KNUTSFORD FC will head into a home clash with unbeaten league leaders Denton on Saturday, kick-off 2pm, on the back of a 3-0 loss at Billinge.

It was a meeting of the two teams relegated from the Cheshire Football League Premier Division last season and a young home side worked hard to secure their first win of the 2022/23 campaign.

Knutsford started well and Tom Bowey had two very good chances in the opening minutes.

Billinge were awarded a controversial penalty which was converted by Ben Hamlett after six minutes.

Reds were looking the better side but lacking in the final third, paying the price in the 44th minute when, after a fine Elliott Simpson save, Billinge doubled their lead from a counter attack against the run of play.

Knutsford Guardian: Billinge v Knutsford FC. Pictures: Terry PopeBillinge v Knutsford FC. Pictures: Terry Pope

Knutsford Guardian:

At half time it was felt Knutsford were playing too many long balls to wide areas, failing to hold up the ball in the final third and that goals were gifted to Billinge through open spaces on the flanks of the Knutsford defence.

But with Knutsford dominating play, surely it was only a matter of time before they found the target themselves and the next goal was going to be crucial.

With this in mind, Jack Naylor replaced Ryan Stewart and went up-front but a minute into the new half Billinge went 3-0 up after an overhead kick in the box deflected off Graeme Brotherton’s chest.

Reds now had a mountain to climb.

Max Kennedy, too often forcing his passes, had a free-kick saved as Knutsford sought a way back into the hunt.

Naylor hit the side netting, then had a header saved and Billinge cleared another effort off the line.

It was all Knutsford but they were unable to make inroads into Billinge’s 3-0 lead.

The result was a huge disappointment for Knutsford, who were left to rue missing their early chances while badly lacking a cutting edge in forward areas and had some sloppy times in defence.

Knutsford: Simpson, Hawley D, Hawley T. Brotherton, Simpson (Dicarlo), Law, Kennedy, Roddick, Bowey, Stewart (Naylor), Summerbee (Spencer).