Home loss prevents Knaresborough climbing into play-off spot

Seb Carole gets on the ball for Knaresborough Town during Saturday's home defeat to Eccleshill United. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Seb Carole gets on the ball for Knaresborough Town during Saturday's home defeat to Eccleshill United. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

Knaresborough Town missed out on the chance to climb into the NCEL Division One play-off places when they were beaten 2-1 on home soil by Eccleshill United.

Four victories from their previous five games had moved Paul Stansfield’s men to within touching distance of sixth-placed Hallam, but they passed up the opportunity to overtake them when they gave away a one-goal lead in Saturday’s clash at Manse Lane.

In a closely-contested match where clear-cut chances were at a premium, Town goalkeeper Ben Ledger was forced to make an early save from Matt Waller, before Brad Walker saw an effort blocked at the other end.

Chris Lever then nodded over for Eccleshill and Colin Heath’s header was wide for Knaresborough before the home side edged ahead in the 35th minute.

Calum Rodgers crossed from the left and Walker side-footed the ball past Dominic Smith and into the back of the net.

The visitors levelled just four minutes later, however, when the Town defence was split by a long ball and Marcus Edwards ran on to lob over Ledger who was caught too far from his line.

Headed efforts from Walker and then Heath, following Will Lenehan’s helping-on of a corner, were both saved by Smith before the break as the sides went into half-time on level terms.

The game’s killer goal arrived in the 52nd minute when United substitute Johnny Irvine was afforded too much time as tackles were missed and he was able to fire home across Ledger.

Stansfield’s troops sought a response and Fraser Lancaster had a weak shot kept out and a Dan McDaid shot was deflected wide when the goal beckoned.

Late on, headers from Walker and Jim Bradley were both too high as McDaid centres created the chances, which were not turned into goals as Eccleshill held out for all three points.