Success for Knutsford HC mens 1st XI in a thrilling Semi-final.
Cheshire Plate Semi-Final
Knutsford 2 Neston South Wirral 1
Knutsford welcomed back their captain Mat Hodge after a 45 day ban, ironically incurred during Knutsford’s league fixture against the Wirral side, which added spice to the match. The home side made the early play and eventually capitalised on 15 minutes when Adam Locke scored from close range after another clever short-corner move – deflected skilfully into his path by the evergreen Mark Fletcher.
However, Knutsford seem to have lost their killer instinct in recent weeks and when they conceded a short corner after 20 minutes there was a certain inevitability that Neston would score. Nevertheless there is an island of opportunity in the middle of every difficulty. Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records and Knutsford used the disappointment to spur them on to the final.
The key moment of the game came when quarterback David Price put up a huge aerial for Dave Evans to chase. The defence did not deal with the threat and Evans was left to round the keeper and slot home for the champagne moment.
As the temperature dropped, Knutsford turned up the heat on Neston. Mark Hadley began to impose himself and Skipper Hodge began to adjust to the pace of the game after a 6 week absence. Dynamic Dan Allen was a constant threat down the right side and Tristan Baddeley was at his whimsical best.
However, once again Knutsford lacked a clinical finish despite numerous chances. This left the defensive quartet of Simon Locke, Jonathan Price, Ian Ward and Mark Fletcher to repel the sporadic Neston raids. Goalkeeper extraordinaire Simon McCoy also brought off a fine save in the closing stages to ensure the win.
Knutsford welcomed the final whistle to set up another final in the competition and will start favourites against Bebington in March.