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, 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, 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
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, 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