ENCOURAGING signs were on show when Knutsford FC earned a point in their first match under new manager Nick Ward.

Former Reds player Ward was in charge for the first time in what was the club's first game in four weeks as they drew 0-0 at Poynton.

His bottom side, featuring nine new starters against a Poynton outfit boasting five ex-Reds in their ranks, will head to seventh-placed Congleton Reserves on Saturday, kick-off 2pm, hoping to close the gap further or leap above the two sides directly above them in the Cheshire League Premier Division – Daten and Billinge.

Ward elected for a 3-5-2 formation, retaining Tyler Shaw and Graeme Brotherton in the heart of his defence, and was rewarded with a big effort from his troops on a pitch described by Reds officials as 'the worst in the league'.

Despite not having played together before, lacking fitness and momentum, they responded well

Knutsford, playing downhill in the first half, nearly went in front on two minutes but Tom Bowey’s effort hit a post.

Although Knutsford had the better of the opening stanza, it was as close as they came – while the hosts fired a warning when they also hit the woodwork later in the half.

Reds did understandably tire in the second half and had only one substitute to freshen things up.

Greg Mathers hit the post for Poynton but Knutsford held on for a deserved point.

Knutsford: Jack Ainsworth, Owen Potts, Luke Chattington (Jack Naylor), Matthew Morgan, Graeme Brotherton, Tyler Shaw, Max Kennedy, Ryan Stewart, Anthony Curran, Tom Bowey, Daniel Pemberton.