Adult teams, First team, Reserve team

Seniors – Saturday 19 September 2020

First Team pay for sloppy start

First Team Coach Tristan Potkins dusts off his English GCSE to reflect…

With ten players unavailable through either injury or being away, both squads were light this Saturday. That being said, there was more than enough to get the result for the First Team.

A slow start saw us go behind to a soft goal in the first five minutes, so soft that the poor reaction to having conceded led to us conceding another. Oracle are clearly a good footballing side, but they had what seems to be becoming a trend in division one, the big lad up front. This season with the new management, new players, new system, a lot of it is going to be about adapting quickly and efficiently, and in these scenarios thus far we have failed to do so.

Knebworth at 2-0 down did start to play a bit, with a flying Jimmy Agnew frequently getting in down the right hand side, with almost two identical crosses flying across the box in the space of a couple minutes with nobody able to get on the end of it. A few free kicks from decent positions gave us a chance to whip a ball in, but it just was not happening.

Before long Oracle had gone on the break and got another. 3-0 at half time and a bit of a dressing down, Knebworth came out with a much-improved attitude second half. After Oracle finding a fourth through a good phase of play, an injury to the battling Jack Dunn saw myself have to slot into Centre Back alongside Myles, and Alex Richardson, the eventual goal scorer come onto the wing. Knebworth’s goal came from more fantastic work down the flanks, with switching play becoming more of a weapon when utilised well, Oracle failed to threaten again other than a very good header from a corner seeing Knebworth lose the second half 2-1.

Although another bad result, it feels a kind of turning point in terms of a realisation of what is missing, and what we can do when we attribute ourselves in a positive way. A massive opportunity next week to springboard our season in the Aubrey Cup, maintaining the utmost confidence that once we get this right, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with. Hold me to that.

If I were to get a choice for man of the match, I think regardless of the score line Dan Smith was fantastic in one-on-one situations, with Myles Thomas playing in his fourth position of the season doing everything he could to contain the Oracle offence.

If you missed the matchday programme, download it here

Next Saturday, 26 September, the First Team travel to Bovingdon in the historic Aubrey Cup; 14:30 kick off at Green Lane, Bovingdon HP3 0LA.

Raja Tandoori man of the match: Dan Smith

Reserves suffer narrow defeat in the Greg Cup

Roving reporter Henry Harbottle-Day made the trip to Wormley…

Knebworth Reserves fell just short at the first hurdle in the Greg Cup after a 1-0 loss away at Wormley Rovers FC Reserves.

The opening 30 minutes consisted of no real chance for either side, with the best chance of opening third being a shot from inside the box for the opposition which was well saved by Alfie Pettitt.

The opposition took the lead though 5 minutes before half time. Seems like this has to be copied every week at the moment; poor set piece defending from Knebworth, and the second wave of attack resulted in a Wormley shot being finished from inside the 18 yards past Alf in net.

As the second half began it seemed to be a battle of the midfields. Sidney Kizito and Liam George, who was making his debut, putting in strong tenacious defensive shifts to break down many a play the opposition crafted. Carrying on his fine form from last week, Alfie made a fantastic save to deny the opposition from making it 2-0 when he sprung to the left with a strong palm, stopping an almost certain goal.

Knebworth’s best chance of the game came not long after. A defence splitting pass from Kieran Flynn in midfield caused a Kneb player to be bought down inside the box and win a penalty. Tom Grieveson stepped up, sending the keeper the wrong way but unfortunately placing it over the bar. Score remains 1-0.

Another solid save from Alf yet again denied the opposition, with one of their players getting sent off in the process. Wormley continued to attack late on when Kneb ran out of legs, hitting the bar with a good strike just outside the box.

Too little pressure from Knebworth late on though meant they were knocked out the Greg Cup in the first round, a defeat which brings a lot of positives after playing a better opposition.

Extrastaff man of the match: Liam George

Next Saturday, 26 September, the Reserves host Sarratt Reserves in the Herts Senior County League Division Three; 15:00 kick off at the Recreation Ground (SG3 6AH).

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.

Adult teams, First team, Reserve team

2020/21 Season begins!

Saturday 5 September 2020

First Team beaten by Hinton in opener

First Team Manager Adrian Turner reflects…

After a really positive pre-season, we started the season at home to a very big and physical Hinton side. The first ten minutes were very frantic but once we settled into the game the visitors struggled to work out our system. It was a game of few chances but we were in control up to half time. In the second half Hinton went more direct and we started to really struggle with this as the game went on. Unfortunately in the 70th minute Hinton scored with a corner that deflected into the net off one of our players. We tried to push for an equaliser but Hinton kept hitting us on the counter and in fairness could of extended their lead as we tired. So really great positives as we learn our new system and get fitter. We will learn and improve.

Stevenage Couriers man of the match: Dan Smith

If you missed the matchday programme, download it here

Next Saturday, 12 September, the First Team travel to Tring Athletic Reserves for their second Herts Senior County League Division One fixture; 15:00 kick off at The Grassroots Stadium, Cow Lane, Tring, HP23 5NS.

