Precious Points this Weekend
Knutsford Mens Hockey 1st XI secured a precious point at home on Saturday against Southport. It may be short of what is required to survive in the division, but games like this will certainly bring the fans back to Westfield Drive.
Strength and honour is Knutsford’s motto and on this occasion strength in both mind and body was required. Another well executed tweak of formation by Mat Hodge had an immediate effect as Knutsford took an immediate lead in the game with the skipper expertly finding Tristan Baddeley at the far post for a composed finish.
Nobody really thought that Knutsford would run away with the game and so it proved as Southport found their rhythm. By the end of the first half the roles were reversed as Southport went in ahead. The equaliser came about from a lack of concentration on the edge of the D, but the Southport’s second was a stunning reverse stick finish into the roof of the net from a ridiculously oblique angle.
Raindrops excavate stone, not with force but by falling often and Knutsford replicated this effect by slowly wearing down Southport. Stuart Kenyon was Knutsford’s heartbeat throughout and his 100% pass completion rate is an example to the youngsters that he teaches. A man of the match award presented after the game was rich reward for this consistency.
Knutsford reshuffled the pack with substitutions and this supplied the home side with the impetus and fitness to finish the job. The redoubtable Tristan Baddeley, oft the bridesmaid, architected Knutsford’s equaliser, returning the favour from the first half by supplying the skipper with the easiest goal he will ever score.
Inevitably in this dramatic game, the goal was cancelled out almost immediately but Knutsford were not disheartened. A rare opportunity from a short corner put the pressure on Jonathan Price to bring the men in black back into the game. His dipping, swerving strike evaded the goalkeeper and victory was suddenly a possibility.
Sometimes Mike Power can be so poetic in possession of a hockey ball, he must have trained with the Royal Ballet. His denial may or may not be true, but none of that mattered to his team mates after his superb goal that would surely secure a valuable win.
Knutsford’s effort and skill deserved a victory for their fans, but good luck is the companion of courage. Southport drove forward in the final stages and were somewhat fortunate to fashion a short corner which was superbly scored.
After the Christmas break, Knutsford will have to show the same flexibility and adaptability as they have in the last 2 games. As Hodge recounted “The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists. Fire tests gold. Adversity tests strong men”
The season restarts on the 16th January.
Knutsford Mens second team travelled away to Tameside this weekend with hopes of finishing this half of the season off with a much needed 3 points.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be Knutsfords day, after only 15 minutes of play, some sloppy defending and admittedly some skillful play by the Tameside forwards, the away team found themselves 4 goals down without a reply. But Knutsford were stoic in their resolve, getting their heads back into the game despite the deficit. Some skillful play by eventual man of the match Ed Higgs allowed Knutsford to start driving the ball into the Tameside half.
Knutsford finally got on the score sheet from a short corner, Dave Hicksons shot ricocheting off the keeper into the path of Mike Leaning, who slotted it away for his long awaited first goal of the season, much to his and his team mates relief. Knutsford finished the first half strong but went into the break 5-1 down with a mountain to climb in the second half.
The game became much more even after the break with both sides having chances on goal, Punshon, Riley, Ford, Anderson and Moss managing to keep the Tameside attacks at bay. It was clear however that the dynamic of the game had changed this half as Tameside played only a single player up front, pushing much of their team back to defend. Some clever play on the wings by Evans and Jones allowed the front men to test the Tameside keeper, unfortunately to no avail. It was Tameside who capitalized upon their opportunities in the D scoring another 2 goals to take the game totally out of reach of the men in black.
Not the result they would have liked to have taken into the Christmas break but hopefully the New Year will bring better and brighter things for Knutsford men’s seconds, and maybe a few points to go with it.Captain Nick Pedlow was quoted as saying after the match “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital”, hopefully something the team can take on board for the second half of the season.
Knutsford Mens 3rds fielded a strong 14 on Saturday bolstered by Chris Drake in the centre of the park. This addition to the team allowed Stanier to play further forward alongside Merrill and Will Cunliffe – and consequently Knutsford held much of the ball throughout the first half. However the home team were too rushed in possession and impotent in front of goal – and a scrappy first half ended 0-1 against the run of play.
Following sterling team talks from captain Hope and coach Armstrong, Knutsford approached the second half with more energy & composure and were rewarded with a Stanier strike from a short corner. Unfortunately South Cheshire attacked on the breakaway, got a shot away from just inside the D, deflecting off Hope’s laid stick and looped in slow motion over the faultless Giuseppe. A goal down again and tempers were flaring – needless to say Holah thought he’d help by having a chat to their “pleased with himself” umpire. However the 3s have plenty of experience of being a goal down this term and their further pressure again resulted in Stanier slapping in a short corner to finish the game 2-2.
Enjoy your xmas boys, come back sober and stronger for an important new year for the 3s. If the bulk of today’s squad makes themselves available for 90% of the coming games we’ll be fine. We reconvene again on 16th Jan at Chester where hopefully they wont make turkeys out of us.
The Ladies 2nd team played their final friendly of the year against Wirral based Oxton 4s and the team came away with an early Christmas present – a superb 7-2 victory which will gee the team up ready for the re-start in January.
With hat tricks for both Sara Middleton and Anna Morrison and a single goal for Vicky Royle it was an excellent performance by all.