KNUTSFORD FC return to league action having progressed safely in the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup.

They welcome Lostock Gralam to Manchester Road on Saturday, kick off 3pm, and they will hope for a similar display to their first-half demolition of West Kirby in the knockout format.

A much-changed Reds side were 5-0 up at the break on Saturday and while their standards dropped after the interval, they still saw out a 6-3 victory.

George Riley hit a hat-trick for Jordan Gunter’s men, with Terence Butler scoring twice and Liam Moran adding his name to the scoresheet.

However, their second-half display may cause Gunter some concern.

Against a former powerhouse of Cheshire football, it took Reds just 11 minutes to open the deadlock as Butler tapped home the rebound after the West Kirby keeper had parried Mike Cartner’s shot into his path.

It was all Knutsford and Butler was involved in the move that saw a cross find Moran to fire in their second goal from 10 yards midway through the half.

That move also involved Shane Davies and he played an integral role in the third goal just two minutes later – he flicked the ball to Moran who in turn found Daniel Sutherland. His shot was saved but the ball rebounded for Riley to make it 3-0.

Butler made it four with a curling effort that went in off the post before Davies was brought down in the area with two minutes left of the half.

The referee awarded a penalty, which Riley converted to put Reds in total command at the break.

It looked as though Knutsford would go on to record a truly dominant win, but that notion was scotched barely a minute after the restart as poor set-piece marking allowed for a free header to get West Kirby on the scoreboard.

Before the hour mark, the hosts had reduced the deficit further as Reds struggled for rhythm.

The completion of Riley’s hat-trick looked like it would do the trick as he converted his second penalty of the game after Steve Kirby had been brought down.

However, mistakes continued to riddle their game even though they continued to have chances, with Davies going close twice while Cartner headed a chance over the bar.

Then, a defensive mix-up between Graeme Brotherton and goalkeeper Steve Dryden allowed West Kirby’s striker to score his second of the game and continue their fightback.

There was to be no further scoring, but Knutsford will want to forget about this second half very quickly.

Knutsford: Dryden, Sutherland, Kirby (Beresford), Maunder (Clancy), Brotherton, Mountney, Cartner, Riley, Butler, Moran, Davies