Adult teams, First team, Reserve team

Saturday 28 August 2021 – First Team & Reserves

Knebworth 2, Bovingdon Reserves 1

Tristan Potkins reports…

Last Saturday the First Team welcomed Bovingdon Reserves to The Rec for an earlier 2pm kick off. With Adrian away on a romantic bank holiday trip, it was left to Ryan Stapleton to make the tough decisions. Ethan Parker & Max Smith both made their first home starts of the season.

The game started fairly even, Bovingdon looking for the tidy no.9 with the switch of play from right to left their main outlet. Knebworth were initially quite hesitant to show for the ball, but just edged the early proceeding as they would go on to for the duration of the first half performance. Unfortunately though, a decent high press to a short goal kick combined with a bit of hesitancy at the back meant the visitors went in 1-0 up, with their only real look in on goal.

Half time was important as it gave Knebworth a chance to address some frustrations and call for patience and composure before going downhill second half. One thing that can’t be a questioned is the young team’s passion, (Tristan Potkins the oldest Ks player at 26!) but learning to channel it positively will take us a long way. 

The second half was dominated by Knebworth. Joe Swadling got the equaliser with an exquisite far post curling finish, after Sam Nelson was introduced causing trouble down the wing. Alfie Nellis also came into the game to make his First Team debut, with Knebworth looking to stay tight with only a portion of the game to play. Ethan didn’t read that script, and a bit of a messy goal that I’m sure he’s claiming was enough to steal it and get our first 3 points on the board!

At home in the cup next before tough league games against Hertford United & Aldenham. Momentum being the buzzword.

Raja Tandoori man of the match is Myles Thomas, who even after a week on holiday looks to be a mountain of a man this season.

Myles Thomas in action

Knebworth Reserves 4, Chipperfield Corinthians Development 1

Matt Garrod reports…

The Reserves went in to the match with two convincing victories in the bag.

It was a cagey opening 15 minutes with the sides probing each other, until the point when Knebworth’s midfield started to pull the strings and a smart pass found the Knebworth youth product Kai Hutchinson who cut in and found the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the hosts. Chipperfield were knocking on the door and a couple of fine saves by Ben Phillips in goal kept Knebworth in front.

With Knebworth in control, an unfortunate lapse in concentration at the back saw Chipperfield break and a perfect cross found the striker with a free header in the six yard box to make it 1-1 with 5 minutes of the half left. The immediate response from Knebworth was fantastic. A break down the right saw the ball beautifully cut back for Harry Wilkinson who smartly finished to send Knebworth deservingly into the break 2-1 up.

Half time change for Knebworth saw Adam Pope replace Ben Wheeler, which almost proved to be a goal scoring change. Knebworth broke down the left, with the ball coming in across the face of the six-yard box for Pope to arrive late at the back post and see his attempt drift just wide of the post; the warning shot had been fired.

Knebworth’s midfield had got a hold of the game at this point and it was only a matter of time before the third goal came for Knebworth. Another attack down the left and a cross finding Pope who cut on to his left foot and found the bottom corner to make it 3-1 Knebworth.

One final change for Knebworth saw Wheeler back on to replace Harry Wilkinson, who put a great shift in for the team. Chipperfield came close with a long distance set play that nearly caught Ben Phillips out, when a strike hit the outside of the post. The game was rounded off with a lovely move in the midfield and a through ball for Wheeler to run on to, the cool forward kept his nerve as the Chipperfield keeper raced out only for Wheeler to calmly dink the ball over the keeper.

Three wins out of three for the Reserves sees them sitting top of the table.

Stevenage Couriers man of the match: Kai Hutchinson

Adult teams, First team

Saturday 21 August – First Team

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.

Charlie Pratt is recovering from a match-stopping injury

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.

Adult teams, Reserve team

Saturday 21 August – Reserves

Reserves skipper Matt Cooper reports

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.

Raja Tandoori man of the match: Joe O’Dell

Stevenage Couriers man of the match: Matt Cooper

Back to back wins and the Reserves are at home again next week, Chipperfield Corinthians the visitors for 16:00 kick off.

Skipper Matt Cooper

Adult teams, First team

Saturday 14 August – First Team

First Team coach Tristan Potkins reports…

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.

Mascots from the U7s squad

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.

Adult teams, Reserve team

Saturday 14 August – Reserves

Reserves skipper Matt Cooper reports

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.

Extrastaff man of the match: Max Mahoney

Next week, Saturday 21 August, the Reserves host Aldenham for 15:00 kick off at The Rec (SG3 6AH)

Skipper Matt Cooper in action