Knebworth travelled to title contenders Oracle Components but unfortunately the match was abandoned around 55 minutes due to Charlie Pratt needing urgent medical attention.
Contesting a challenge, Charlie landed onto an opposition player’s hip. Fortunately he left in good spirits, and everyone at the Club wishes him all the best and a speedy recovery. The response of the squad was fantastic in quickly realising the severity of the situation and supporting Adrian.
The First Team are back at home next week, Bovingdon the visitors for 14:00 kick off with Reserves playing afterwards.
The First will be seeking to kick start their season to reflect the strengthening of the squad and the positive work going on in training.
Knebworth welcomed Aldenham Reserves in the first home game of the season, the Reserves looking to build on an opening day thumping of Bushey Rangers.
With availability and injury issues it was a different looking side from last week with first starts for Joe O’Dell, Harry Wilkinson, Marcus McKechnie, Max Smith and Ben Phillips.
Knebworth took control from the get go and dominated a first half with lots of possession and chances. The front three of Smith, George Phillips and O’Dell were running riot, and did everything but score. The midfield was controlled and purposeful with every attack with Alfie Nellis, Liam George and Wilkinson winning the individual battles and playing some brilliant through balls.
Half time came with the score at 0-0, and after a positive half time team talk Knebworth came out looking to grab an early goal and kill the game off.
The deadlock was finally broken when a well worked move down the right hand side ended with Smith roasting the full back and delivering a ball in to be smashed home on the volley by G.Phillips, making in two in two for the head-banded attacker.
Chances continued to come for the Reserves but a mixture of close misses and good goalkeeping from Aldenham kept it at 1-0. A new look back four for Knebworth kept it very tight all game, with Cooper and McKechnie winning everything and starting numerous attacks. Jason Fleet and Nathan Garrod doing brilliantly in both defence and attack.
Keeper B.Phillips had little to do and the boys saw off the game comfortably to win 1-0 and secure a second victory of the season.
Knebworth hosted Hinton at The Rec in a repeat of last season’s opening fixture. The Ks were supported by members of the U7s squad who became our first mascots of the campaign; thank you Archie, Jack, Jacob, and Maxwell! Both teams paid tribute to former Herts FA President Bert Dearman who sadly passed away recently.
The game started well for the hosts with Knebworth on the front foot after a very productive pre-season. A move that started on the left wing, worked its way back to Ben Phillips in goal and all the way out the other side, ended with a great through ball from Joe Swadling into Reece Hurren who just couldn’t quite direct it goalwards. The game’s first big chance.
It became apparent quite quickly Hinton we’re looking for the ball over the top, being unsuccessful on the whole with Jack Holmes and Myles Thomas dealing with it effectively. Another two chances then fell to the returning Charlie Pratt, one where he was unfortunate not to make contact at the back post and another with the defender backtracking where he just couldn’t quite curl the ball into the back post.
Hinton then on the break got in down the left wing, crossing it into the box to score from a header.
Just before half time a quick corner from Hinton resulted in the Ks going in two goals down. Chris Grindal, unfortunately injured in pre-season, finding out he’s not quite as naturally fit as he was 10 years ago, declaring as he came off at half time that he is going to get fit, no matter what it takes.
The second half followed a similar pattern but with Knebworth seeing the effects frustration can have on performance, things not quite going our way. Hinton to their credit stuck to their game and some good additions to the side from last season made a difference. A notable volley from Kieran Flynn the highlight for Knebworth just being tipped over the bar, Hinton scored a worldy free kick to make the final score 3-0 after Marcin Bator had stopped a counter attack.
Raja Tandoori man of the match: Marcin Bator
Positives to take away, but overall a frustrating day not to get the result we were hoping for and we felt our preparations deserved.
Next Saturday, 21 August, sees the First Team travel to Oracle.
After the hard work of pre season, Knebworth Reserves travelled to Bushey Rangers for the season opener.
A number of new faces for the Reserves this year with six players making their debut, it was a slow start for Knebworth as both teams eased themselves into the new season.
