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
Adult teams, Reserve team

Reserves – Saturday 3 April 2021

Matt Cooper reports…

After a lockdown induced absence from Football, Knebworth travelled to Sarratt in the first of three group stage games of the newly created end of season cup competition.

Lockdown beer bellies and awful haircuts were the order of the day but it was great to get the boys back together and get a game of football back on.

The Reserves had a strong XI out with Stapleton in goal, a back four of Rowe, Cooper, McKechnie and Fleet, midfield of Dunn, Rose and Kitzio, with Phillips and Hatfield supporting Richardson up front.

The game started slowly with both teams exploring each other on a firm and bobbly pitch. It was Knebworth who took advantage first though with Richardson getting on the end of a wonderful through ball and slotting it calmly past the goalkeeper to give the Reserves a deserved 1-0 lead.  It wasn’t long before the lead was doubled in comical fashion, Richardson putting the Sarratt keeper under severe pressure and the keeper’s attempted clearance hit Richardson and ricocheted back into the net.

The rest of the half was rather quiet in terms of chances with the Knebworth back four doing well to repel the numerous long balls over the top coming from Sarratt defence and midfield. The score was 2-0 at half time.

The second half was a slightly different story with Sarratt having much more of the possession and Knebworth having to dig deep and try and catch them on the counter. Chances were missed by early substitutes Hale and Hutchinson to grab that killer third before Sarratt got back into the game on the hour mark with a scrappy goal from inside the box.

Sarratt threw the kitchen sink for the remaining half hour with the back four and Rose and Dunn in midfield doing an excellent job of dealing with the multitude of crosses, long balls and set pieces that were thrown into the box. The hosts did eventually get their reward for their pressure in fortuitous circumstances as a hopeful looped ball back into the box landed at the feet of an attacker who poked past the excellent Stapleton who had made a number of key saves all afternoon.

Both teams saw the rest of the game out and a 2-2 result saw the points shared by both teams. Great to be back and next week the reserves host Hinton at home.

Extrastaff man of the match: Alex Richardson

Adult teams, First team, Reserve team, Youth teams

Seniors – Family Ties

Stuart Biddle writes…

Since reforming in 1999, we’ve had over twenty sets of brothers playing for the Seniors and even a few father/son combos.

Callum McKechnie, who features on the list with his brother Marcus, prompted my interest in which brothers have made the most appearances for the Seniors since 1999…

So we start with the talented Dance family… slightly out of sequence as I’ve now added others!

Dance (15/2)                      Bobby (11/2) and Joe (4)

Father Danny (something of a local football legend) also played for the Club at some time in the late Seventies and/or early Eighties, and, having read the committee minutes from the time, helped build the stand and dug outs at the Old Knebworth Lane ground where Odyssey Health Club is – those structures remain to this day! Brother Riki also made a couple of friendly appearances but we don’t count those.

Kersey (2/1)                       Ashley (1/1) and Paul (1)

Hickin (12/2)                      Konnor (11/2) and Josh (1)

Yates (17/1)                        Andrew (14) and Rob (3/1)

Klimek (17/7)                     Andrew ‘Butch’ (16/7) and Mark (1)

Adamson (23/2)                Jake (22/2) and Alfie (1)

Gutzmore (29/10)            Kadeem (20/9) and Leon (9/1)

Ellis/Klimek (34/16)         Ryan Ellis (18/4) and Kieran Klimek (16/12)

Small (35/4)                        Dorian (21) and Ricardo (14/4)

Webb (43/9)                       Dan (25/1) and Tony (18/8)

Forde (43/15)                     Jono (41/15) and Darren (2)

Stephenson (46/24)        Sam (28/20) and Dan (18/4)

Lucy (50/5)                          Alex (39/5) and Joe (11)

Tear (51/4)                          James (31/2) and Matt (20/2)

Paine (61/10)                     Casey (52/9), Jake (7/1), Josh (2)

Wheeler (65/14)               Charlie (54/10) and Jed (11/4)

Gilbert (72/58)                  Louis (50/48) and Jack (22/10)

Kenna/Thomas (77/29)  Liam Kenna (75/29) and Dean Thomas (2)

Travi-Wombwell (80/7)  Billy (52/3) and Adam (28/4) – not actually brothers but they seemed to be!

