The Ladies Get Maximum Points this Weekend, but the Boys are still Battling.
Knutsford Mens 1st XI travelled to fellow strugglers Northrop Hall Saturday with what was one of their strongest squads of the season. They welcomed stalwart Mark Fletcher with a performance that won him the man of the match award and Simon Trenbrith returned from 3 weeks sidelined by a foot injury. The result didn’t reflect Knutsford’s performance and they were the better side for the majority of the game but for a five minute concentration lapse at the beginning of the second half where the visitors allowed Northrop two goals from some slack marking in and around the D.
At the beginning of the game Knutsford were the brighter team and their pressure told with an early goal – a short corner expertly won by Dan Allan was converted by Tristan Baddeley after Simon Trenbriths initial shot was saved by the Northrop goalkeeper. For the rest of the half both teams pressed well without being able to convert – defences holding firm and stats would more than likely have shown possession at 50-50.
Half time came and commander in chief Hodge rallied the troops for the second half asking for everything to be done slightly quicker on this fine pitch and for them to work on their short passing game that serves them well.
The complete opposite happened and Knutsford’s defence went to pot as two goals from Northrop put them well and truly back in the ascendancy. As is the case Knutsford were forced to chase the game in search of the equaliser and holes were appearing at the back – this allowed Northrop Hall to grab their third goal and look as though they would win the game. This would have been the case had it not been for some fine work from Goalkeeper Simon McCoy who kept his side in the game.
The travelling men in black showed they still had some fight left and went at Northrop attacking at every opportunity – the pressure eventually told as Johnny Price exploiting the self pas rule ghosted into the D to find an unmarked Baddeley whose shot somehow skewed to Simon Trenbrith and he found a defenders foot on the line to gain the penalty stroke and it was he who stepped up and converted it. With the score at 3-2 Knutsford were throwing everything at Northrop Hall in search of an elusive equaliser, it didn’t come even for heroic efforts of Ali Vale in the dying moments of the game when his diving effort was well saved by the home sides keeper. Knutsford could be disappointed with the result as again lacklustre defending and poor finishing cost them valuable points.
Next week the Men welcome local rivals Winnington Park to Westfield Drive for a 1.30pm pushback.
Knutsford Mens 2nd string welcomed top of the table City of Manchester to Westfield Drive but still had dreams of collecting points. Unfortunately the end result of 4-nil meant this was not to be the case. Next week the Mens 2s travel to the Wirral to play Neston’s 3rd string and will continue to hope to get some more points before the Christmas break.
With no game this weekend due to their opponents dropping out of the League Knutsford Mens 3rd team had a welcome break. This coming weekend they take on local rivals Macclesfield at Westfield Drive with a 3pm pushback.
Whilst the Mens teams continue to struggle Knutsford Ladies 1st team continue to battle well in their new league. So much so that this weekend’s result sees them move to second in the division again.
Knutsford Ladies travelled to Bell View on Saturday to take on the newly merged Brooklands Poynton. The girls knew that a win would see them leap frog BP into second place in the league. The game started at a great pace, with Knutsford showing that they were up for the challenge, and settled well on the water based pitch. The home side was showing signs of nerves at the back, and seemed to struggle as the Knutsford girls attacked as a compacted unit, controlled once again by the midfield trio of Katie Allan, Sarah Fielding and Caz Orchard.
It wasn’t long before the away side were rewarded for such early pressure, as Nat Riley was given too much time on the ball. With no Brooklands player seemingly wanting to put a challenge in, Riley ran through an open defense and struck the ball past the stranded keeper to make it first blood Knutsford. The visitors were delighted with such a bright start, and were looking to take full advantage of Brooklands Poynton’s sloppy defense, however, an easy game was not in the script; not today.
Brooklands regained their shape, and were starting to build momentum in their attacks; however the Knutsford defense of Nic Jackson, Liz Armstrong, Sarah Crabtree, and Man of the Match Tanya Westenaad showed they were more than a match for Brooklands. Knutsford kept the pressure on, with some great weaving runs from Heather Paton on the right wing, and Caz Daniel on the Left but the ball just wouldn’t go in the net. Knutsford remained in front until Brooklands found a hole in the otherwise sturdy defense and struck a hopeful ball in to the D, which was capitalized on by the Brooklands forward, to make the score even going into the break.
The second half was much the same, as Knutsford rode their luck with countless Brooklands attacks. However, it was Tanya Westenraad who stood up to the challenge with an outstanding performance at right back; letting Brooklands know if they wanted to score they’d have to go through her; a task proving near impossible! The flame that had ignited Knutsford’s performance in the first half was slowly dwindling out, as the game was closing out to be yet another draw for the away side. However, with 5 minutes to go Sarah Fielding capitalised on a loose ball from the Brooklands midfield and played in Nat Riley who turned her marker and ran for goal. Tired legs showed as the home defense couldn’t get a challenge in as Riley struck the ball through the keepers legs to make it 2 – 1 Knutsford. Knutsford closed the game out well, keeping possession until the final whistle blew. Knutsford yet again showing great character and a never say die attitude.
This weekend they welcome Brooklands to Westfield Drive in the return fixture and with home advantage will be hoping to take all 3 points again.
Last, but by no means least, Knutsford Ladies 2nd team welcomed Whitchurch and despite coming from behind 3 times managed to secure victory by 5 goals to 3. Scorers were hat trick queen Kat Heine and a brace, plus Man of the Match, to Sara Middleton.
Next week the Ladies play the final game in a Hockey Fest Day with 4 games at home with a 4.30pm pushback against Wilmslow.
Reports by Johnny Price, Nat Riley and Janice Tasho