Championship dream in tatters for KHC Men's 1st XV
Knutsford’s Championship dream lies in tatters this morning after league leaders Brooklands enjoyed a monumental result against their title rivals. This seesaw game was a classic that perhaps should have ended with honours even, but had Knutsford been more clinical in their finishing the result would have been different.
The game began at tremendous pace with both teams enjoying long spells of possession and attacking menace. Early in the first half, Brooklands laid down the challenge after scoring from a short-corner. When Brooklands scored the second soon afterwards, many outsiders may have thought that Knutsford would collapse.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination and this season Knutsford have shown consistency, resilience and belief that have underpinned their season. When 17 year old James Howard deflected in his first goal before half time, the roar of the crowd spurred on the home side to a second, also via the mercurial Howard.
As the second half began, it was Knutsford who were dominant and for 20 minutes were camped in the Brooklands half. Several chances went by the wayside but eventually took a deserved lead via a superb David Price short corner.
If Price provided the inspiration for many Knutsford attacks, it was skipper Hodge who was the heartbeat of the Knutsford midfield. Dan Allen was also a key player in the comeback as his tireless work rate was a constant threat down the left side.
Knutsford then had a goal ruled out before Brooklands somewhat inevitably scored an equaliser against the run of play – again from a short-corner. This rejuvenated the visitors who aren’t leading the championship because of a lack of belief. When another short corner was converted with less than 10 minutes left to make it 4-3, all looked lost for a desolate and fatigued Knutsford.
Sport is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired. So Knutsford ventured forward in search of the vital equaliser, throwing caution to the wind. When a Brooklands defender stopped a shot on goal with his body, Knutsford pleaded for the penalty flick that surely would have resulted in a deserved equaliser. However play was waved on and there would be no more opportunities.
Hodge was magnanimous in defeat, preferring not to reflect on the margins that separate victory from defeat. “It’s great to win, but it’s also great fun just to be in the thick of any truly well and hard fought contest against opponents you respect, whatever the outcome.” Knutsford may regret not taking anything from this game as the deficit is now 4 points with 3 games left, but they remain in 2nd place and promotion must now be the target.