The deadlock was broken after Bushey took advantage of some sloppy passing out from the Knebworth defence. The Reserves dug in for the rest of half and grew into the game – finally getting their reward when a great run and pass from Tommy Rowe found George Phillips to tuck home from close range.
It was 1-1 at the break and after a firm half time team talk Knebworth came out and dominated the second half. A quick fire double from Elliot Cracknell, including a brilliant volley following a long through ball from ‘keeper Fordham, fired Knebworth into control. The defence and midfield worked hard to keep the opposition at bay, and it was a direct free kick goal from Liam George that put the game beyond Bushey. At some point the hosts netted a second goal.
The back four and goalkeeper held it together brilliantly under increasing pressure in the closing stages, and a bonus fifth goal was added when Tommy Rowe streaked though and put it over the goalkeeper to round off a brilliant team performance.
Knebworth closed out a great 5-2 win to start the season.
Knebworth travelled to Richard Hale School to try and build on last week’s positive derby win. The opponents were pre-Covid league leaders Oracle, who were already a tidy side before making several additions before the transfer deadline passed.
Knebworth were slightly depleted for this week’s game having seen a number of injuries develop through the week, feeling the strain of the fast paced return to football post lockdown. Jack Dunn and Jason Fleet were called up to strengthen the side after good showings for the Reserves the week before. Ollie Mitchell also retained his place after his man of the match performance on his first team debut.
Special mention goes to Christian Grindal who managed to turn up on time, to the wrong fixture. Luckily with the First Team only being just up the road in Hertford Chris was there in time for the warm up.
Oracle started the game patiently, keeping possession and working the ball across the very wide 4G surface. Knebworth were in good shape, containing Oracle in the most part to corner kicks and only really breaking the lines once or twice. Five minutes before half time Oracle got a free kick just outside the box which was struck with some power and unfortunately the rebound fell to an onrushing striker to send us in to the break 1-0 down.
At half time it was decided that we needed to be braver on the ball, as working so hard without the ball bears its toll when there is no reward for your troubles. Early in the second half it was evident Knebworth were keeping the ball better, the ball moving through the thirds as opposed to being clipped over. There were three big chances at 1-0, the main two falling first to Louis Curtis who rounded the keeper to be stopped by a decent covering defender. The second coming to Seb Melendez who just couldn’t quite make it count.
As has been the case a few times this season, we were punished for not making one of our opportunities count when Oracle scored after a fanstatic clearance off the line from Jason Fleet lead to the ball rebounding in to our net. This was the turning point in the match, as Oracle started to find the spaces and scored two quick fire goals making it 4-0.
The fifth coming from a nasty deflection summing up the Ks’ afternoon with most of the goals all being really scrappy. One thing we must look to leave in this season, is our ability to let games slip away when we perceive the result to be concluded.
The Firsts’ last group game next Saturday is at home to Hatfield United, another very good outfit which will give us a great contest. For us it is then about the summer; planning, preparing, recruiting, and looking ahead to what hopefully will be a full season without the interruptions. Rumours are circulating that there is a great offer of 4/1 on a Potkins goal from outside the box.
Extrastaff Man of the match: Jack Dunn edges it for an assured first half performance.
Reserves hosted Hinton Reserves
On a cold overcast Saturday afternoon, the Reserves played host to Hinton Reserves in the second group game of the end of season cup competition. A string of injuries and drop outs led Reserves to only be able to muster a squad of 12 with a number of niggling injuries throughout the starting XI.
A tight first half ended with Hinton leading 1-0 after a scrappy goal from a corner, with defensive rock Matt Cooper forced off to receive treatment. The second half was a different story with Hinton clinically finishing a number of chances to see off Knebworth. Final score was 6-0. A disappointing result which was a harsh reflection on a performance that did have some positives given the circumstances.
Next week the Reserves play away to Bedmond.
Raja Tandoori man of the match: 16-year-old debutant goalkeeper Ollie Turner