IN years gone by, Knutsford FC and Whaley Bridge Athletic have had some titanic tussles for the Cheshire Football League Premier Division title.

That may be a stretch for both sides this time around but as the old rivals met again at Manchester Road, it was the visitors who emerged victorious.

Reds, forced into several changes, could not quite claw back a second-half deficit and slipped to a 2-1 defeat.

It brings a run of three successive wins to an end and punctures the momentum gained of late.

Knutsford manager Nick Eaton had to make six changes and was forced to field a completely new defence but regardless, his side started brightly without creating too much.

Joe Boone and Jack Naylor came closest with both having shots saved by the Whaley Bridge goalkeeper while at the other end, the visitors had a goal ruled out for offside and a penalty shout turned down.

Joe Holt then shot wide for the hosts before stand-in Reds goalkeeper Charlie Hodson was forced into a good save.

The game was goalless going into the break but six minutes after the restart, Whaley Bridge made the first move.

Hodson flapped at a corner that came into his area, leaving a tap-in for the opening goal.

Nine minutes later, the lead was doubled when a cross from the right was converted by Ben Bagshaw to put Whaley Bridge in full command.

They could now control the game and they had another goal ruled out for offside as there looked to be no way back for Knutsford.

That was, however, until nine minutes from time when Boone reacted first to a long ball and produced a good finish to set up a grandstand finish.

Boone went close again as Reds pressed for the equaliser, but it never came and Whaley Bridge held on for victory.

Eaton’s men will look to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to Warrington to face Greenalls PSO.

Knutsford: Hodson, Conaty, Lambert (Geary), Manson, Hargreaves, Allen, Riley, Naylor, Boone, Holt, Mathers