KNUTSFORD’S A team completed a historic league and cup double against arch rivals Broadheath Central on Friday night. But it was Broadheath who settled first and caused Knutsford a few scares in the early stages. Jamie Mottershead made a miraculous point-blank save in the 18th minute, giving his team mates a massive boost of confidence in the process.
Knutsford came into the game and, in the wide open spaces of Trafford PC’s Shawe View ground, they began to stretch their opponents to the limit. Howard Clayton spotted the goalkeeper off his line and lifted a brilliant 30-yard effort over his head. But the ball bounced off the crossbar and away to safety. With so much at stake there were nervous moments for both sides.
In the second-half, with the floodlights glaring, the game continued in much the same way, with nail-biting moments at both ends that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats. Knutsford began to look tired in the later stages and the long gruelling season appeared to be taking its toll.
When the referee blew the whistle at the end of the 90 minutes, the Reds looked visibly drained. But after a five-minute team talk and a few words of encouragement, Knutsford came back with incredible determination.
In the first period of extra time, Clayton was fouled by the onrushing goalkeeper and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Suly Baroot showed nerves of steel as he emphatically crashed home the spot kick to put the Reds in the driving seat.
With 10 minutes remaining Broadheath made a substitution. The move paid off with a late equaliser, a goal that signalled the arrival of a male streaker. And so the dreaded penalty shoot out got under way.
Baroot put Knutsford ahead and then Mottershead made the first of his two match-winning saves. Further successful spot kicks from Simcock, Morphet and Clayton, who had run himself into the ground for 120 minutes and still had the legs to convert the final penalty, gave Knutsford their second trophy to round off a fantastic and historic season.
The management team of Brian Deeley and Jimmy Evans thanked the players for their efforts and all those who supported the team throughout the campaign.
TEAM: J Mottershead, S Jenyons, A Jackson, R Howells, M Faulkner, S Moore, M Simcock, M Shipp, J Morphet, S Baroot, H Clayton.
Substitutes S Atkinson, S Thorpe, J Simcock, J Smith