KNUTSFORD FC have hit out at Altrincham FC for sending a team “against the spirit” of football for Tuesday night’s clash.

Chairman of Knutsford, Jimmy Evans, highlighted how the Altrincham Reserves side that won 6-1 included seven first-teamers.

The hosts conceded four goals in the last five minutes to put a false reflection on a decent effort against strong opponents.

“With Altrincham first team from step two in the Conference North having no fixture, they used Knutsford and their excellent pitch as a game for seven of their first teamers in what was against the spirit of football – step two against step seven, semi-pros versus amateurs.

“How would Altrincham like it if instead of Darlington turning up for their league fixture on Saturday a Man City X1 (five levels higher) replaced them and points were at stake?”

Evans accepted Altrincham’s selections were not against league rules.

But he added: “Using a Reserve fixture in the Cheshire Premier League to play a majority of 1st team semi-pros, as they did last year to Knutsford, makes a mockery of the Cheshire League.

“And on Saturday their regular reserves, who were watching this game from the sidelines, will no doubt return.

“Not against the League rules but ethics and morals?”

Reds went into the game with five enforced changes and debuts handed to Butler and Moran.

Evans said: “Altrincham started well and on the front foot and it was immediately apparent that the five levels between the two sides would make it an uneven contest and a travesty to the League.

“However, Knutsford weren’t cowed and worked hard to withstand the Alty pressure and slick movement.”

Spencer made a good save with his feet from pacey winger Walters when through on goal.

Miller hit a good effort just wide as Alty’s pace, movement and tempo was of a different league but Knutsford defended well though under pressure.

Davis fired Alty ahead on 28 minutes as he wasn’t closed down and fired low from 25 yards into the bottom right corner.

Knutsford were clearly second best but worked hard and made a game of it.

Walters went close again with a curler over the bar.

Rutter then Davies had half chances cleared.

Alty hit the post and Miller’s follow-up shot was well saved by Spencer.

Under the cosh but refusing to give in, Knutsford’s midfield worked tirelessly and with Rutter sharp up-front causing problems they were still in the game.

Alty went 2-0 on the half hour as Peers lifted the ball over Spencer.

Wynne replaced the injured Wilbraham at half time and went to right back.

From being second best, Knutsford went on the front foot and took the game to Alty.

On 49 minutes from a Rutter corner on the right, the ball fell to Spilsbury who swung his right foot and the ball flew into the goal past Thompson.

Beattie replaced Davies on 60 minutes with Moran moving up front.

Knutsford were the better side and creating chances against a back four of Densmore, Gabidon, Mullarkey and O’Hara, with Rutter running the channels and causing them problems.

Riley, industrious and growing into the game, laid the ball off to Moran but his half chance was cleared.

Butler fed Wynne inside the box but leaning back the right-back lifted the ball over the bar – a great chance missed. Wynne then crossed to Rutter who flicked the ball just over the bar.

The excellent Riley was replaced by Farran on 77 minutes but the team then lost some of their momentum.

Sub Elliot headed over the bar for Alty’s first chance of the half.

But in the closing five minutes, a tiring Knutsford were punished by the fitter semi-pro side and shipped goals.

Rapid Walters cut inside from the left and drilled into the far corner against the run of play.

Moran, through and free, sliced wide when it seemed easier to score.

Speedy Moran drilled a cross that caught out Mountney, who, along with Brotherton, had excellent games and the ball flew past Spencer for 1-4 on 90 minutes.

Peers whipped a fierce low shot into the bottom corner for 1-5 on 91 minutes and then Walters had a simple side footer into the bottom corner for 1-6.

The fitness of the semi-pro players told in the end.

But Knutsford gained huge credit from the watching fans as apart from a disastrous closing spell they certainly matched opponents from five levels higher up the football pyramid.

Knutsford: Spencer, Wilbraham (Wynne), Cartner, Mountney, Brotherton, Spilsbury, Riley (Farran), Moran, Butler, Rutter, Davies (Beattie) Subs not used: Clancy, Harrison.

Knutsford host Congleton on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.