Errington (91/2)                 Craig (82/1) and Liam 9/1) – nor are these two!

Miles (97/13)                     Jordan (56/11) and Aaron (41/2)

Fuller (104/28)                   Graham (80/19) and Rob (24/9)

Douglas (111/12)              Tom (67/9) and Ricky (44/3)

Lamacraft (125/41)          Adam (69/35), Sean (33/1), Glen (23/5) – more on this family below…

Evans (125/51)                  Seb (94/31) and Louie (31/20)

Dove (126/25)                    Graham (80/12) and Richard (46/13)

Downham (143/48)         Danny (117/45) and Ben (26/3)

Bennett (163/59)              Luke (144/57) and Tom (19/2)

Clark (164/42)                   Wayne (85/4) and Jamie (79/38) – another unrelated pair included for a laugh

Bysouth (178/26)              Alex (146/24) and Sam (32/2)

Bickell (179/27)                 Darren (165/27) and Dean (14)

Taylor (192/15)                  Max (97/5) and George (95/10)

Pratt (204/69)                    Charlie (164/69), Jake (11), James (Brooke) (29)

Oram (208/26)                   Will (144/9) and Tom (64/17)

Thompson (269/16)         Danny (144/11) and Matt (125/5)

And now to the top three…

McKechnie (287/35)        Marcus (164/26) and Callum (123/9)

The Knebworth born and raised McKechnie brothers edge out founding members the Thompsons.

Matthews (313/59)         Stewart (212) and Martin (101/59)

Second on the list are goalkeeper and striker pair the Matthews brothers, another set of homegrown players.

Mattia (347/67)                 Angelo (239/64) and Rafael (108/3)

And topping the list are the Mattias including Angelo who held the appearance and goalscoring records from early on until surpassed by Lewis Coward (281/21), Danny Griffiths (253/26) and Sam Harte (242/33) for appearances, and Frazer Triggs (208/129), Paul McCormack (126/83), Jason Drackford (115/82), Jamie Drackford (124/74) and Charlie Pratt (164/69) for goals.

We’ve also had nine father/son combinations that I’m aware of, excluding those that only coached/played; most notably Martin Bond and his son Jon (221/6) who reformed the Seniors in 1999 having finished Youth football.

Winn (3)                               Gary (2) and Callum (1)

Gary played for the original Club before it folded so he actually made far more appearances.

Klimek (17/12)                   Kieran (16/12) and Mark (1)

Like others on this list, Mark played for the Ks in his pomp and even managed the side for a time. He was a popular and talented local sportsman who sadly passed away.

Paine (73/10)                     Casey (52/9), Jake (7/1), Josh (2), and Martin (12)

Martin joined as player/coach in early 2010s having played a good standard of non-league football, and is another popular local football figure.

Bass (89/9)                          Dave (70/4) and Jack (19/5)

Dave had three seasons with us and quickly emerged as a leader of the team and captaining the First Team. Jack played one season, his first in adult football.

Bowgett (92/20)               Tom (90/20) and Paul (2)

Father Paul made two appearances for the Ks, having previously captained Wealdstone to the first-ever non-league double of FA Trophy and Conference title in 1985.

Mulcahy (97/16)               Ian (68/16) and Sam (29)

Ian joined to play for the Reserves under childhood friend Tony Lamacraft, and went on to become Reserves manager. The mercurial Mulcahy was a popular member of the Club.

Lawrence (99/4)               Lee (96/4) and Joe (3)

Lee was the first Club captain when the Seniors were reformed in 1999 and guided the young team through its first few seasons.

Lowe (120/30)                   Kevin (109/30) and Oliver (11)

Kevin Lowe played for Knebworth throughout the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties (as far as I know) and is well known local football circles, famous for his drop of the shoulder. In the twilight of his footballing days, Kevin played for the reformed Seniors in the early 2000s; often going on mazy runs which ended with him finding the net.

