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, 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, First team, Reserve team

Seniors reports – Saturday 10 April 2021

First Team vs Oracle Components

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. 

Christian Grindal racing to arrive before kick off

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. 

Jack Dunn making his voice heard when the man of the match vote takes place

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

If you missed the matchday programme, download your copy here

Adult teams, First team

First team – Saturday 3 April 2021

The Ks resume with a win over Hertford Heath

Adrian Turner reports…

Well what a great game. On a bobbly and dry Knebworth pitch we welcomed Hertford Heath in the end of season cup competition. Both teams started brightly and were both playing on the front foot. Dan Smith was at his finest to keep out an early opportunity for the visitors and at the other end Luke Burkett went agonisingly close with a header. Hertford Heath’s direct approach was well managed as Knebworth kept their shape, as both team’s gave everything in this first fixture since December. Full back Ollie Mitchell was the stand out player of the half on his First team debut.

The second half started in the same manner with the visitors getting the ball forward quick but, again the Ks held their shape and a a good line and played some lovely football. Knebworth got their reward when a good move resulted in the ball being whipped into the Hertford Heath penalty box and forcing an unavoidable own goal; a well-deserved lead for the home side. Knebworth controlled the game for the next 15 minutes until a ball into the box caused some confusion and Peter Reilly took full advantage to poke home the equaliser. A shaky ten minutes followed for the hosts, but they gradually got back in control of the game and edged ahead again with the finest move of the game. A ball out by Smith to skipper Agnew who produced a delicious pass down the line which caught Hertford Heath out and a great finish by Seb Melendez. There were a few scary moments in the last 10 minutes as former Ks striker Charlie Pratt hit the crossbar and a couple of soft penalty shouts but Knebworth held on for a deserved win.

Raja Tandoori man of the match: Ollie Mitchell

A great team win and a perfect performance for our first game back. Well done lads!

Saturday’s match programme can be downloaded here

Match winner Seb Melendez