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FOOTBALL: Hero Higgs saves Reds
KNUTSFORD stopper Mark Higgs saved three penalties to guide the hosts into the Cheshire Amateur Cup last 16 at Upton AA’s expense on Saturday.
New boss John Ferguson enjoyed a debut win as manager after Matt Woolley’s leveller had sent the game to a penalty shoot out, during which Higgs performed heroics and Michael Cartner converted a decisive kick.
Ferguson welcomed midfielder Lee Mannion back from suspension and saw Joel Swift and Reece Davies go close early on for the hosts.
However, on 24 minutes the visitors opened the scoring when a rare foray into the Knutsford half saw the Upton centre forward latch onto a long pass and head over the oncoming Higgs.
Looking for an immediate reply Knutsford swarmed forward, but failed to convert a series of chances as Davies headed over, James Pickford fired wide and Richard Smart’s cross was not converted.
Mannion’s first game back from suspension only lasted 45 minutes as the midfielder, injured, was replaced by Ebbie Rezayan.
Reds then started the second half attacking in a similar fashion to the first.
Pickford’s long range drive was the hosts’ first sight of goal 10 minutes after the interval, skimming the top of the crossbar before Joe Woolley forced a save from the Upton stopper.
The teenager was the architect of Knutsford’s equaliser on the hour, driving into the box and shrugging off a heavy challenge before squaring for brother Matt to calmly shoot home.
With the game going to penalties siblings Matt and Joe converted while Smart hammered his effort home.
But Rezayan and Steve Jenyons failed to find the net.
Higgs made two great stops to send the shoot out into sudden death and, after Cartner had notched Knutsford’s fourth, the keeper saved Upton’s next penalty to send his side through.
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