Lamacraft (156/45)          Adam (69/35), Sean (33/1), Glen (23/5), and Tony (31/4)

Father Tony, who sadly passed away in 2014, played for the Club soon after it reformed and later became Reserves and then First Team manager. He also coached our youth teams for many years and was chairman of the youth football club as it then was for three years.

Pratt (205/69)                    Charlie (164/69), Jake (11), James (Brooke) (29), Jeff (1)

Jeff made one appearance which is just enough to get the Pratt family on to the this list! Charlie’s 164 appearances give the family a comfortable lead which is likely to stand for many years to come.

So that’s the list – for now!

Adult teams, First team, Reserve team

Seniors – Saturday 5 December 2020

First Team flounder on return to football

The Firsts paid the price for poor concentration and a lack of desire on Saturday, as Wheathampstead netted twice in each half to take all three points home with them.

In what was an even match despite the scoreline, Knebworth were unable to find a way through and left the defence and goalkeeper Dan Smith exposed too often. Tom Grieveson went closest for the Ks, thumping the outside of the post in the closing stages.

If you missed Saturday’s match programme, download your copy here

Next Saturday, 12 December, the First Team travel to Old Parmiterians in Herts Senior County League Division One; 14:00 kick off at The Thomas Parmiter Sports Centre, High Elms Lane, Garston WD25 0JU.

Reserves out-foxed by Oxhey

Regular correspondent Matt Cooper reports for the Reserves…

After four long weekends away, the Reserves returned to action in Watford, away at Oxhey Jets in a match that pitted the youth of Knebworth against the experience of an older Jets side.

On a pitch that has bared the brunt of the recent bad weather, good football was at a premium in the first 20 minutes as both teams looked to blow out the cobwebs. The first blow was struck by the Jets as a long route one ball straight from the keeper found their striker who lifted it over skipper Pettitt in goal.

For the remainder of the half however, Knebworth found their feet and created a number of good chances that should have resulted in an equaliser. However the Jets held off the barrage and made it to the break holding a 1-0 lead.

The second half started as the first ended, with Knebworth doing all the running and dominating possession, they were finally rewarded when Callum McKechnie reacted first to head home when an absolute rocket of a shot from Dunn which hit the bar from 30 yards.

Goalscorer Callum McKechnie;
9 goals, 123 appearances

Knebworth continued to push and play their football but the experience of the Jets began to show and they caught the Reserves out three times on the break in the final 20 minutes to take all three points. Positive signs from Knebworth but lacking a clinical touch in front of goal will hurt you against teams in this league.

Extrastaff man of the match: Liam George

Next Saturday, 12 December, the Reserves host Hinton Reserves for a Herts Senior County League Division Three fixture; 14:00 kick off at The San Reco, Knebworth, SG3 6AH.

Adult teams, First team, Reserve team

Seniors – Saturday 31 October 2020

First Team win at Aldenham

Christian Grindal makes his journalism debut…

After putting to bed the bad result from last week, Knebworth travelled to Hatfield University to play Aldenham FC. The team arrived to be greeted by what could only be described as probably the best football pitch we will play on all season. With no changing facilities we were directed to warm up and get changed in a designated area next to the pitch. It would be hard to explain the condition of this area, but an Olympic swimming pool could be a start. With the warm up consisting of running against hurricane-esque winds and rain, the team were damp but spirits were high, especially with Harrison Evans unveiling his new white shiny boots! A few changes to the losing team from last week saw John Martin and Jason Fleet get their first call up and start for the First Team after impressive displays in the Reserves and Tom Grieveson championing the armband.

Knebworth started the game off strong with Kieran Flynn, Harrison Evans and Louis Curtis taking control of the match in the midfield. With Aldenham struggling to contain Louis, who drew several fouls within the first 15 minutes, gave us early opportunities to get the ball into the box and probe the defence and goalkeeper. As the first half went on Aldenham found their way into the match by executing what was quite clearly their game plan, using their pace down the wings to provide a few shaky moments for the team. But with Dan Smith and the back four putting in an inspired performance it was going to take a bit more than pace to break down this defence. After both teams having multiple opportunities but only one team having Tom Grieveson, Knebworth took the lead with the captain leading the charge. Another chance to double to lead came when Kieran Flynn delivered a sensational ball to the back post with Christian Grindal slipping his marker to produce a diving header that just couldn’t produce the power to beat the goalkeeper. Aldenham returned with their own chances on goal, but with a goal line clearance from Jason Fleet and the “human wall” known as Dan Smith sweeping up any balls over the top of the defence eliminated any chances they had, bringing an end to a positive first half.

