All 3 Black Knights Team Struggle.
Knutsford Mens 1st string travelled to Liverpool Sefton with a heavily depleted squad due to holidays and injury and lost 11-1. Scorer of Knutsford’s only goal was captain Hodge.
Next week the Mens 1st XI take on fellow strugglers Colwyn Bay with a 2.15pm pushback at Westfield Drive with Hodge hoping to pick up his first vital points of the season.
Obviously with the 1st XI squad depleted this had an equal affect on the Mens 2nd string and they too were forced to re-jig and call up players from the 3rd XI. The second team welcomed Sale 1 team to Westfield Drive.
The game started at a frantic pace, with chances created at both ends. Knutsford, with Seedorf’s skill on the right and Yeates’ pace on the left, began to look promising going forward. Evans and Captain Pedlow began to boss the midfield, and Riley and Torrie exploited the space out wide, making pioneering runs into the opposition twenty five. Knutsford earned themselves a plethora of shorts mounting serious pressure on the Sale goal. Hickson stepped up, and as has become so common, smashed the ball into the bottom corner from the top of the D. 1-0 to Knutsford.
However, Sale managed to win a short corner, which was converted efficiently shortly after, back to all square (1-1). The Black Knutsford Knights then went ahead again through Evans who converted coolly after some slick stick work, 2-1.
Knutsford’s central defensive partnership of Moss and Ford – called up from the 3rd XI – then steadied the ship somewhat, and managed to keep Sale at bay until a shot deflected back off the post, hit Knutsford keeper Punshon on the back and rebounded in. This set the tone for the rest of the game, with Knutsford undone mainly by a lack of poor fortune. Just before half time Sale scored a second short corner, giving them the lead going into the break, 2-3 to Sale.
As the second half began, Knutsford continued brightly with chances falling to Yeates and Pedlow, where a sandy crevice caused a bobble on the ball and resulted in Sale clearing their lines. Sale won another short, which was again hit home leaving Knutsford with plenty of work to do with fifteen minutes remaining. They pushed on, but ultimately, it was not to be their day.
This performance was to be looked upon positively, according to captain Pedlow. He said ‘I believe we have learnt from our mistakes in the past couple of weeks. We must now, with passion in our hearts and fire in our bellies, move on from this and have the drive and hunger to record a victory next week.’
Hopefully the team will follow the captain’s orders and do just that as next week the team travel to Colwyn Bay.
Captain Hope’s improving 3rd team travelled to top of the table Sale in search of a first win and first goal of the season. Hopes were high after an opening 15 minute spell in which the midfield trio of pensioners Crabtree, Holah and Stanier passed the ball around the pitch beautifully. It was the smallest player on the pitch George Nairn who caused Sale’s defence problems with some excellent pacey attacks. New boy Nairn terrorised his opponents with his pace and persistence, twice chasing down lost causes and probing the Sale D with aggressive runs but no resulting shots on goal.
It was Knutsford’s failure to pepper the Sale goal during this early pressure that allowed the home side to gradually gain confidence and this culminated in a goal half way through the first half. Sale’s bearded midfielder spearheaded an attack through a spacious central midfield. With Cashmore just failing to intervene, a reverse stick shot from the top of the D slotted into the right hand corner of the helpless Guiseppe’s goal.
Knutsford heads did not drop and after another short spell of strong passing and breaks down the right hand side, two short corners were won with shots from Stanier and Holah saved by the excellent Sale keeper.
Hopes of going into the break just one goal down were dashed by a poor final few minutes of the first half. A Sale break away led to a second goal with Robbins again beaten to his right. From the restart Rich Holah attempted to take on all eleven opponents from a self pass and was disposessed by opponent number one. Sale capitalised with man of the match Baker only able to deflect a close range shot into the left hand corner of the goal.
Knutsford rallied in a scrappy second half and achieved their objective of a second half shutout. Baker, Hope and Cashmore made a number of last ditch tackles and Stanier spent much of the second half camped in the Knutsford D in a sweeper role.
Holah, Lawrence and Cunliffe were left to make what they could of rare attacks on the Sale goal. Cunliffe continues to show promise at centre forward and showed good skill and control holding the ball up before releasing intelligent passes. Another Stanier short corner was well saved and Robertson and Pass went closest yet to scoring the ellusive first goal of the season as close range attempts were thwarted by desparate Sale defending. Last week’s hero Ollie Lasham had another strong game but his forward runs were curtailed by a leg injury sustained during the warm up.
In summary, a disappointing result against a Sale side flattered by their league position and the scoreline. Nonetheless, more signs of progress for a re-building side who will hope to record a first win of the season against relegation favourites Bebington next saturday afternoon. Pushback is 3.30pm at the Leisure Centre.