Adult teams, First team, Reserve team

Seniors: Saturday 12 September

First Team suffer narrow defeat at Tring

Goalkeeping coach Ryan Stapleton reports…

Following on from last week’s season opener Knebworth visited Tring Athletic Reserves.

Chances were frequent within the first 15 minutes with a header going close from a corner for Knebworth, and Tring forcing saves and blocks in what was an end to end game throughout.

Continuing the end to end theme, Tring had a chance cleared off the line through some resilient Knebworth defending. Knebworth finished the half stronger with Tring clearly tiring.

The start of the second half followed the same pattern of the first where Tring took the lead through a well worked goal following a throw in.

Knebworth then really came into the game, with a great effort hitting the post and the Tring goalkeeper making a save from a couple of yards out. Then an extremely controversial moment followed where the referee denied Knebworth a penalty.

However the game finished 1-0 to Tring in a deserved victory. The system is really coming together for us and there are plenty of positives to take into next week.

Extrastaff man of the match: Charlie Pratt

Charlie Pratt in action in pre-season

Next Saturday, 19 September, the First Team host Oracle Components in Herts Senior County League Division One; 15:00 kick off at the Recreation Ground (SG3 6AH).

Reserves squander two-nil lead to lose six-goal thriller

Henry Harbottle-Day reports from The Rec…

Knebworth Reserves, playing their first home game of the season at the Rec, struggled in a 4-2 loss to Hatfield Athletic. Looking to build on their away win last time out, Knebworth started with a relatively rotated side due to first team call ups.

After a cagey opening quarter, with a lot of the play coming from the two midfields, Hatfield got the first big chance of the game. Alfie Pettitt made his first big save of the game with a fine stretch to the left of his goal which forced a corner; resulting in the ball being swung in and Knebworth clearing off the line.

It wasn’t until just before halftime that Knebworth made the breakthrough. A corner swung in resulted in a goal mouth scrabble which was finished well by George Phillips. Assisted by Sam Nelson.

The second half was where the game came alive. Knebworth doubled their lead right after the break with Robbie Collis scoring a fine header past the Hatfield keeper, yet again assisted by Nelson. The two-goal lead was cut short, however. Sustained pressure from Hatfield resulted in Pettitt getting booked for sliding, 30 yards outside his box; he was so far out, the referee asked for his passport in French. Not long after this Knebworth were calamitous at the back which resulted in Hatfield lobbing Alf after he had to try to force a save. 2-1.

On around the 60th minute mark Pettitt was forced into action again. Hatfield played an over the top ball, beating the Knebworth line, forcing Alf to make a top save to his left to deny the Hatfield forward the chance of making the game level. Not long after Pettitt was forced into another save with a strong dive to his left after Hatfield looked to find the bottom corner.

You can tell Alfie had his girlfriend and her old man in attendance today. The best save of the day came from Pettitt when a Hatfield corner was swung in, resulting in yet another goal mouth scrabble. Hatfield looked to find the top left corner to make it 2-2 but were denied by a miraculous strong palm from Alf to tip the ball over the bar.

Begrudgingly though, it wasn’t long after this Hatfield did find the equaliser. Yet again, more poor set piece defending from Knebworth meant Hatfield did finally make it 2-2 despite Alfie’s heroics on the day. After this game the Knebworth coaching staff really do need to have a look at set piece defending (maybe take to Football Manager).

Hatfield finished the game with a flurry after it looked like Knebworth just ran out of legs. A valiant effort in the second half and some passion from Sidney Kizito and Jack Hare wasn’t enough to get a point. Yet again a ball behind the Knebworth defence was latched on to by their forward and finished smartly. Hatfield take the lead for the first time.

The Ks were almost level immediately when Nelson’s beautifully struck free kick 25 yards out whipped over the wall and seemed destined for the top corner of the net, but for Francis in the Hatfield goal to pull off a ‘worldy’ of his own and deny the hosts an equaliser.

This was extended not long after with Knebworth throwing the kitchen sink at it, leading to a quick breakaway from Hatfield and making it 2-4 on the day.

Lessons to be learnt all around for Knebworth Reserves here, with the best take away of the day being Alfie Pettitt’s assured performance in front of his BAE.

Mather Marshall Estate Agents man of the match: Alfie Pettitt

Raja Tandoori man of the match: Bailey Rose

Alfie Pettitt
Bailey Rose

That result leaves the Reserves eighth in the Herts Senior County League Division Three table.

If you missed the matchday programme, download it here

Next Saturday, 19 September, the Reserves travel to Wormley Rovers Reserves in the historic Greg Cup; 15:00 kick off at Church Lane, Wormley, EN10 7QF.

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