BRADLEY West came off the bench to score a decisive goal for Knutsford against Malpas.

His 18th strike of the campaign illuminated a drab game between the Cheshire League’s champions and last season’s runners-up.

It arrived in the nick of time too.

There were three minutes remaining when he cut inside from the left before drilling a curling shot in off an upright after Ben Woods had started the move by bursting forward from full-back.

Reds’ reward, ahead of a date with Premier Division leaders Altrincham reserves at Egerton on Saturday, is to rise to seventh place in the table.

They ought to have been in station there long before West’s intervention last weekend.

Knutsford started brightly and Aaron Clayton’s attempt was blocked during the early exchanges.

Recent recruit Rob Black saw a free-kick helped around an upright by goalkeeper Harry Fleet before Milan Thompson’s shot was cleared off the line after Woods cut the ball back.

George Riley went close from an acute angle before a defender again got in the way of a Clayton effort and Fleet was alert to keep out Black’s left-footed attempt.

The former Poynton striker fluffed Knutsford’s best chance when he lifted a shot over the bar after Michael Cartner had sent him clear.

Knutsford strived to improve in the second-half and Riley fed Clayton who blazed over.

At the other end Reds’ custodian Callum Spencer was called up on make a save from the visitors’ first serious attempt on goal.

Malpas went close when a header struck the far upright and they started to pose more of a threat.

West, on in place of Thompson, fired off-target before Riley’s drive from distance flashed past a post.

Woods then earned for the home team a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area after bamboozling a defender with nifty footwork and West’s strike was saved smartly by Fleet.

The substitute’s header was wide too as Knutsford tried to increase the tempo.

There was a scare though when Adam Hailes’ arcing effort sneaked wide for Malpas.

West’s moment followed, much to the relief of Reds’ supporters, and his side collected maximum points from a game at Manchester Road for the seventh time this season.

No rivals, including their hosts this weekend, have won more matches on home turf to date.

Kick-off on Saturday is 2pm.

Knutsford | Spencer (GK), Cartner, Davis (Jackson n/k), Wilbraham, Spilsbury, Riley, Okome, Clayton (Schofield 86), Black, Thompson (West 63), Woods Sub not used Croft