KNUTSFORD FC will head into their Easter weekend clash in a better mood after an improved display on Saturday.

Reds went into their home fixture with Newton Athletic looking to make amends for the previous week’s 5-0 home thrashing at the hands of Styal FC.

Although they lost 2-1, Nick Ward’s men were unlucky not to have at least taken a point from the Cheshire Football League Division One encounter.

They were buoyed by registering eight new players before the March 31 deadline, ahead of a hectic schedule this month which includes Saturday’s trip to Denton, kick-off 2pm, and then a visit to Cheadle Heath Nomad Reserves on Tuesday, 6.30pm.

Even with the fresh blood, absences and unavailability at the weekend led to Ward making six changes and selected himself too.

A new back four was in place, while debutant Hamid Addai was among the stand-outs.

Newton were awarded a penalty in the sixth minute after Jonny Cavanagh was adjudged to have committed a foul in the box but keeper Elliott Simpson saved well with his feet.

Knutsford appeared to be in control at this stage though, playing well against a side who were defending deep and looking for the counter attack.

Good movement of the ball led to chances for James Spencer and Tom Bowey but both efforts went over the bar, and Max Kennedy had a long-range shot saved in the best of the first-half chances.

On 51 minutes, just past the halfway line, Addai cleverly outstripped his defenders and drove forward, cutting inside to unleash a knuckleball power shot that flew into the top left corner for 1-0 – and a goal of the season contender for sure.

The goal and lead was no more than Knutsford deserved but luck is against them currently and Newton equalised in the 62nd minute after a weak shot was deflected over Simpson for 1-1 against the run of play.

Heads dopped a little but Knutsford continued trying hard.

Then on 70 minutes following a counter, Knutsford failed to clear their lines and a chip to the far post was headed home for 1-2 with all present expecting an offside call which didn’t come.

It was a huge blow to Knutsford after the shift they had put in.

Kennedy went close as Reds sought a leveller but despite substitutions and changing the shape to try and get back into the game, Knutsford couldn’t find the equaliser.

A lack of goals and frequent changes to the side due to player unavailability has had a big impact on the season, with Knutsford currently placed 11th with six wins and two draws from their 18 matches so far.

Knutsford: Simpson, Hawley, Humphries, Ward, Cavanagh, Bowey, Spencer (Potts), Kennedy, Rodick, Summerbee (Daverin), Addai.