WITH Knutsford FC needing to finish the season pretty much perfectly to keep their promotion hopes in their own hands, this was not the time for their first league defeat of the calendar year.

However, that is what happened on Saturday as Wythenshawe Reserves came away from Manchester Road with a 3-2 victory.

Reds were missing seven regular starters, and it proved pivotal as they were beaten in Cheshire League One for the first time since losing 6-5 to the same opposition on December 30.

Five games remain for Knutsford to break into the promotion picture, four of which are at home starting with Malpas visit tonight, kick off 6.30pm.

After a slow start from both sides, Brandon Blades rattled the crossbar for Knutsford before the visitors opened the scoring on 16 minutes via a simple tap-in following a cross from the right.

That lead was doubled six minutes later as Knutsford failed the clear, and the hosts suddenly found themselves with a mountain to climb.

However, they started their ascent on the half-hour mark as they pulled a goal back through Gregory Mathers, who finished well after Blades found him with a cross.

Reds pressed for a leveller before the break, with Martyn Simcock missing a header before a similar effort from Graeme Brotherton brought out a superb save from the Wythenshawe goalkeeper.

Five minutes after the interval, however, they were level as substitute Jimmy Woodward finished well after good work from Jonny Cavanagh.

With a stretched Reds side tiring, however, Wythenshawe started to take control and having hit the post, they retook the lead with 10 minutes remaining and despite Knutsford’s efforts to find a late leveller, 3-2 was how it stayed.

Knutsford: Simpson, Rodick (Chatha), Wooley, Fregapane, Brotherton, Davis, Cavanagh (Disney), Simcock (Mawdsley), Blades, Mathers (Woodward), Woods

That result came four days after Football League veteran Aaron Wilbraham had netted a late winner to ensure a 2-1 victory over neighbours Styal on Tuesday.

The striker, who can count the likes of Crystal Palace and Bristol City among his former clubs, turned and fired home the winner with eight minutes remaining after Styal’s Joe Knight had earlier cancelled out Matt Mountney’s opener.