Poor finishing costs Knowle
3-0 home defeat to Burton is hard to take
Finishing proved to be the difference when Knowle slipped to defeat against Burton Albion this weekend. Knowle started with a high tempo and pressed high up the pitch which unsettled the Burton defence and forced them into a couple of early mistakes. However, Knowle couldn’t quite capitalise on winning the ball in these advanced areas. Firstly Tyla Davison robbed the centre half but her shot was charged down. Katie Cook was next to have an opportunity after pressure from Katie Smith and Anna-Marie Robinson sent her free in the area, but the keeper saved her shot and also the follow up. Somewhat against the run of play of those first ten minutes, Burton then went ahead with their first attempt on the Knowle goal. The right winger skipped through a couple of challenges out wide, Sam Smith was caught out under the cross and the centre forward volleyed it home nicely. Knowle continued to play their game and Sarah Moore and Nicole Butler were both getting into dangerous positions out wide. Burton also found some joy down the wings, but Knowle’s defence dealt with every cross. The best chance of the half fell to Butler; Davison found Cook in the penalty area and she coolly drew the defenders in before slotting the ball square to the onrushing winger. Butler lifted her shot over the bar however. Burton created an opportunity to extend their lead soon after, but Rachel Gibson was out of her goal quickly to block the shot and Smith smashed the loose ball clear. Moore and Robinson were also on hand to help out their defence by tracking runners and making timely clearances. The last chance of the half fell to Knowle when Davison won a free kick right on the edge of the box. She squared it to Steph Hopcroft whose low shot deflected off a defender and caused a scramble which Burton managed to eventually clear.
Burton came out for the second half clearly determined to extend their one nil lead and they put Knowle onto the back foot for the first ten minutes. They hit the side netting, Sarah Jones made a fantastic clearing header under heavy pressure in the middle of the six yard box and Gibson dealt with longer range efforts well. The energetic Moore went close after a good team move, but Burton were now being more careful in possession at the back and so Knowle had to find a way through with their passing. They almost managed it when Moore’s angled cross found Robinson in the box and she lifted it over the goalkeeper but the ball bounced off the post. That chance gave Burton a scare and they pushed forward again; Gibson had to rush off her line to save at the feet of the forward and it was Katy Smirthwaite’s turn to produce an excellent clearance at the back post to deny the striker a tap in. The next goal was always going to be the important one and unfortunately for the home side, Burton grabbed it with a training ground corner routine which Knowle should have reacted quicker to The corner was fired low to the front post where the attacker had spun clear of her marker and finished well from ten yards out. Davison nearly produced a Gascoigne moment to pull one back when she flicked the ball over the heads of two defenders, but she didn’t quite connect with the volley. Burton scored the third late on when Knowle only half cleared the ball from the area. The initial shot was charged down and sent wide, but the winger squared the ball to the edge of the area. Knowle didn’t close it quick enough and Gibson couldn’t stop the shot from ending up in the net. The last five minutes of the game petered out and the score line remained 0-3, which Knowle will feel wasn’t reflective of the game. The Robins simply did not take their chances and in contrast Burton finished well when they got in front of goal; the result perhaps could have been different if Knowle could have grabbed that all important goal.