Rylands 1 Knutsford 1
NOT for the first time this term, Knutsford were left to rue Rylands pinching a point by scoring late on.
The Warrington outfit, three points adrift of Reds before kick off, made sure the distance between them did not increase thanks to Craig Smith’s leveller with four minutes left.
John Ferguson’s men had previously led for more than an hour.
This latest draw leaves them eight points adrift of pacesetters Garswood United with as many matches left, though the leaders have two games in hand.
Hopes of a third successive Division One title are fading fast.
They were very much alive midway through the opening period when Michael Cartner’s corner reached Kingsley Grandison, unmarked, who volleyed his second goal since signing for Knutsford from Linotype.
The teams had traded chances beforehand; James Pickford curling over for the visitors following Joe Woolley’s lay-off, while Richie Sinker’s shot was blocked by Richard Smart at the other end.
James Daniels drilled wide the loose ball.
Soon after scoring, Knutsford went close again from another Cartner flag kick, only this time Scott Beattie’s header was well saved by Andy Moor.
Rylands improved, but were restricted to long range efforts through Ewan Rodger and Lee Dermody who both failed to hit the target from 25 yards.
The hosts threatened an equaliser after the interval when Alex Lowe’s corner reached Kris Bell, but he was unable to convert from close range.
The same player beat Knutsford’s offside trap on 70 minutes, but dragged his finish off target after arriving face-to-face with goalkeeper Mark Higgs.
Knutsford were struggling to create chances, a Cartner solo run that ended in a strike comfortably saved by Moore their best opportunity of the second period.
They were grateful to defender Simon Williamson when he cleared off the line from Rylands substitute Smith after the replacement had latched onto Higgs’ clearing punch.
He was not to be denied, racing clear to restore parity with time running out after James Russell surrendered possession.
Linotype visit Manchester Road this weekend, kick off 2pm.
Knutsford Higgs (GK), Cartner, Williamson, Smart, Beattie, Russell, Grandison, Pickford, Braine, Prescott (Swift 73), Joe Woolley.