A DEBUT goal for teenager Sam Croft was the highlight for Knutsford when they were held to a draw last weekend by Congleton Vale.

The youngster fired right-footed past the visitors’ goalkeeper to open the scoring midway through the first-half after cutting inside from the wing.

By then Reds had already gone close when Sean Lynch’s attempt struck an upright.

Richard Booth’s curler was narrowly off-target for the visitors, who were also denied by custodian Callum Spencer from another close-range attempt.

Knutsford’s number one also blocked with a boot early in the second-half before Croft almost doubled his personal tally at the other end following another forward drive.

Congleton restored parity in spectacular fashion when Booth curled a shot into the top-corner on 52 minutes.

It rocked Reds, and they toiled to create openings despite the probing of Rory Fallon and Nathan Okome – the latter in celebratory mood following his selection for the Cheshire FA’s youth team.

The home team appeared uncertain in defence too in the absence of regulars Scott Beattie, Michael Cartner and Jack Lever.

Rob Spilsbury tried his luck from distance, while Spencer again kept the scores level as the away side strived to complete a Cheshire League double following a narrow 1-0 win in the return.

There was a scare for Knutsford when a Congleton shot hit the base of a post with Spencer out of position before Okome’s faint touch nearly directed substitute Kallum McDonough’s driven cross into the net.

Reds begin the defence of their Cheshire FA Amateur Cup crown when Altrincham reserves visit on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.

Knutsford | Spencer (GK), Wynne, Lynch (Davies 69), Harrison, Wilbraham, Spilsbury, Fallon, Okome, Evans (McDonough 77), West, Croft (Schofield 84)