A Win at Last for the Mens 3rd XI but Disappointment for the Others
Knutsford Mens 1st XI trailed in a distant second in this most brutal of all local derbies at Westfield Drive. With only Dan Allan missing from a 1st XI, confidence was high that they could notch another win against their near neighbours.
Despite much quality to admire, the first half was notable only by the absence of any cutting edge from either side. Neither side could impose their will on the game, despite a high level of commitment and formidable skill.
Knutsford’s central defensive partnership of Preston old boys Mark Fletcher and Ian Ward was solid throughout the first half. However, short corners are proving Knutsford’s Achilles heel at both ends of the pitch. True to form, Knutsford conceded short corners in the 1st and 31st minute without reply, despite opportunities themselves from set pieces.
Two down at half time, but Knutsford were persistent. Mat Hodge was a dynamo at center forward whilst Mike Power gave a sterling man of the match performance on the left side of midfield. Power was the architect of much of Knutsford’s attacking qualities in the final third of the pitch. Frustratingly though, Knutsford could not convert their chances.
Winnington Park attempted to run the clock down but did not reckon on Knutsford’s doggedness. The home side’s passing was quite simply better than their clearly rattled opponents.
Opportunity always involves some risk and the defensive players were released forward. Two goals late in the second half from Ginger Rougemotte sealed the fate of a disheartened but proud home team. Knutsford simply didn’t get the rub of the green or the umpires whistle on this occasion and many a neutral observer commented on their lack of luck this season.
Knutsford remain rooted to the foot of the table, but as the half way point of the season approaches, the gap is not unbreachable. “Impossibilium nulla obligatio est” is the current Mantra issued by Skipper Hodge – Nobody has any obligation to the impossible.
Next week the team travel away to league leaders Didsbury Northern in the penultimate game before the Christmas break.
Knutsford Mens 2nd XI travelled to Neston South Wirral and came away 4-3 losers but this result will surely give the team hope that they could get victory against Crewe Vagrants this coming weekend, especially with home advantage.
Scorers this week were Dave Hickson (2) and captain Pedlow.
Knutsford Mens 3rd XI entertained Macclesfield 3rds on Saturday in a basement battle and came out victorious for the first time this season.
Knutsford have played some good stuff all season, but just haven’t shown enough resilliance or consistency at important moments in their games. On Saturday Knutsford were strong for the whole 70 minutes and were rewarded with the 3 points. Knutsford defended resolutly throughout and mention in dispatches to Roger Todd who returned from injury to sure up the side at LB. Roger’s experience and strength will be an asset for the second half of the season. Karl Stanier battling sickness turned on the style as always in the middle of the park and linked up well with the skillful Chris Yeates and the electric Jonah up front; their efforts finally rewarded with a well worked goal from a shorty just before half time. Jonah its fair to say made a big difference to the 3rds giving them a great cutting edge and scored Knutsford’s second on 45 minutes prior to his having to return to work.
Knutsford travel to Neston on Saturday for a 4.30 start to play the graveyard shift against the 1986 european champions.
Unfortunately on Saturday Knutsford Ladies 1st XI saw a halt to their winning campaign in the return fixture against Brooklands. The fixture had all the right ingredients to be another great game, and expectations were high. The match started well, with both teams showing great enthusiasm in the tackle, to stamp their authority on the game. It was around the ten minute mark that the first chance came, with the ball breaking free for Caz Orchard to lay off a ball the path of Katie Allan who shot just wide of the post.
Knutsford had the momentum and were playing some great hockey; striding forwards to get that all important first goal. The chance came in the 25th minute where the ball was squared across the D by Heather Paton to Nat Riley who hit the ball goal wards only for the defender to stop the ball on the line with her foot; the umpire showed no hesitation in awarded the penalty stroke. Nat Riley stepped up but flicked the ball straight into the keeper’s pads and failed to take her chance at giving her side the lead.
The game restarted with an air of frustration from Knutsford as Brooklands started to get back into the game. As half time approached there was time for one last attack by Knutsford but the chance was squandered and the whistle was blown to signal the end of a bright first half.
The restart brought much of the same by Knutsford as they charged towards the Brooklands goal to try and break the deadlock but none of the chances were taken, and Knutsford couldn’t help but feel frustrated. Later that half the ball broke free for Brooklands’ forward who was supposedly fouled in the area and the umpire signaled for a rather controversial short corner. Brooklands scored from it and Knutsford found themselves behind in a game that should have been dead and buried by half time.
There were few chances after that and as the game approached the end a final short corner was awarded to the home side, but yet again they failed to take their chance to level the game. The final whistle blew and the visitors went away with all 3 points. Knutsford played some great hockey at times but were punished for not taking their chances early on.
Finally, Knutsford Ladies 2nd XI welcomed local rivals Wilmslow to Westfield Drive for the final game of the day at 4.30pm. Despite having a depleted squad – including captain Paterson – the girls acquited themselves well and were unlucky to come away 2-1 losers. Scorer Sara Middleton and Man of the Match went to Anna Morrison.
The 2nd XI have now completed their league fixtures and can enjoy some friendlies prior to the Christmas holidays. They welcome Warrington this week to Westfield Drive for a 12.30 pushback.