A bang and whimper…
KNUTSFORD exited the Cheshire League Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage on Saturday with something of a whimper at Manchester Road.
Their season has definitely been hampered with a couple of significant injuries but the loss of a true goalscorer in Steve Lunt has been sorely evident. They lacked a spark and a cutting edge and that was sufficient for Greenall’s to snatch the victory and keep their season alive with the prospects of silverware. When the Saints were last in town last August both sides were unbeaten in the embryonic Cheshire League table and the scoreline was also a 2-1 victory for the away side. Since then the Reds have endured some inconsistent results that have seen them slip into mid-table whilst Greenalls have also lost their way a little of late and occupy fifth position in the League.
Knutsford started brightly however. Sean Lynch had already been on a couple of incisive runs down their left flank but he made a most telling run and cross on 23 minutes. Skipping away from the close attention of visiting full back Danny Topping the Knutsford man did superbly well from the tightest of angles to whip in a cross that was met by a superb header from Martyn SIMCOCK that beat keeper Craig Clare convincingly inside his near post. It was a superb goal and the origins of the move were deep in Knutsford’s own half before the ball was sprayed out to Lynch.
Sadly Knutsford’s propensity to gifting goals to their opponents quickly arrived as Padgate were on level terms within three minutes.
Brendan HENNESEY hit a speculative shot from 30 yards and the ball took a slight deflection off Ebbi Rezeyan but it did not appear to be anything of a problem in it’s long trajectory towards the Knutsford goal. The Reds young goalkeeper Matt Harrison looked sluggish and appeared to suffer from slow footwork as the ball found it’s way into the top left hand corner of his goal.
In a game that was tight and offered little chances to either side stalemate prevailed.Hennesey arrived just past the hour to thump a header against Knutsford’s cross bar but the prospect of extra time was looking increasingly likely.However on 74 minutes the visitor’s gained the initiative.
The referee Mr Mulhall awarded a dubious free kick to Greenall’s wide to the left of Knutsford’s goal and Lee Deakin delivered a deep cross to the back of Knutsford’s penalty area. A lack of decisiveness from the Red’s point of view to deal with it was evident as as the ball hung in the air but James TABERHAM from an acute angle was able to meet the ball and send a looping header back across goal and into Harrison’s far corner.
It was disappointing and frustrating for all concerned in the Red camp, but no more than Knutsford boss Paul Schofield who must desperate to get his injured striker back in contention and embark on the sort of run that saw the Reds finish last season in terrific style when they became the form team in the latter part of the campaign and finished fourth.
TEAM: Harrison, Jackson M, Astle, Jenyons ( Jackson S 78 mins), Williamson; Warburton, SImcock, Rezeyan, Lynch; Jones (Liversedge 76), Myers. Subs (n/u) Schofield T, Wilkinson.
*On Saturday Knutsford are in action at Manchester Road again when League leaders Pilkingtons are the visitors. Kick off in the game, sponsored by Bob Farnon Tyres, is 2.00 pm
Final Score: Knutsford … 1 Greenalls Padgate St. Oswalds …. 2