WITH no goalkeeper available, manager Nick Ward minded the nets himself as Knutsford FC racked up their fourth win of the season on Saturday.

Ward, whose time as a keeper was served with local teams such as Poynton, Rylands and Northwich Victoria, produced a solid display in the 3-1 home success against Sandbach Reserves – after a major problem pre-match was resolved.

No referee showed up for the Cheshire League Division One clash at Manchester Road,but spectator Liam Wright – a qualified referee – stepped into the breach and did well.

A young Sandbach side were marginally the better team in the first half and turned round with a 1-0 advantage.

Chris Horsfield netted for the visitors in the 12th minute, though Reds felt the goal should have been ruled out for offside.

The closest that Knutsford came to a first-half goal was when a Nathan Bibby free-kick was well saved and tipped on to the post by keeper Joel Dovey.

But generally Knutsford huffed and puffed, failing to create good chances or using centre forward Bibby effectively, while Sandbach tried to play a bit of football but lacked a cutting edge.

Reds picked up their tempo and were better in the second half.

They were back on level terms in the 54th minute when Max Kennedy fired home over the wall from a free kick 30 yards out.

Tom Bowey cut in from the right and found the net on 70 minutes to get Knutsford's nose in front.

It was just after this that Sandbach went close a couple of times but Graeme Brotherton, Matthew Morgan and Ward were composed and solid at the back.

Ever-industrious Bowey shot just wide as Knutsford looked to kill off the game.

Finally, Bibby did well from the left to find Jack Naylor who side-footed home on 89 minutes.

Knutsford: Ward, Hawley D (Naylor), Preston, Morgan, Brotherton, Law, Kennedy, Roddick (Williams), Summerbee (Hawley T), Bibby, Bowey.

Reds return to action on Saturday when they host Winsford Saxons in the group stages of the Mid Cheshire District Cup, kick-off 2pm.