Knutsford 1 Altrincham Reserves 0

KNUTSFORD produced a performance befitting the circumstances as they overhauled table toppers Altrincham Reserves.

A display full of character and commitment followed a minute’s silence in memory of former captain and local legend Simon Harris, who has died aged 61.

Harris is remembered fondly by many regular fans and club volunteers as a powerful centre half who made an impact at the club in the 1980s and 90s.

And Saturday’s effort deserves to long live in the memory too.

With three regulars missing, goalkeeper Matt Green and local lad Will Booth making their debuts, Reds were up against the odds.

But the right attitude and high workrate can take you a long way as the hosts bagged their fourth win from 12 games while becoming only the second side to keep a clean sheet against the leaders this season.

It was a victory that moves Reds up to ninth place.

With Scott Beattie assured and organising his back line, the reigning champions defended well against a young, fit and fast Alty that went into the game on a seven-match unbeaten run.

Knutsford twice came close to breaking the deadlock after 27 minutes, Brad West’s 25-yard free kick being tipped on to the post and then Clayton fired the rebound against the woodwork.

Dontai Gabidon put two efforts wide for Alty while Booth hit a scorching shot from 20 yards that was well saved by visiting keeper Jones.

The second half was as fast, fluent and intense as the first, which clear-cut chances at a premium.

Green made a good save from Ryan Barry and ex-Knutsford man Joel Swift flashed a shot wide, with Curtis Miller off target with another Alty effort but it was not all one-way traffic.

Knutsford finally got the breakthrough when Joel Wilbraham hit the pass of the game into the area for West who went round the keeper only to be brought down for a clear penalty.

Up stepped West and his mid-pace right footer into the far-left corner gave Jones no chance.

Alty continued to press but lacked creative ideas as Knutsford shut them down whenever they got close to goal as if their lives depended on it, yet still carrying a threat in forward areas.

A performance and result to be proud of, Reds will aim to take this form into Saturday’shome clash with Crewe in the JB Parker Premier Division Challenge Cup, kick-off 3pm.

Knutsford: Green, Wynne (Davis), Cartner, Wilbraham, Beattie, Spilsbury, Okome, Fallon, Clayton, Booth (Schofield), West (Harrison). Sub not used: McDonough.