Knowle ride their luck to steal a point
Two all draw against Stockingford for the Ladies
Knowle lined up against Stockingford for the second time in the first month of the season after rearranged fixtures gave both clubs a free week. The Robins were keen to avenge the two nil loss on opening day when the ten players put in a brave performance. However Knowle did not start the game well, losing possession too easily and putting themselves under pressure. Stockingford had an early chance when the winger was put clear but she clipped her shot wide. Knowle did settle a little but could not gain a true grip of the match. Poor marking from dead ball situations nearly cost Knowle dearly but the away side couldn’t capitalise on their chances. Knowle had an opportunity when Claire Richardson’s ball to the edge of the box found Anna-Marie Robinson; she skipped past the defender but her shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Stockingford went ahead when Knowle allowed their concentration to wander again; the Robins did not pick up players from a throw in, allowing the midfielder to collect the ball and pick out a cross into the box. The Knowle defence were left exposed on the back post and the forward comfortably collected the ball and finished well. Knowle hit back very quickly however, Katie Smith won possession and the Stockingford defence did not deal with the loose ball. Tyla Davison seized upon it and dragged the defenders across the box before slotting the ball into the far corner of the net. Richardson was seeing plenty of the ball on the right side and she had the beating of the full back. Her crosses into the box were causing Stockingford problems and Lucy Taylor forced a good save from the keeper from one such ball. The away side were still pushing forward though and Knowle had to rely on Sarah Moore to thwart one attempt with an excellent last ditch block. Stockingford did go ahead soon after when Knowle failed to clear the ball when an attack broke down. The resulting chip into the box put the forward clear and although she scuffed the shot somewhat, Knowle defenders Moore and Sam Smith were unable to hack it off the line. Knowle came back again with an immediate reply. Smith intercepted the ball in her own half and flicked a pass to Mel Faulkner. She played in Richardson out wide, who hit the perfect cross into the box for Davison to plant an excellent header into the net to continue her scoring streak, making it 6 goals in 3 games for the centre forward.
The two all halftime score line looked like the game was finely balanced, but in truth the second half was all Stockingford. Knowle lost their grip of the middle of the park and allowed the opposition midfield time to pick out passes forward. They hit the space on the right side of the pitch several times and goalkeeper Rachel Gibson made four one on one saves in quick succession. When Gibson was finally beaten, Faulkner was on hand to clear one off the line. Knowle were also saved by Rachel Keen putting in a terrific performance at right back and stopping the winger on a number of occasions. Knowle’s chances came from excellent dead balls played in by Celina Smallwood, but nothing would quite drop for the Robins. They were also riding their luck at the back, yet Stockingford could not force the third goal they needed – on one particular occasion they were guilty of overplaying when clean through. As Stockingford began to play more high balls, Smith was able to head clear several attempts to break the Knowle line. The home side actually finished the game very strongly, creating good opportunities but were unable to fashion a clear cut chance and their snapshots flew wide. It would have been a bitter blow to Stockingford to lose a game where they spent much of the time on top however, so Knowle came away more than pleased with the point.