Eagle Sports 3-1 Knutsford

KNUTSFORD were punished for being wasteful in front of goal last weekend when an impressive first-half performance went without reward.

Reds ought to have been out of sight after dominating the opening exchanges and instead failed to score until added time at the end of the game when they trailed 3-0.

Substitute Michael Schofield met Michael Cartner’s corner at the near post, but by then their Warrington-based hosts had already ensured they would extend an unbeaten run in the Cheshire League’s top-flight to seven matches.

That had seemed a remote prospect when goalkeeper Liam Marlow reacted smartly to keep out Brad West’s close-range header.

It was a starting point for Knutsford, and Mark Evans lobbed attempt almost broke the deadlock after he had been released by Sam Croft’s clever pass.

Reds survived a scare when a rare foray forward by the home team ended with a header against the crossbar before they assumed control again.

Rory Fallon’s attempt went narrowly wide after Aaron Clayton teed him up before Nathan Okome fluffed an opportunity with only Marlow to beat.

Fallon also failed to score from a similar position and Eagle reached the interval level at 0-0.

Evans was sent clear by Fallon early in the second-half but he couldn’t convert from inside the penalty area.

Knutsford, who introduced new recruit George Riley as a substitute following his switch from Rylands, will have feared a sucker punch and their hosts duly landed one when Chris Quirk blasted in on 68 minutes after Scott Beattie had made an initial block.

Cartner fired over before Beattie was judged to have fouled an opponent in the box and James Waldron scored at the second attempt after goalkeeper Callum Spencer had saved his spot-kick.

Eagle did add a third goal though on 86 minutes when Matt Hadley, left unopposed, headed in to settle the outcome.

Fallon had a shot saved and then teed up Schofield but the replacement’s finish was poor.

He redeemed himself in part when he converted Cartner’s corner to notch a consolation although it is unlikely to have made Reds feel better.

Instead they will attempt to recover at the first attempt when they travel to Wythenshawe Amateurs reserves in the Altrincham and District FA Senior Cup first round on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.

Knutsford | Spencer (GK), Wilbraham, Cartner, Beattie, Spilsbury, Okome, Evans, Clayton (George Riley 65), Fallon, Croft (Schofield 75), West (McDonough 65)