West Derby draw for KHC 1st XI
West Derby 2 Knutsford 2
Knutsford Mens Hockey 1st Xi rescued a point in the dying seconds of a feisty encounter in Liverpool to remain joint top of the table. The first half was notable only by the absence of any real quality or cutting edge. Neither side could impose their will on the game, despite a high level of commitment from both sides.
The absence of Mike Power and James Howard seemed to leave Knutsford devoid of a cutting edge. However, after half time the match was transformed into an engaging encounter, full of chances, tackles, skill and goals.
The game really came alive when after 15 minutes of the second half, a misplaced pass fell to the West Derby centre forward who forced the ball past a sprawling Simon McCoy. An unremarkable goal, although it was Knutsford’s first conceded from open play for 7 weeks.
The goal inspired West Derby who had a spell of possession that resulted in another close range second goal. Despite the confidence and encouragement from Coach Paul Armstrong Knutsford looked dead and buried.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: The would is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Knutsford embraced the situation and applied themselves to a great escape.
A short-corner was required to kick-start the comeback, won by man of the match Tristan Baddeley. A push-out from Adam Locke was stopped by Ian Ward for Jonathan Price to rifle into the left corner. Game on with 10 minutes to go.
West Derby attempted to run the clock down but did not reckon on Knutsford’s doggedness. Opportunity always involves some risk. You cannot steal second base and keep your foot on first so the defensive players were released forward. With less than a minute on the clock, Knutsford secured another short corner. Welshman Dave Evans received the ball at the top of the D and aimed a ball towards stand-in Skipper Mark Fletcher. Fletcher deflected the ball into the goal to the delight of the euphoric travelling army.
Knutsford may well look back at this draw as a point gained away from home in a difficult fixture for most of the league. Knutsford welcome 3rd placed Bowdon to Westfield Drive In another tricky fixture next Saturday (2.15pm).