

KSB UNITED 3–0 MACC PARISH – SMCCFL Division 3 – 28th October 2017 – SLS Stadium @ Fearns

KSB United’s progress had halted with a 6–2 defeat at Oasis Reds, and with few matches being played, there was the danger of momentum being lost. Macc Parish may have lost their first two games in Division 3, but have long been a bogey side. Last season saw the Cheshire side do an unlikely double over United, with an off–colour home defeat and heart–breaking collapse at their place – United were coasting at 3–0 until a harsh Josh Hughes sending off changed the game, which ended 4–3.

Brett Aspden was keen to put those matches and last week behind and focus on a return to winning ways in the league. Hughes would keep goal and try and gain revenge, ahead of a familiar back four. Alex Marsh, Matt Gosnell and Dave Davies returned to a new–look midfield. Wayne Archer and John Kell supported Max Beswick in attack (the latter making his first start for the club).

Parish started well enough, with a few quick and skilful players taking the game to their hosts. United took a while to get going and had to undergo a period of extended defending. Hughes had little to do though but for mop up a few loose ends and tip a long–ranger over the bar.

United were stagnant in the opening stages, with their only real chance coming from a long ball that Beswick raced onto, his clip over the ‘keeper going agonisingly wide. Then a spell of niggly and sometimes scything tackles from both sides. First, Marsh narrowly avoided being booked, before the Parish number 11 getting a caution for dissent. Then a foul on Tom Pickup was followed by United taking a quick free–kick, only for them to change their mind and stop. Parish didn’t take the hint and played on despite the injured player still on the floor, leading to a hack out of injustice from Davies – prompting another yellow card.

The introduction of Phil Butterworth for the injured Beswick, and Jonathan Rigby for Gosnell reinvigorated the Streeters, who started to create chances. Archer was putting some great crosses in, but no one was getting on the end of them. When Butterworth finally got to the ball, he headed wide from close range. Evans headed over from a corner before the half nearly ended in joy. Johnny English strode forward to send a piledriver towards goal from 20 yards. The ‘keeper got a touch to turn the ball crashing back off the crossbar and out to safety.

Pickup was replaced for Gosnell and Rob English was added to midfield for the second half. United were clearly in the ascendency and begun on the front foot. Another dangerous Davies corner wasn’t dealt with by the Parish defence – the ball eventually falling for Kell to slot into the bottom corner. It was the breakthrough that started a period of dominance from the home side.

Archer had a long–range effort tipped over and Rigby couldn’t quite force a goal despite several attempts. Kell had another shot saved but it was a purple patch from Butterworth that killed the match off as a contest.

First, some quality football led to Rigby sending Butterworth clear – the forward bobbling home from close range. Then, Archer could have scored himself, but Butterworth took over and slammed his finish into the bottom corner for a quickfire brace and his first goals of the season.

There were chances to extend the league as Parish ran out of energy and ideas, the best move of the match involving Davies, but the midfielder skidded his finish wide after flicking the ball over the defender. Kell limped off near the end, but this was another convincing home win and yet another clean sheet at Fortress Fearns. United go joint top once more and face bottom side Central North SA next week. Aspden will want to continue with today’s example and take nothing for granted in the promotion push.

 

Team (4–2–3–1)

13. Josh Hughes (GK)

2. Johnny English (DR)

5. Brett Aspden (DC)

6. Ste Evans (DC) (c)

3. Tom Pickup (DL)

4. Dave Davies (MDC)

8. Matt Gosnell (MDC)

10. Alex Marsh (AMC)

9. John Kell (AMR)

11. Wayne Archer (AML)

16. Max Beswick (SC)

 

Subs – 7. Phil Butterworth (AMR), 12. Jonathan Rigby (SC), 20. Rob English (MDC)

Man of the match – Alex Marsh