Knaresborough edge out Amateur in thrilling affair
Knaresborough Town triumphed 3-2 over Yorkshire Amateur in a thrilling NCEL Division One encounter thanks to a late Brad Walker goal.
Paul Stansfield’s men looked in full control at 2-0 up, only to be pegged back by an Ammas fightback which saw them net twice in 14 minutes.
With the game very much in the balance, Walker then emerged from the substitutes’ bench to win the day in the 84th minute.
Town were beaten 4-2 by their hosts on Boxing Day, and with something of a point to prove, they began the match well.
Seb Carole had an early effort saved before play switched to the other end and Knaresborough gloveman Jack Rushworth was called on to deny Adam Shaw.
Town’s Colin Heath headed over from a Dom Wilson centre, then, after Heath’s next shot was blocked, Will Lenehan saw his follow-up effort dealt with by home stopper Surawa Bojang.
Lenehan then had a strike fly just wide after Carole’s corner, but Knaresborough went ahead in the 39th minute after winning a penalty in the 37th minute.
The interim saw the referee take time to make a caution for dissent after Jonty Maullin had been tugged back, but Carole stayed calm to convert the spot kick.
The same player came close to doubling the lead just before the break when he spotted Bojang off his line and unleahed a 45-yard lob which beat the goalkeeper but struck the top of the crossbar.
After the resumption, Town’s Ben Cohen shot wide of an open goal from just outside the penalty area after Bojang’s clearance landed at his feet, but Declan Normanchild fired against the bar when he found space from a free-kick as the Ammas pressed back briefly.
Normanchild then blocked a Heath shot from close range, but Cohen headed home from the resulting corner to make it 2-0 on 53 minutes.
Slack defending from Knaresborough allowed Shaw to make it 2-1 following a left-wing cross three minutes later and, as has been the case in recent games, Stansfield’s troops once again began to show their nerves.
Ben Parkes did have a shot stopped by Bojang, but Amateur hit back and, after Rushworth saved well from Tom Marsden, won a corner on the right which was headed home powerfully by Freddie Swales in the 70th minute.
Town came again, however, and Heath saw a strike blocked and substitute Walker brought another fine save from Bojang as the visitors tried to force a winner.
It did eventually arrive with just six minutes remaining when Simon Parkes threaded a pass through to Walker who fired home his first goal since November 1.
A spate of yellow cards marred the final minutes, during which two Shaw shots failed to find the target as Knaresborough held on for a vital three points as they try to make up lost ground.
They remain in eighth place in the league standings despite Monday’s victory, but are now just three points away from a play-off spot.