KNUTSFORD FC fell short to Whaley Bridge by just one goal on Saturday, with absences playing a huge factor, writes James Lee.

Rough conditions as well as the unavailability of players toughened circumstances, but the team put on a good account of themselves in the circumstances.

The heavy, boggy pitch didn’t help the flow of the game, which started poorly for Knutsford with Whaley hitting the bar from a cross.

Joel Wilbraham was successful in using his aerial threat, but he was kept out regularly by Whaley’s goalkeeper Mark McCoy.

A few chances towards the end of the half for Whaley eventually led to Max Harvey McGreal firing home from six yards after a cross from the left side failed to be cleared.

A game of attrition began in the second half as Knutsford pushed to equalise.

Like the first half, George Riley continued to impress in the midfield and kept Knutsford optimistic about scoring.

With a lack of fluency in the second half and desperation looming, manager Jordan Gunter subbed himself on for his brother Dean.

He was looking to build up some strength and hold-up play alongside full debutant Rafe Berisford, who was being marked tightly throughout.

Knutsford had to wait until right at the end before they went close with two chances in the same sequence.

The first came to Milan Thompson, who turned and shot towards goal, but it was blocked and cleared before George Riley sent a 40-yard strike blazing towards the top right corner of the net but McCoy somehow managed to tip it over the bar.

Despite the disappointing loss, much can be said about the team’s endeavour and effort with huge numbers missing.

It could be said those who did play maybe deserved a draw, but it wasn’t to be.

Knutsford have won just one game from their last six.

The Whaley Bridge loss continued a poor run of form for a side who lie just five points from the bottom of the table.

The result leaves them on 14pts from 15 games so far this season in the Cheshire Football League’s Premier Division. Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds, Egerton and Broadheath Central are all below them.

The Reds are exactly halfway through the season and chairman Jimmy Evans commented that results in the second half of the season need to be improved.

Knutsford’s next game will be away from home at 12th placed Poynton on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.