Whaley Bridge 3 Knutsford 1

KNUTSFORD’S slump in form continues.

Even Paul Schofield’s five team changes, including newcomer Rory Fallon on the right, did not do the trick at the weekend as the Reds slipped to their fourth successive defeat in all competitions.

The reigning Cheshire League champions are now only a single point clear of Saturday’s victors Whaley Bridge at the Division One table’s summit.

There may have been some mitigating factors in Knutsford’s usual passing style being interrupted by the home team’s enthusiastic pressing as well as the heavy and sloping pitch in the hills of Darbyshire.

But the statistics are a far cry from the picture they painted a few weeks ago when their record showed 10 wins and a draw from their opening 11 games.

And, until Saturday, they had not lost back-to-back league games since last November when a 1-0 defeat at Eagle was followed by a 4-3 home defeat against Rylands.

Third-placed Styal will be in town on Saturday to further test the nerve of the Manchester Road men, kick off 2pm.

The league’s leading scorer Lee Morris proved to be a menace at Park Road as his brace of goals took his season’s tally to 18.

His first came in the 12th minute after a cross was missed by Steve Jenyons and found the forward unmarked to slot home.

Knutsford created several half chances in the final 15 minutes of the first half, with Carlos Edmondson going close on three occasions and Miko Lewis hitting the bar when it may have been easier to score.

It meant they reached half time on top and encouraged but a mistake from Richard Smart in the 50th minute let Morris in on goal and he coolly chipped goalkeeper Mark Higgs to make it 2-0.

A fantastic double save from Higgs blocked a Morris hat-trick and kept Knutsford hopes alive, improved by Dean Warburton firing in a low shot from 20 yards to half the deficit with six minutes remaining.

But Bridge sealed the points when George Burgess struck on a counter attack to reward the home team’s workrate and intensity.

Knutsford Higgs, Jackson, Williamson, Jenyons, Smart, Fallon, Warburton, Myers (Crerand), Lewis (Schofield), Lynch (Shakoor), Edmondson. Sub not used Rezayan.