KNUTSFORD’S struggles away from home continued when they suffered a seventh defeat on the road in the league this season.

Reds had rallied early in the second-half, and halved an interval deficit when Matthew Schofield headed in, but they were knocked over by Deklan Hill’s spectacular effort from distance that put Pilks out of reach.

After three successive defeats in the Premier Division, conceding a dozen goals along the way, a side managed jointly by Jordan Gunter and Jamie Mottershead knows the importance of a home date with FC St Helens on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.

Knutsford had started with some promise in St Helens last weekend when Milan Thompson’s snap-shot prompted goalkeeper Sam Tickle to make a save.

Nathan Moore curled wide at the other end before Nathan Okome’s tame effort was stopped comfortably by the home team’s custodian.

Thompson went close again before George Riley blocked Hill’s close-range effort.

Pilks took the lead though when Ben Maddocks collected a stray pass out of defence from Steve Jenyons before teeing up Luke Sephton who finished smartly.

And the hosts doubled their lead five minutes later when Graham Boylan met Nathan Brown’s cross with his head.

Reds’ best spell followed the break and Schofield made it 2-1 after Callum Barry misjudged Thompson’s centre to leave his opponent with a straightforward task.

Tom Jackson’s left-footed attempt whistled past an upright before Tickle fielded Thompson’s next effort.

Gunter and Mottershead introduced Matthew Davies, switching from a three-man defence to a back four, as they pushed for a second goal.

However Hill halted their momentum when, after collecting possession 40 yards from goal, he sent a lofted effort over goalkeeper Callum Spencer’s head and into the net.

It proved to be a game-changer.

Spencer had to produce his best to keep out a shot from Sephton as Pilks took control.

Knutsford’s number one was called upon again to divert Maddocks’ attempt around an upright only for new recruit Taylor Prescott to stab home from the resulting corner – a debut goal.

Hill blazed over when he might have made it 5-1, while Thompson’s willingness and perseverance saw him work Tickle for a final time.

Davies, attacking from full-back, also shot high during the closing stages.

Knutsford occupy 11th position in the table, and are ahead of their guests this weekend on goal-difference having played the same number of matches.

Knutsford | Spencer (GK), Croft, Jackson, Wilbraham, Jenyons, Spilsbury, Okome, Riley, West (Davies 58), Thompson, Schofield