Knaresborough suffer first defeat

Knaresborough Town lost for the first time in the league in 2017/18 when they were beaten by Eccleshill United. Picture: Craig Dinsdale
Knaresborough Town lost for the first time in the league in 2017/18 when they were beaten by Eccleshill United. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

Having gone 17 games unbeaten in NCEL Division One this season, Knaresborough Town finally fell to a first loss of the campaign when they were beaten at Eccleshill United.

Paul Stansfield’s men looked on course for another three points as they surged into a 2-0 lead inside 32 minutes, but the hosts pulled level before half-time and then netted three unanswered goals after the break.

The early exchanges gave no indication of what was to come, but Ben Cohen was denied a penalty following a clumsy challenge and then, at the other end, Eccleshill were awarded one in the 11th minute after Blaine Hobson was adjudged to have tripped Ben Hardy.

Boro stopper Dan Atkinson dived to his left to save a weak spot-kick from Luke Harrop and the opening goal then arrived in the 23rd minute when Will Lenehan headed home from close range as Cohen’s corner from the left flew into the danger area.

Ten minutes later, another Cohen corner, this time from the right, was only partially cleared and Brad Walker was able to fire home the loose ball.

The home team pulled one back in the 40th minute when Boro failed to clear thier lines and Chris Lever was able to loop a header into the net.

Four minutes later, both Greg Kidd and Lenehan appeared to have the ball in their control in the Knaresborough half, but both succumbed to the home pressure and relinquished possession.

The ball broke to the left and was swept back across the area where Lever fired a great shot into the top corner of the net.

With the wind at their backs after the interval, Eccleshill pushed hard and Harrop twice went close, the second attempt from a free-kick, before the home side went ahead in the 57th minute.

Andy Cooper cut in from the right and hit a low shot which surprised the Town defence and crept home at the near post.

Within two minutes, the score became 4-2 as Hardy shot against the crossbar and after the ball bounced on the line, Lever was first to react and knock home from close range.

The goal prompted a flurry of substitutions and the dangerous Antony Brown shot into the side netting before closing the scoring in the 68th minute as he chased a long bouncing ball and was able to head over the advancing Atkinson and into an empty net.

Steve Bromley then nodded over the top for Knaresborough and Cohen went close before Atkinson denied Brown a second when he saved with his legs and then saw the big striker head off target late on.

Despite the defeat, Boro remain five points clear at the top of the table and also boast a game in hand over nearest rivals Yorkshire Amateur.