Double report special for Knutsford Hockey
KHC Men’s 1st Team Vs Bebington 1 st’s
Knutsford are back in the hunt for promotion to the Northern league following a last gasp win on the Wirral. Hockey has been cruel to Knutsford this season but the whole club is upbeat again after scoring a deserved winner with the last touch of the game.
Knutsford started superbly and had the ball in the net before Bebington had even touched the ball – a powerful flick from Simon Trenbrith finding the bottom right corner. However, within 10 minutes the home side were not only level but in the lead after two goals in quick succession. The first a spectacular finish from a pinpoint cross and the second a complete mix-up gifting Bebington a goal
Despite this blow to confdence, Knutsford were still playing progressive hockey and a sensational move brought about the goal of the game. Ollie Parker linked up telepathically with Johnny Price whose pinpoint cross located the enigmatic Tristan Baddeley to fire home from close range to equalise.
At 2-2, defensively Knutsford repelled everything thrown at them. Graham Heath and man of the match Simon Locke were brick walls at the back, abeley supported by their wingmen Steve Torrie and Ed Higgs. When defences were breached, Jay Puncheon in goal was granite rock. In the second half Iain Lawrence made his first team debut and acquitted himself superbly and has a big future at this level.
By half time, Ollie Parker had put Knutsford 3-2 in the lead via a penalty flick, expertly executed into the top right corner and the umpire was predicting an 8-8 draw, such was the rollercoaster nature of this game.
Mat Hodge, returning from paternity leave, started to edge back into the game and offered dynamism and penetration for Knutsford up front. In the second half Hodge and Parker were rampant and it was Parkers cross who expertly found Hodge to nudge home from close range.
Between Knutsford’s 3rd and 4th goal a barrowfull of chances came their way but the game could not be killed off. Bebington gave themselves hope with a quick goal of their own and disasterously Stuart Kenyon was yellow carded for hitting the ball away, giving the home side numerical advantage. Knutsford were suddenly under enormous pressure and succumbed to a scrambled goal to put the Wirral outfit into ecstasy.
Bebbington pushed for a winner but the game seesawed once again as they were reduced to 10 men for a deliberate foul – at the very same point as Kenyon re-entered the fray.
Time was nearly up but Knutsford now pushed hard for the winner.
With the last action of the game, Trenbith scored a short corner to jubilent scenes at the Bebington Oval.
Caretaker skipper Dan Allen was overjoyed and started to observe leadership qualities in each and every man that will lead the team to success this season “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” Knutsford freely bloomed today and the season is back on track.
Final Score: 4 – 3 to Knutsford!!!
KHC Men’s 2nd Team Vs Macclesfield 2s
This Saturday Knutsford mens 2nd team squared up against Macclesfield 2’s on the back of two impressive games the previous weekend. Spirits were high and the black knights were confident of a win, despite having lost to the team earlier in the season.
However, Knutsford started the game dismally, gifting Macclesfield two cheap goals within the first ten minutes. Their pacey forwards were dancing rings around the Knutsford defence and scored a third goal not long after. Knutsford kept their cool though and got their heads back into the game, they began to pass the ball around and started to drive the ball deep into the Macclesfield half. Several promising drives down the right wing from Ollie Berkin and skipper Richard Jones resulted in a few missed opportunities and several unconverted short corners, but the goal was definitely coming.
Knutsford finally opened their scoring tally when a cross found an unmarked Mike Leaning at the top of the D, smashing the ball into the goal not being part of his repertoire a lazy first touch sweep was the order of the day, which clearly wrong footed the keeper, the ball bouncing off his pads and into the goal, 3-1. Knutsford knew that this was their come back and it wasn’t long before Jones found himself just outside the D with only the keeper to beat. A drive towards goal, a cheeky tap between the advancing keepers legs and a push in to finish meant the men in black had clawed the goal deficit back to just a single goal. With only a few minutes till half time it was important to keep the men in red at bay.
Unfortunately Knutsford like a challenge and a Macclesfield forward was allowed to find himself outside our D with 30 seconds to play and only Keeper Paul Adams to beat. With a steely gaze in his eyes the Knutsford keeper advanced at speed to intercept the ball, the somersaulting Macclesfield player was only a by product of the charge, but a penalty flick was the result. A well taken flick by their number 7 found the roof of the net and the score going into half time was 4-2 to the visitors.
The task at hand in the second half was not insurmountable and many positives during the latter half of the first half could be taken. This half was to be a much closer affair and staunch defensive play by both teams meant the score sheet remained the same for much of the rest of the match. Great defensive play by the back row and eventual man of the match winner Mark Townsend ensured nothing found the back of the knutsford goal, despite some interesting decisions by the visiting umpire.
The game ebbed and flowed with searching balls up field by both teams. Knutsford brought themselves right back into the game with 15 minutes to go when a cracking ball up the line found a grateful Dave Hickson, who drove the ball towards goal and with expert precision smashed it from the top of the D past a dumbfounded keeper to take the game to 4-3. In typical fashion though, echoing games from the beginning of the season, Knutsford 2nds lost the plot again and Macclesfield took advantage to score a final goal.
The game finished 5-3 and Knutsford were yet again left asking themselves how they’d lost another game to the men from Macc. With most of the second half of the season still to play Knutsford 2nds need to find some all-important consistency. Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. Lets hope the 2’s can take some courage and perseverance into the next game against Deeside and come out with a much needed 3 points.
Score: 5 – 3 Loss for Knutsford