Golden opportunity missed
Knutsford historically have been slow starters against Formby but tend to prevail in a high scoring game. The 4-2 win from 2-0 down was a case in point in the early season. Efforts from Paul Armstrong’s coaching staff to emphasise the point seemed only to conceive a self-fulfilling prophesy as Formby had the better of the early possession.
Only 8 minutes were on umpire Tim Anderson’s watch when Formby won the first short corner. A specialist drag-flick somewhat inevitably found its way past the sprawling Simon McCoy to leave Knutsford once again chasing the game against the Lancashire side.
Knutsford galvanized themselves and then began to create chances. David Price was intelligent and influential in midfield, supported by the grit and determination of his wing-men Dave Evans and Dan Allen. Sweeper Mark Fletcher gave a man of the match performance; a virtuoso display reminiscent of Franz Beckenbauer in all his splendour. Though generally as an attacking force, the home side were not as fluent as they have been and the rest of the first half was an anodyne affair.
Stand in skipper Mark Fletcher rallied the troops with a rousing half time speech “it a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. In war there is no substitute for victory.” Immediately, a different Knutsford sprang out of the traps for the second period. Man-to-man marking was far tighter and the Formby forwards were given no time on the ball. Fletcher, Jonathan Price, Graham Heath and Simon Locke tackled feverishly at the back and the combative Ian Ward gave no space on the ball to the midfielders.
As Knutsford pushed forward, the Formby defence was partially breached on 45 minutes to win a short corner. With his brother absent, Simon Locke became involved in the attacking set-piece. His delivery was placed goalwards by David Price towards James Howard who expertly deflected the ball back to Locke. A clinical finish was never in doubt as the ball was ruthlessly hammered home for the defender’s first of the season.
Locke resumed his defensive duties to great acclaim and Formby were superbly kept at bay by Simon McCoy and the Knutsford back 4 who have 170 years of experience between them. Defensively, Knutsford were as good as ever, but it was the lack of composed possession and a clinical finish in the final 20 minutes that cost Knutsford all 3 points. Chances were forthcoming for Tristan Baddeley and Mike Power amongst others but they were not converted and Knutsford ran out of time.
You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others to win the league. Knutsford will need to find another 10% at West Derby next week to be back on track to achieve their title goals.