Hard working Knowle grab a point
Leamington 2-2 Knowle
Knowle made the worst possible start to their away game at Leamington, going one nil down straight from the kick off. Leamington passed the ball back to their centre half and the long ball over the top caught the Robins napping, allowing the centre forward to finish the one on one with Katy Smirthwaite in goal. Knowle didn’t let the setback affect them however and regrouped quickly. Tyla Davison forced the home keeper into a good save after racing on to Sarah Jones’s pass and Knowle almost created another opportunity following a good team passing move. Leamington moved forward quickly and Smirthwaite had to be alert to sprint off her line and gather a couple of balls in front of attacking players. Jones and Mel Faulkner also made timely clearing headers as Leamington were concentrating their attacks wide down Knowle’s left side and balls were coming into the box. Davison then had a great chance to grab the equaliser, Julia Stanton and Nicole Butler linking well on the right before Butler found Davison in the box. Her shot crashed off the underside of the crossbar and was whacked clear by the defenders before a Knowle player could follow in. Butler was seeing a lot of the ball and looked threatening on the right wing and her next cross flashed across the box when it just needed a touch. Leamington continued to push forward also and Jo Davies was forced to be on her toes to defend against the winger with a good tackle. Smirthwaite claimed the resulting corner in style and her quick throw found Butler to launch another Knowle attack. The home side then went close with a couple of shots from pull backs to the edge of the box but Knowle’s goal remained intact. The Robins did finally grab their equaliser following an excellent move. Butler’s quick throw found Sam Smith who played it forward to Katie Cook’s feet. Cook produced a clever touch round the corner to set Davison into space and she fired the ball across the box to Sarah Moore rushing in from the opposite wing. Moore’s first attempt was saved by the keeper, but she followed up to slot the rebound into the net. Knowle ended the half well, but couldn’t create another goal and the half time score was 1-1.
The second half was also played at a high tempo with both sides having good chances to grab the lead. Leamington forced Smithwaite into two good saves with balls over the top; the first she reacted well to tip a fierce shot over the bar and the second blocking a one on one then Smith was able to head the rebound clear. Katie Smith created Knowle’s first opportunity of the half with an excellent ball out to Butler, but her cross was palmed away by the home team’s keeper. Leamington hit the woodwork with a good attempt that bounced off the inside of the post and across the line. This was a warning for Knowle, and they brought on fresh legs in the shape of Claire Richardson and Anna-Marie Robinson. Robinson helped the Robins launch a couple of attacks with her quick feet, but shots were hit high or wide. The home side did then go in front when their left winger beat a player before crossing the ball low and hard for the striker who wriggled her way between two defenders to finish first time. Knowle didn’t let their heads drop and pushed forward again. Leamington defended well, restricting Knowle to a succession of corners but the balls from Smith and Robinson were dangerous. Davison challenged the keeper resulting in the ball dropping near Richardson, but she couldn’t quite poke it home and the resulting goalmouth scramble ended when the keeper dropped on the loose ball. Davison was also centimetres from connecting properly with a header in the centre of goal. Hannah Owen came on for Knowle and the game continued end to end. With only a few minutes on the clock, Knowle did get their equaliser. They attacked down the left before Robinson moved the ball back into the centre of the pitch to Smith. Smith switched the ball out to the right hand side of the penalty area, where Butler gleefully latched onto it and smashed an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper, capping an excellent individual performance in true style. Neither side could force another opportunity to snatch the win, final score 2-2 and Knowle were therefore pleased to take a point from a hard working and committed performance.