KNUTSFORD FC will not progress out of the group stages of the new-look JB Parker Cup.

The 5-1 home loss to Eagle Sports on Saturday, in what was their third game in two weeks following the long Covid-19 lay-off, means they will not be able to finish in the top two in Group D in order to enter the knockout stage.

They were playing against a Warrington side that had not lost any of their past three games in the competition.

Eagle were fitter, stronger and more determined.

Knutsford were better in the second half on the ball and up front but they were not defensively quick enough to keep up with the high tempo attackers of Eagle Sports.

Reds found themselves defending more than attacking in the first half and looking to get a goal through counter attacks.

Knutsford eventually cracked in the 28th minute, when Luke Sutton collected the ball from a cross allowing him to turn and strike home.

Eagle had the ball in the back of the net again before the break but were ruled offside, while another chance went begging when the ball whistled past the post.

Manager Nick Eaton called for high intensity one-touch football in his half-time team talk.

And then six minutes into the new half two team changes were made, leading to Knutsford’s first chance in the game.

Mathers hit the left post, the ball went across goal but Vilches was just too late for the tap in at the back post before the Eagle left back made a recovery clearance.

But just as Reds looked to be getting a foothold in the game, Eagle doubled their lead when Olly Fleming headed home from a corner.

A minute later it was 3-0, when Jordan Lockett’s low drive deflected off a Knutsford defender and looped into the bottom left corner of the net.

And Eagle’s third goal in five minutes came when Sutton tapped in a rebound off the crossbar.

Eagle wrapped up their scoring from a counter attack through Donny Hutchins.

Captain James Manson headed home Knutsford’s consolation goal.

Knutsford now have three more games left in their group but can’t go onto the next round.

Reds: White, Vayro (Fallon), Quinn, Kennedy, Howarth, McClennan (Roddick), Manson, Plant, Leaver (Connolly), Mathers, Vilches.