Club News

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.

Mick's Football Memories

Mick’s Football Memories – part 30

For the 1975/76 season four Herts. County League sides entered the newly formed F.A. Vase competition. They were Knebworth, Leggatts Old Boys, Rolls-Royce Engines and Royston Town. Knebworth lost in the Preliminary Round 0-1 to Basildon United. The remaining three clubs entered the competition at the First Round with Rolls-Royce Engines and Royston Town losing to Tring Town and Northampton Spencer respectively, Royston Town after a replay. Leggatts Old Boys defeated Selby in the First Round before losing to Addlestone in the Second Round.

The following season only Leggatts Old Boys, Rolls-Royce Engines and Royston Town entered the competition and all lost at the first hurdle, Rolls-Royce Engines and Royston Town in the Preliminary Round and Leggatts Old Boys in the First Round.

For the 1977/78 season Knebworth and Sun Sports entered the competition together with Leggatts Old Boys and Rolls-Royce Engines, again all four clubs lost at the first hurdle.

The same four clubs entered for the 1978/79 season with only Sun Sports enjoying any success. They defeated Sandy Albion 2-0 in the Preliminary Round and then drew 4-4 with Kew Association in the First Round, losing the replay 1-0.

Knebworth, Rolls-Royce Engines and Sun Sports were the only entrants for the 1979/80 with Rolls-Royce Engines being the only team to enjoy any success. They defeated Eaton Bray United 5-2 away in the Preliminary Round and Ulysses 2-0 away in the First Round, before losing to Didcot Town in the Second Round. In the Preliminary Round Knebworth had been drawn at home to Tiptree United and lost the match 1-0. I was up the rec. that day watching the game when I observed a man walking around the entire pitch making notes. This individual turned out to be the secretary of Tiptree United and he had discovered that the length of the Knebworth pitch was undersize lengthwise, being less than 110 yards long. He reported this to the F.A. and the club was not accepted into the competition again. Subsequently the pitch was moved to the position it is in today, with the bottom goal line very close to the footpath. The following season the Herts F.A. refused to sanction any Herts. County League clubs entry into the competition. It would not be until the 1985/86 season that Herts. County League clubs would again participate in the F.A. Vase.

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Mick's Football Memories

Mick’s Football Memories – part 29

Letchworth Town continued to perform well in the Athenian league and after a name change to Letchworth Garden City in 1976 narrowly missed out on winning the Division One title at the end of the season. I was at Cheshunt on a Tuesday evening to see their final league match which they needed to win to claim the title. Unfortunately they were defeated, handing the title to Leyton-Wingate by a single point. However the Isthmian League formed a Division Two (Third Division) for the start of the 1977/78 season and Letchworth, now having floodlights, were accepted into the league. This reduced the Athenian League to one division. Ironically when the Athenian League expanded during the mid nineteen sixties it had approached the Isthmian League to become involved in the process but the Isthmian’s declined preferring to remain as an enclosed group.

In the Herts. County League the 1975/76 season was disastrous for Knebworth, the first team being relegated from the Premier Division, hence causing the reserves to be demoted from Division One, although not finishing in a relegation position. 1976/77 was in complete contrast, the first team won Division One and were promoted and the reserves finished third in Division Two and were also promoted. I was in the main stand at Clarence Park as the season drew to a conclusion watching Knebworth win the Aubrey Cup, defeating Sun Sports by one goal to nil, hence completing the double, promotion and the Aubrey Cup. The reserves not to be outdone also completed the double, promotion and the Reserve Cup, defeating Bovingdon Reserves 3-1 in the final. The reserves would also win the Reserve Cup the following season, defeating Rolls-Royce Engines Reserves 4-0, making it four wins in the competition during the 1970’s. They again completed the double, winning the Division One title, but were unable to be promoted as the first team competed in the Premier Division.

Over the next two seasons the first team would prove to be one of the stronger teams in the division finishing third and fourth respectively.

By now I was ready to become actively involved in football again and being unable to play started to look for opportunities where I could become involved in an administrative capacity.

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Missed an installment of Mick’s Memories? Catch up here…

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