DOMINIC Smith was the hero as Knutsford FC booked their place in the final of the Mid Cheshire District FA Cup.

The Reds goalkeeper made two outstanding saves in the penalty shoot-out, steering his side past Hartford FC and into a decider against Middlewich Town.

Nathan Bibby, Joe Coombs and Jonny Cavanagh netted Knutsford’s spot kicks for a 3-1 shoot-out success after the 90 minutes had ended 1-1.

Reds, at full strength for a rarity against a side from a division below them in the Cheshire Football League, made hard work of things at times but can now look forward to a cup final in a competition they have entered for the first time, having spent the past 100-plus years contesting the Altrincham District Senior Cup which they won eight times.

It was a high tempo and lively start, Hartford shooting just over the bar and Bibby hitting a shot into the side netting.

Hartford went ahead in the 17th minute although made felt the goal should have been chalked off for offside.

Knutsford equalised after good work from Charlie Roddick whose effort was saved only to fall to Bibby who smashed home from six yards.

Coombs, having an excellent debut, made a great tackle to deny Hartford at the end of a half in which Knutsford kept turning the ball over to gift Hartford counter attacks.

A Brotherton header from a corner went inches over the bar and Hartford went close from a counter as Knutsford switched-off.

Knutsford were pressing but lacking ball retention and quality in the final third, leading to manager Nick Ward making changes.

Spencer had an effort that was wide and when Roddick got put through on goal the Hartford defence reacted well.

Knutsford went close from a corner and were looking the most likely to break the deadlock, reaffirmed when Bibby was sent clear through on goal but the forward delayed his run and instead passed to Disney whose effort failed to clear the keeper.

In the end it went to penalties, and although Disney fired Reds’ second effort over the bar it did not matter due to the heroics of Smith.

Knutsford visit Vulcan on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.