Knutsfords promotion challenge now in the balance as they lose at Runcorn.
It galls me to say it, but Runcorn 2s deserved a point on Saturday - unfortunately for knutsfords 3s they got all 3 points, dealing our heroes a big dent to their hopes of promotion from the dizzy heights of NW 9 South.
Knutsford had to do without Simon Crabtree who has kept LB secure all season as he was unfortunatly required to umpire; and also energetic Left Half Niall Robertson as he was called to 2s service 5 hours before the game due to pox affecting some of the 2s stalwarts.
The whistle started the game and Runcorn were seeing plenty of ball as their 2nd team wildcard (number 15) dribbled and teased his way through knutsfords back line with no little skill and no little running commentary -worthy of David Coleman. That said after 15 mins he had won 2 short corners and created 2 good goals via alternate post men sneaking in late.
2-0 Runcorn and Knutsford were in the unusual position of chasing a game against a robust unit who were determined to give their middle class Cheshire neighbours a bloody nose.
After 20 mins knutsford started to find their movement and simple passing and created some decent moves through Stanier, Rees & Swift on the right of the pitch. Runcorn to be fair defended resolutely and kept Knutsford out. Until 30 mins that is when Beefy nailed a short corner to make it 2-1 at half time.
At the interval Knutsford knew they had to keep calm and carry on playing the beautiful game. They did just this and created some good stuff mostly again down the right. Runcorn though were persistent throughout, their tenacity needs applauding - like a Staffordshire bull terrier chasing a little old ladies pedigree Labrador - they never allowed knutsford space in midfield. Indeed as Knutsford threw the extra man forward Runcorns threatening number 15 slid an incisive ball through to their young sub who finished delicately over the advancing Jack Pass in goal.
3-1 Runcorn and now the cat was amongst the promotion chasing pigeons. With 15 mins to go Knutsford then threw the kitchen sink at Runcorn whilst Dave Rees had something less pleasant thrown at him - Runcorn down to 10 men. Knutsford pressed & pressed and Runcorn defended with dedication to the cause. Henry Pass finally found space with 3 minutes to go to feed Sam Swift who made it 3-2, but it was not to be.
Runcorn worked hard and deserved some reward and that was that. Only knutsfords 2nd defeat all season. The knights had enough opportunities to score, but most were half chances and it was not to be. On another day perhaps....
And now with 2 games to go Knutsford need 4 points to secure promotion. Both games at home so that helps, but the league champion students of Bangor Uni and classy old timers Bowden Vets will be no push overs!
We will have to work very hard and hope the big, noisy home crowd will help to gain the points.
MoM Simon Deakin - a good game at RB.
DoD Karl Stanier - light socks does not mean black!
Photos at GW-Images.co.uk
Sent from my iPhone