The team saw no changes at half time, with the intention to carry on as we started. Although playing on a carpet, the excessive rain saw the quality of the game drop, with no team really getting a foothold. Aldenham, using their movement off the ball and pace, tested Knebworth’s fitness and character. With Kieran, Harrison and Louis all trying to get onto the ball and get Knebworth playing, John Martin, Alex Richardson and Tom Grieveson provided options but Aldenham made it difficult by throwing bodies about and disrupting Knebworth’s flow. George Kirtsides replaced Alex Richardson who put in a solid performance for the team. Knebworth was dealt a blow with Seb Melendez pulling up with an injury, he was replaced by James Fisher who dropped into right back moving Jason onto the left. With Jason not being naturally left footed and played out of position, he stepped up to the mark and filled the large boots left by Seb. Young James Fisher started his first appearance a little shaky by forgetting the size of the pitch and running the ball straight off and finishing it with a graceful stack. As the game progressed James found himself settled and caused the opposition problems down the right hand side of the pitch, on the defence and the attack, producing a goal-line block that epitomized Knebworth’s resolve. Myles Thomas replaced Harrison bringing strength, power and a set of fresh legs into the midfield to aid Knebworth on their way to victory. Opportunities kept popping up for both teams, but John Martin had a moment of magic in the dying embers of the game when he struck a 30 yard screamer, hitting the corner of the goal frame, leaving the goalkeeper unsure of what happened. The game concluded with a 1-0 victory to kickstart the season for Knebworth FC. Man of the match went to Christian Grindal but could have easily been the whole team. UP THE KNEB

Extrastaff man of the match: Christian Grindal (and not just because he wrote the match report!)

Next Saturday, 7 November, the First Team are scheduled to host Hertford Heath in the Herts Senior County League Division One; 14:00 kick off at The San Reco, Knebworth, SG3 6AH… pending Government announcement on suspending grassroots football!

Extrastaff man of the match: Christian Grindal

Reserves humbled by Harpenden

Regular correspondent Matt Cooper reports for the Reserves…

On a incredibly wet and windy Saturday afternoon where games were being cancelled all over Hertfordshire, Knebworth Reserves hosted Harpenden Rovers on the irrigational dream that is The San Reco.

Call ups and unavailability led to another changed starting 11 with Agnew, Hatfield, Hare and George coming into the starting team. Pettitt continued as captain after last week’s magnificent comeback win.

The first half started with Knebworth creating a number of good chances with Hutchinson missing a one on one before having a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside. Agnew, playing up front was causing a number of problems with Dunn and George winning the early battles in midfield.

However, in 18 first half minutes Harpenden struck four goals in quick succession with a number of crosses finding spare men at the back post before the fourth being scored from the penalty spot.

The damage had been done and the wind had been taken out of Knebworth’s sails. Strong words were exchanged at half time with a couple of changes in addition to the rotational subs made in the first half.

The second half saw Knebworth regain a bit of control and they got an early goal in the form of one of the better own goals seen in recent times, the Harpenden defender rising highest and powering a header past his own keeper into the roof of the net. Knebworth continued to push in the second half but struggled to create many clear cut opportunities. The defence did well to ensure no further goals were conceded but the damage had been done in the first half and it was the away side that took all three points. With lockdown looming, it may be a while before the Reserves take to the field again…

Raja Tandoori man of the match: Liam George

If you missed Saturday’s match programme, download your copy here

Check out The Cold End’s blog with a neutral match report, photos and video footage of the game

Photos here with thanks to Tilly Sleator:

Next Saturday, 7 November, the Reserves are scheduled to play Hatfield Town U23s for a Herts Senior County League Division Three fixture; 14:00 kick off at Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield, AL10 0AN.