Knutsford 3-0 Ashton Town

KNUTSFORD demonstrated their adaptability to move further ahead of their rivals in a race to win the Cheshire League title.

Manager Scott Dignan was forced to make five changes to a side that dispatched Greenalls seven days earlier, and those that stood in delivered a 12th win of the campaign.

It leaves champions Whaley Bridge, who haven’t played a Premier Division fixture since November 18, six points adrift.

Ollie Jones’ double, capped by a delightful lobbed effort in the second-half, was a highlight last weekend.

Unsurprisingly, given they were adjusting to a new formation and a reshuffled starting line-up, the home team did not produce their best until after the interval.

Mark Evans prompted the visitors’ goalkeeper to make a save, while Sam Moore did the same at the other end after an Ashton forward was left unmarked in the penalty area.

Liam Myers fired narrowly over, then sent a free-kick too close to the visitors’ custodian from his next attempt.

Captain Steve Jenyons timed an intervention perfectly to snuff out the danger, while Phil Yuille’s powerful shot grazed the woodwork in an even encounter.

They were relieved to remain on terms though when an opponent, again left in space, failed to hit the target.

The home team improved after the turnaround, and Graeme Brotherton headed high from a corner.

Reds broke through on 55 minutes when Myers took quickly a free-kick awarded for a foul on him inside the centre circle.

He picked out David Owens, who chipped a neat finish into the net.

Jones sent a speculative attempt wide, although he was more accurate with a header at the near-post to double his side’s lead after Ash Harrison made progress on the right.

Reds remained alert at the other end, although their guests’ threat was reduced, and Owens almost added to their advantage when his effort curled over.

Jones added gloss when he conjured a third goal from nothing.

After collecting the ball 30 yards from goal, he turned away from his marker before clipping a measured lob out of the goalkeeper’s reach.

Reds attempt to repeat the trick at Poynton on Saturday.

Meanwhile Knutsford A are scheduled to host Broadheath Central at Manchester Road in the Altrincham and District FA Senior Cup last four, kick-off 1.30pm.

Knutsford | Moore (GK), Welsh, Lynch, Jenyons, Brotherton, Owens (Wilbraham 79), Yuille, Evans (West 72), Jones (Smart 76), Myers, Harrison