IT all looked so promising for Knutsford FC at half time.

They led 1-0 at Avon Villa thanks to Greg Mathers’ strike, which capped an excellent first-half display to put them on course for a fifth straight win in all competitions.

However, they did not count for a strong second-half fightback from the hosts, who ran out 4-1 winners having been inspired by a hat-trick from Tony Davenport.

Reds started the game on the front foot and Mathers had already fired a good chance over the bar before he capitalised on good work from Harrison Woolley on the left, turning in the box and firing home.

Charlie Sheldon then cleared the bar with another effort as despite forcing several corners, Knutsford failed to add to their one-goal lead.

In the end, it was to prove costly as Avon stepped up a gear after the break – Davenport pulled them level by tapping home a cross at the far post nine minutes into the second half before finishing well into the bottom corner to give his side the lead eight minutes later.

Knutsford switched to a 3-5-2 formation in order to regain a foothold in the match, but the hosts absorbed all of their pressure and were quick to counter-attack.

Davenport completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes of the game remaining as he finished a cross from the right with Reds goalkeeper Dominic Smith powerless.

In the final minute, Avon rounded off the scoring as Jordan Smith strode through and finished well to complete a miserable second half for Knutsford.

They will now look to bounce back on Saturday when they welcome Sandbach United Reserves – the side they beat 4-0 in the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup on September 9 – to Manchester Road.

Knutsford: Smith, Wilbraham, Woolley, Maunder, Brotherton, Sheldon (Chatha), Cavanagh (Gunter), Kennedy, Woodward, Mathers, Blades (Mawdsley)