Reserves kick off with a win at Evergreen

Roving reporter Henry Harbottle-Day made the trip to Abbots Langley…

Knebworth Reserves started off the season with a comfortable 2-0 away victory to Evergreen in the Herts Senior County League. With Knebworth looking to build on momentum garnered from pre-season, the game started off with little to no chances.

The first real threat to either side’s goal was on around the 15-minute mark when Evergreen’s first corner of the match resulted in a goal mouth scrabble in the Knebworth box. Alfie Pettitt was put under pressure by numerous opposition players before the ball ended up in the back of the net; however, thankfully for Knebworth the goal was chalked out for obstruction.

It wasn’t until half an hour gone Knebworth got their first big chance of the game. Kieran ‘Flynny’ Flynn, who was making his first start since his return from injury, threaded an excellent ball behind the Evergreen defence which Tom ‘Greffo’ Grieveson took advantage of with a brilliant top right-hand corner finish on his competitive debut for the Club.

As the second half kicked off Knebworth again looked to attack from the off. A well-instructed high defensive line meant Evergreen struggled to get in behind, which was seemingly a large part of their game. Knebworth fullbacks, Luke ‘Wilko’ Wilkins and Owen Hatfield ensured the Evergreen wingers didn’t get a sight at goal throughout.

Knebworth looked to have made it two when winger Sam Nelson rushed through on goal with Grieveson beside him but decided to take it on his own before hitting the bar.

Grieveson went on to score both his and Knebworth’s second of the afternoon on the 60-minute mark, using his pace and power to beat the centre half, before finishing past the onrushing keeper with a curled shot into the bottom right hand corner. Yet again assisted by Flynn.

Pettitt went on to keep a clean sheet in the game, making a vital stop late on to collect the three points away from home and give Knebworth, and their passionate away support, a great start to the season.

Extrastaff man of the match: Tom Grieveson

Next Saturday, 12 September, the Reserves welcome Hatfield Athletic to the Recreation Ground (SG3 6AH) for their second Herts Senior County League Division Three fixture; 15:00 kick off.

First team, Mick's Football Memories, Reserve team

Mick’s Football Memories – part 3

By the start of the 1954/55 season, now eight years old, I would go up Knebworth
Rec. in the evenings and watch some of the early season mid-week matches. I would
lean against the goalpost and talk to the goalkeeper, whether he was playing for
Knebworth or the visitors. I was not allowed to go up the Rec. on Saturdays as I had
to go with my mother to visit my grandmother in Stevenage, who had recently lost her
husband, my granddad, who I was very close to. As the season progressed my mate’s
parents said I could go there for tea on a Saturday afternoon, enabling me to watch
football up the Rec. Frequently we would kick a football around on a piece of grass
adjacent to the pitch.
Up until this point I had never been allowed out to play on a Sunday as I had to go to
Sunday School but times were starting to change and we were beginning to be allowed out to play on Sunday mornings. There was no organised youth football at that time and nor would there be for many years to come.
Just about every boy in the village would turn up to play. We would play on the piece of
grass next to the tennis courts, where the amusements are now. We would use two trees as one goal, much to the displeasure of a local councillor and throw down a couple of coats for the other goal. By now I had a maroon track suit and thought I was the bees knees. Most of us wore canvas basketball boots and the football was leather with an inner tube and laced up. This got extremely heavy when wet and it was not a good idea to attempt to head it. We all wanted to be our favourite footballer and supporting Wolves I would always be Peter Broadbent, the very best footballer I have ever seen play.
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First team, Mick's Football Memories, Reserve team

Mick’s Football Memories – part 2

Towards the end of 1953 I became close friends with a school mate and we would both visit each other’s houses several times a week after school. For Christmas he was given a football annual which highlighted in both words and pictures the 1953 F.A. Cup Final between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers, known as the Stanley Matthews Cup Final.
This was the first time I had heard of or become aware of the F.A. Cup. We both learned a lot from reading about this match and looking at the many photographs. Bolton, including Nat Lofthouse, the England centre forward had led by three goals to one but Blackpool fought back to win 4-3 in arguably the best cup final ever seen, with Stanley Matthews running rings around and tormenting the Bolton defence.
The 1953/54 season ended with Wolves winning the First Division Championship for
the first time ever, making one little boy extremely happy.
By now I had a pair of football boots, the only problem was I didn’t know what to do
with them. They were plain leather with a toe cap and a strap going across the top of
the boot. They went right up over the ankle and had wooden studs. The laces were as
long as I was tall and went underneath the boot, then round the back of it, before
being tied at the front. No sooner had I mastered the art of tying them, than together
with my school mate we became the envy of all the boys. His granddad had a
cobbler’s or shoe mender’s shop in Knebworth High Street and he removed the
wooden studs from our boots and fitted rubber studs, almost unheard of at the time.
For the remainder of our time at Knebworth Primary School I was able to play

football in the organised matches and wearing a school football kit.

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