KNUTSFORD’S hopes of extending an unbeaten run in the Cheshire League’s top-flight were dashed after a dominant first-half display by Poynton left them playing catch-up.

The visitors to Manchester Road were physically stronger and they took control from the moment Greg Mathers opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a curling shot.

His volley called Callum Spencer, Reds’ goalkeeper, into action shortly afterwards.

The home team, including striker Robert Black for the first time following his transfer from Poynton, threatened seriously for the first time when Ben Woods ran clear.

However his shot was saved by Poynton’s number.

Spencer was kept busier than his counterpart and made another important stop as Knutsford’s defence was repeatedly unsettled by aggressive opponents.

Black blazed high and Woods’ next effort flashed wide but it was the away side that scored again when Matt Toole punished a defensive error when he fired with power into the net to make it 2-0 before the break.

A side managed by Jordan Gunter and Jamie Mottershead improved after the interval, although they were relieved when Mathers wasted another opportunity.

Woods’ approach play deserved better after he made it to the by-line and drilled across an empty six-yard box.

Spencer had to be alert to deny Poynton from close-range at the other end before substitute Brad West, on for Aaron Clayton, shot tamely for Knutsford.

And still Reds’ net-minder was busier, stretching fully to his right to turn away another effort.

Kallum McDonough and Sam Croft were sent on for the final quarter of an hour and their arrival was followed by West’s low strike direct from a free-kick creeping under the defensive wall and into the corner.

It is his 17th goal of an impressive breakthrough campaign at this level.

A flashpoint arrived shortly afterwards when a Poynton player took exception to George Riley’s tackle, sparking a melee that involved almost every player on the field.

Referee Patrick Naughton showed a red card to McDonough for his part and cautioned Spencer and West.

Knutsford never recovered and could not conjure an equaliser.

They will attempt a return to winning ways when Malpas visit on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.

Knutsford Spencer (GK), Jones, Davis, Wilbraham, Spilsbury, Okome, Riley, Clayton (West 60), Jackson (Croft 77), Black (McDonough 77), Woods Subs not used Schofield, Harrison