Knowle crash out the FA Cup
Poor performance sees Robins lose to Leek
A lacklustre display saw Knowle crash out of the FA Cup to a young Leek Town side this weekend. Knowle had plenty of chances, but couldn’t convert them into goals when it mattered and in truth did not put enough effort into the game. The first opportunity of the game few to Nicole Butler after good hold up play from Tyla Davison set her free to cut into the box from her right wing back position. Butler hit a screamer of a shot which cannoned off the inside corner of the post and crossbar. Katie Cook was following up as the ball dropped into the six yard box, but her header was straight into the goalkeeper’s chest. Katie Smith was next to try her luck from the edge of the box when Steph Hopcroft squared the ball and her attempt flew a yard wide of the post. Despite their chances, Knowle were not winning a lot of possession and were giving Leek too much time in the centre of the pitch to pick a pass. Sarah Jones was completely dominant in the air and a couple of strong tackles from the Knowle defenders meant they stood solid however. Knowle continued to break forward and a nice passing move on the counter attack put Davison into space on the right side. Her cross was inch perfect and found Anna-Marie Robinson in acres of space, but the away side’s goalkeeper managed to throw an arm out and stop the point blank header. The keeper also made a good save from the resulting corner and Knowle simply could not force the ball over the line in the goalmouth scramble. The Robins did eventually grab their goal, Davison ran the channels again before pulling it back to Butler out wide. Her first time cross found Robinson on the edge of the box and she provided a measured finish which kissed the inside of the post on its way into the net, giving the keeper no chance this time. Sarah Moore nearly doubled the lead soon after, picking up Steph Hopcroft’s pass and thumping and effort towards goal which the keeper gathered well. Knowle failed to put a tackle in again as Leek came forward and were forced to give away a corner. The ball into the box was dangerous and the Leek attacker won the header, placing it near the foot of the near post. Butler blocked the attempt on the line, but as it bounced out into the six yard box Leek were first to react and hammered it home. A halftime score of one all left Knowle disgruntled but despite all their chances, they weren’t winning enough challenges or keeping the ball well enough to claim to be truly on top of things.
Knowle started the second half well, creating two excellent chances. Hopcroft found Davison’s feet and she turned smartly to play Robinson in. The one two would have been on, but Robinson tried to trick the keeper instead and her attempt skewed wide of the near post. Soon after, Moore and Robinson combined well down the left side and Knowle worked it across the pitch through Cook and Hopcroft allowing Butler to run on into the box. Her shot was also sent wide however. Knowle started to look short on ideas and effort, allowing Leek to come back into the game. The away side’s winger sent in a gem of a cross that should have been buried from close range but Knowle failed to heed the warning and had to rely on Rachel Gibson’s fingertip save soon after from yet another attack down Knowle’s left. Speculative long range efforts from Knowle brought no reward and Leek’s midfield were now running the show. Knowle changed things by bringing on Claire Richardson and she put in some important blocks but Leek eventually got their goal. A loose free kick fell to Leek and Knowle strolled back to position without closing the ball. The midfielder played a simple square ball to her colleague who slid it through far too easily to the onrushing winger who finished nicely. Knowle lost heart after going behind and their play became even scrappier. Gibson then had to palm a swerving free kick over the crossbar as Leek threatened to put the game to bed. Butler also cleared the ball off the line from yet another corner. Knowle did have a couple more chances, Davison’s header from a Smith corner going wide and Robinson thumping a shot straight at the keeper. They paid the price for their flat display with the 2-1 loss and will look to change things before next week’s league game.